Beware of sewer drains...
Had it not been for a blowout, the banker would never have found the money. The prominent Wendell Danforth Holmes III was tired from a long day at the bank and looked eagerly to getting home.
As he turned the corner at third and Cornell, the right front tire on his restored Rolls Royce blew out. The car immediately began to bump and he was lucky to get pulled off of the road.
Wendell used his car phone to call a wrecker and called his wife to tell her to not wait dinner. He walked around the car to survey the damage. That’s when he discovered that the fancy wheel cover for that tire had come off and rolled into a drainage ditch.
He decided to expedite his rescue by fetching the wheel cover. It had rolled to the mouth of a large sewer drain. Wendell made his way there and as he bent over to grasp the cover, he spied money two to three feet inside the drain. It looked liked a five dollar bill and a few ones. There was a slight unpleasant smell but he ignored it.
Wendell had reached his position at the bank in part due to his father ingraining in him that no money should ever be wasted or ignored. He would even pick up pennies that most people pass on by. Wendell didn’t know that he was the brunt of jokes about his being so tight with money.
Unable to turn down the free gift, he carefully entered the sewer and picked up the money. Shaking his head at the waste, he almost turned to exit when he saw more money a dozen feet further in.
He wondered about the money of course but he was not one to be squeamish, Wendell had to bend slightly to pursue the extra money but he never gave it a thought. This part of the sewer dripped a little scum and there was a really nasty smell to overcome, but after all, money was money...it made the world go round!
Picking up the new money droppings, he saw yet another little pile of money or something that looked like money about as far as his eyes could see in the growing darkness of the sewer. He smiled like a kid on a carnival ride and continued walking in a now bent over fashion.
Sure enough, it was money, about $50 just scattered about. Wendell felt like whooping and hollering and did let out a yelp when he banged his head on the ceiling. It left his hair smeared with some of the slimy scum. It had the fragrance of a rotting corpse. Oblivious to it all, he continued because he could again see something further in the darkness. The light from the entrance was quickly dimming and now offered less illumination than that of a late evening on a rainy day. Greed tapped him on the shoulder. Walking bent over,he answered its call...
This time, there was a few hundred dollars! Wendell sat down a minute and counted the loot while he wiped the slime from his hair onto his expensively tailored Brooks Brothers suit. It added up to almost $400...he laughed out loud. Reverberating through the confined space the laugh seemed to take on a life of its own. He called out, "anyone there?" There was no answer. He called out again and this time there seemed to be a very small echo of his voice, far off...laughing. The hair on his arms rose like soldiers at attention. He could feel his bowels tightening.
After several minutes, nothing happened and he decided it was just his imagination getting to him. He was, after all, buried in a small stinking hole. He rested a few minutes more because walking bent over was a bit tiring and he was beginning to sweat. For the first time, he noticed that the sewer was much smaller than the beginning. However, as his eyes became more adjusted to the darkness, his breathing calmed and he resumed his journey.
The tunnel quickly drew much more narrow requiring him to duck-walk. His diligence was rewarded by an even larger pile of money lying beside a bank style moneybag. This time he did whoop and holler because just beyond that lay a couple of gold coins at a junction in the sewer. To pick them up, he had to make a right turn into a tunnel that had no concrete reinforcement.
Wendell placed all the money in the sack. At this point, the sewer was just a narrow, filthy hole. It required him to crawl on his hands and knees. His suit was completly soiled with the corpse slime and it dripped down his face. Beginning to worry a little about the tunnel caving in, he felt his knees being scratced where the material had worn through. This time, his reward was 5 gold coins. Wendell lay on his belly and breathed the cadaverous fumes at this point. He weighed his good fortune against the worsening sewer conditions but his lust for money wouldn’t let him give up.
Finally, after crawling about another 50 feet, he found a gold brick lying right in the center of the sewer. He felt so elated that he bumped his head on the sewer ceiling flailing about and singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.” The bar was so heavy that Wendell reasoned he’d just leave it to search for more treasure and pick it up on his way back. His hands were bleeding now as he crawled on and found a place where the side of the sewer had fallen away. A very tight dirt tunnel led from there into darkness.
Wendell wondered if he should chance it. It looked really tight. What if he got stuck…there would be no help! He could die down there. “Lucky I’m not claustrophobic,” muttered Wendell as he mentally rolled the dice.
He didn’t have any idea of how far he was under the earth now. The fumes were stronger than ever but all he could smell was money. After what seemed a very long time, the dirt tunnel widened out into a small cavern lit like a rainbow. At the exact center of the cavern sat a very large ancient-looking pot! Its sides were covered with runes.
Wendell walked to the pot only to find that it was filled with gold coins. He began to jump up and down in a circle and sing that song again. Already, he was thinking what he’d do with the treasure!
Wendell was startled by a heavily accented voice that seemed to be Irish in nature. “And what do ya think year doin’ here, Laddy?”
Wendell didn’t see him at first, but a stumpy old man with a short beard, green clothes, and a green hat with a feather in it stepped out of the shadows.
“I…I…found some money in here and was just picking it up,” said Wendell.
“And who do you suppose it might belong to, sir?” asked the stumpy man.
With a little arrogance, Wendell pulled himself up to his full height, glowered down at the man and replied, “It’s mine…I found it!”
The stumpy man smiled and chuckled to himself a little, shaking his head. “Aye, it’s yours right enough. And until some other fool finds his way down here, it’ll stay yours!”
“What…what do you mean?” asked Wendell beginning to get a bad feeling in his stomach.
“Well, ya know that old myth about Leprechauns being at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold? It’s true all right, but the end of the rainbow is in the earth and this here’s it!”
Wendell thought he’d gone to heaven. “Well, in that case, I’ll just be going along with my money then.”
The stumpy man shook his grizzled old head again and this time laughed out loud!
“No, Sonny, you don’t know the rest of the myth! You get to keep the loot all right…it’s yours to keep. Play with it if you like, but you won’t be going nowhere with it.”
The stumpy man laughed again. “I’ve been down here nigh on 420 years sitting with this stinking gold. You see, it’s a curse put upon the finder…not a blessin’. I entered a cave that led me ‘ere back then and I found the gold right enough. A man not unlike meself was ‘ere and was most ‘appy to see me arrive! You see, the finder has to stay while the tender gets to go. You’ll now be ‘ere until the next man comes seekin’ gold. It is I who will be on his way!” And poof, just like that, the stumpy man disappeared.
Before Wendell could move, the dirt tunnel began to cave in on itself sealing any prospect of leaving. The rainbow colored light continued to light the cavern. As Wendell sat on a rock, he stared down at this clothing. Green…it was now solid green!
**Revised version via excellent suggestion offered by blockedforyears...