Cory's POV from Trouble with Treasure:
Cory Blake stepped out the front doors of the Blake livery stable, and was greeted by a blast of hot summer air. “Golly, it sure is a scorcher today!”
He commented to no one in particular, wiping the forming sweat beads from his brow.
He looked up, shading his eyes from the bright sun, and saw Johnny Wilson come swaggering up the boardwalk. “Oh, hi Johnny.”
Johnny nodded him over. “You wanna see somethin’?”
His curiosity piqued, Cory walked over to him. “Sure…What’cha got?”
Johnny grinned. “Only the biggest toad in Fresno County. And I’ll trade it to you for your most prized possession. ”
Cory chewed his lip, pondering a good trade. Shoving his hand into a pocket, he drew out a handful of aggie marbles. Fingering his prized shooter, he glanced up at Johnny. “Would you trade it for my shooter?”
Johnny picked it up and inspected it closely. “I dunno, is it any good?”
Cory became slightly indignant. “Of course! Why, it’s the best one I’ve got. Best I’ve seen in all these here parts! Now, do we have a deal?”
Johnny glanced at the toad, then at the marble, then back to the toad again. He finally held out his rough hand and nodded. “It’s a deal, Blake.”
Cory grinned, pumping Johnny’s hand, then quickly handed over the prized marble. “That’s just fine! You’ve got yourself the best shooter in Fresno, now be careful not to lose it.”
Johnny seemed pleased, and turned to go. “See you around, Blake. Thanks for the only good shooter around.”
Cory wasn’t positive, but he thought that he heard Johnny mutter “sucker” as he clomped down the wooden walkway.
Shrugging it off, Cory studied the new toad. He was the biggest toad he’d ever seen. Wait ‘till Ollie see’s this! Cory thought to himself, starting down the road in the direction of Ollie’s pa’s land office. Ollie was almost always there helping his pa, so Cory decided he had a good chance of finding him that afternoon.
“Hey Ollie!” Cory called as he raced into the land office. “Come ‘ere and look at this great toad…” He stopped short when he saw a bunch of people standing there in the room. Feeling his face turning red, he quickly exited the way he had come in. “Oh boy, I forgot the new shipment of maps came today...”
He peeked back into the window. Where is Ollie? Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by a voice right behind him.
“Hiya Cory, what ‘cha doing?”
Cory whirled around, startled, and saw Ollie standing there with a lopsided grin of his face. Clearing his throat, Cory reached for the toad in his pocket. “Oh hey, I was just looking for you. See what I got this morning?”
Ollie’s eyes grew wide when he saw the toad. “Wow, he’s a beaut!”
Cory grinned proudly. “He is, isn’t he?”
Ollie then snapped his fingers, as if he’d just remembered something important. “Oh hey, the land office just got in their new survey maps in, and Dad gave me some of these old outdated ones!”
Cory raised an eyebrow. “So?”
Ollie grinned, and pulled a wrinkled piece of paper. “Looky here, it’s a map of all the gold diggings in the hills around here. I figured you’d like to take a peek.”
Cory’s eyes widened. The thought of having a real map, and finding gold in one of the abandoned mines, sent excited chills up and down his spine.
He eyed the map. “Gosh, I’d sure like to have a map like that…” He gave Ollie a pleading look. “Wanna trade? I’ll even trade you this toad for that map!”
Ollie narrowed his eyes in thought. “I dunno. What else have you got? It’s probably worth an awful lot.”
Cory frantically dug around in his pockets, bringing out a large assortment of his treasures: his aggie marbles, some arrowheads, a rusty nail or two, and other miscellaneous items of little to no worth, except maybe to a fourteen year old boy like himself. He held out his palm to show Ollie his merchandise. “Here, how about my five aggies, these two genuine arrowheads, and this here toad for your map. Whaddia think?”
Ollie mulled the thought around in his mind, and fingered the map. “Are those arrowheads really genuine?”
Cory nodded quickly. “They sure are; an Indian gave them to me himself!”
Seeming convinced, Ollie handed Cory the prized map, and took the items from Cory. “Alright, this map for your marbles, arrowheads, and that toad.”
Cory’s face lit up, and he quickly grabbed the old yellow paper. “Gee, thanks Ollie!”
Ollie grinned, then turned and headed for Goodwin’s store.
Cory, smiled to himself, and turned to leave, carefully folding his prized possession and shoving it into his back pocket. I can’t wait ‘till Andi gets back…She’ll love this!