At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we’d struck it rich and that we’d be able to retire and live in leisure. We actually started writing down all the ways we’d spend the money.
Our first choice was an estate out in the country, with wide open spaces for the kids to run around. We had such grand dreams to finally get Emily the Little Laboratory Kit she always wanted. We reveled in the vision of seeing Dylan’s face when we brought home the Fender Stratocaster he’d looked at with longing every time he passed Moe’s Music Store window.
All those dreams shattered though when the local prospector said, “Sorry, gentlemen. Not oil.”
Sean’s face fell. “What?”
The prospector shook his head. “This isn’t oil.” He tapped the mason jar my partner and I had brought in.
“Well then, what is it?” My heart sank to my stomach.
He shrugged. “Don’t know, but not oil.”
Sean looked at the prospector with suspicion. “How do you know?”
“Been around oil my whole life.” The prospector leaned forward. “This looks like it, but see how it moves when I tilt the jar?”
The prospector tipped the container to the side and showed us the slow, sludgy movement of the black liquid. “Oil don’t do that.”
I grabbed the mason jar back from his hands. “Where can we find out what this is?” I took Sean’s hand and gave it a squeeze. The look I gave my partner said, Don’t give up hope.
The prospector gave another apathetic shrug. “Some lab, I s’pose. I’m no scientist.” I pursed my lips and nodded. “Thank you.” We rose at the same time and walked out to our truck.
This is the first installment in a short story called “Better Than Fiction” that I’ve decided to serialize. Let me know what you think in the comments!