The Book of Gold

from Nick Suss

Feb. 20, 2014, 4:06 p.m.

Once again, this is something I wrote for my creative writing class. It is based off of a short story written by a classmate of mine as per the parameters of the assignment. It is fictional. This narrator and I have nothing in common. Do not take this to be about me. That would be ridiculous.

Harold told me a lot of stories about Sam. The stories started out nice, but then they just got plain weird. Sam was an adventure person. She wasn’t one of those girls who was afraid to get her pretty pink dress all muddy, you know? Well, she used to be, at least. She also used to be called Gracie. That’s how I knew her when we were in kindergarten together. But she changed her name to Sam when she was nine years old. I don’t know how someone can change their name. Can I just say people should start calling me Prancer, like the reindeer, and people have to do it? That would be weird. But that’s not the point. The point is, and Harold told me this in secret, so you can’t tell anyone, that Sam changed her name to Sam after her grandmother died. Apparently Sam was named after her grandmother, and she just cried any time someone said her name. They must have been close.

Harold tells me they were really close, Sam and her grandma I mean. Harold told me this one story about how every Monday night was old movie night for Sam and her grandma. I hate old movies. Harold kind of likes them, but Harold’s kind of weird like that sometimes too. He’s obsessed with science fiction. I think that’s why he skipped a grade; all that science fiction made him smarter at science nonfiction. But anyway, Sam really likes old movies. That’s all she talks about when she isn’t out adventuring. She seems to talk about James Dean a lot. Like, a lot. Harold says that Sam chose Sam as a name because all of the letters of Sam are in the name James. I told him if I was Sam, I would have picked Jes as my name if I only had those five letters.

He talks about her a lot. It doesn’t make me jealous or anything, but it’s just kind of weird, you know? People tease me a lot about my boyfriend being in love with Sam. I just tell them he wouldn’t have asked me out on a date if he didn’t like me more, right? And besides, I don’t care how much they tease me. We’re in sixth grade now, we’re supposed to be mature. But anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, that’s where. One day I was over at Harold’s house. He was making watch some movie with “Star” in the title. I don’t remember what it was, but there were a lot of lights and noises. It kinda gave me a headache. Out of the blue, Sam comes and knocks on the door. Harold’s house has one of those glass front doors with all of the art arted into it, so like, you can see the people but you can’t see more than their shapes and stuff. But I guess Harold knew what her shape looked like really well, so he jumped up really quick, right in the middle of a science fight, and pretty much screamed “IT’S SAM! IT’S SAM!” I laughed because I thought he was joking about how excited he was. Then I remembered that he’s just 11. I used to get excited like that last year. I’m sure he’ll be cooler next year.

So Harold runs to the door. He trips over Dakota, his dog, on the way to the door. Dakota flips out and starts barking and running in circles and then finds my shoes and starts slobbering all over them. I had to play tug-of-war with Dakota until he let go. By the time I yanked my shoes back from the dog, Harold had already opened the door. Sam just looked him dead in the eyes and said “Let’s go.” She didn’t sound excited. She never sounded excited. Somehow she sounded stressed out and relaxed at the same time. It was weird. But like I said, she’s weird. Harold takes like five steps out of the door before he realizes he left me behind. So he stops, turns around and looks at me. He says something like “Wanna come?” What choice did I have? I wasn’t gonna stay at his house and hang out with his mom and Dakota until he got back. But I was mad that he pretty much was saying he was gonna go whether or not I came with them. How did I become the third wheel?

So we started walking for a few minutes. They were talking and laughing. My dad would say they were “yukking it up.” They didn’t include me. Does that mean I was being yukked down? That just sounds gross. Speaking of gross though, about halfway through our walk, I decided to ask where we were going. I guess it just occurred to me then that I had no idea where we were. Sam looked at me funny and then with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen turned around and hugged me.

“We’re going on our biggest adventure yet!” Sam said, her voice echoing through the cul-de-sac we were cutting through into the partially cut down forest we were about to enter.

“We’ve been planning this one for a few months,” Harold continued. “Trust me. I was hoping you’d be here for this one.” Then Harold snorted. I think it’s cute when he does that.

“But where?” I asked and they laughed some more. Sam reached into her back pocket in her jeans. I’ve never seen anyone my age put anything in their back pocket. That’s something that only older people do, at least I thought. She pulled out a white box and opened it. I tilted my head to look inside and saw what had to have been about 40 cigarettes, neatly stacked on top of one another.

“What are those?” Harold shook as he asked the question. I could tell that he knew having those was wrong. Harold was always afraid of getting caught at school. When he is at school, he always raises his hand before he talks, even if he’s just talking to me. He never chews gum or folds the pages in library books. That’s why his and Sam’s friendship confuses me. She’s the kind of girl who will just wander off in gym class and explore the creek behind the football field. She did that once and she was gone for so long they had to call in the police. She came back three periods later with a shiny purple rock and an old can of Coke that had the logo for the 2006 Olympics on it. She still has them in her locker.

“I just found them,” Sam said defensively. “They’re cool aren’t they?” Then Sam picked one up and put it in her mouth. She didn’t light it, she just kept it there and pretended to smoke it. Harold told me that Sam had a knack for finding things. And she keeps everything she finds. He told me about one time she found a human jaw in the backyard and hid it from her parents. She shouldn’t have hidden it. The story goes some of it got in her mouth somehow, but it was soaked in some kind of animal pee and she had to be in the hospital for like a week. That’s why Harold doesn’t eat anything that isn’t packaged anymore. But I guess Sam didn’t learn her lesson because there she was, chewing away at the cigarette like it was a Twizzler.

She offered me one but I didn’t want it.

Then she turned to Harold and gave him a weird look.

“I know, I know, you don’t tell secrets.”


Then Harold looked at me for the first time the whole walk.

“She makes me say that every time she finds something. I’ve never told anybody. I don’t know why she thinks I would. If I didn’t tell anyone about the…” Harold stopped talking. Sam just laughed.

“I’ll tell her,” Sam smiled that smile again, but this time it was creepy. “I’ll tell her what we found.”

“What you found. I had no part of this.” Harold started shaking and hiding his face. The only other time I saw him do that was the time he got caught letting me cheat off of his math test.

“What I found.” Sam corrected herself. “We were walking down the street last month and we saw a big fat envelope laying on the ground. Long story short, I couldn’t help but pick it up. And guess what? There was 1000 dollars and an empty checkbook in there. None of it had a name on it, so we just took it.”

“You took it.”

“Yeah. I took it. And now we’re rich!”

I got scared. Sam looked really happy. Like, happier than I’ve ever seen anyone before. Then she pulled the checkbook out of her front pocket and showed it to me. It had a gold flap on the front and looked like it was missing half of its pages.

“I went on Google and asked how to write a check. I learned. It wasn’t that hard. Now everything I want is free. Our adventures can be so much better now. You should come with us. We don’t need parents anymore. We have our own money. It’ll be like Rebel Without a Cause. It’ll be awesome.”

“Isn’t that stealing?” I asked. I didn’t realize it at the time but I started to slowly inch backwards from her. She wasn’t dangerous. It was actually the nicest she’d ever been to me. But I was still scared. I wasn’t like her. I couldn’t feel good about stealing.

“It’s not stealing if you don’t know who it’s from,” she responded quickly and loudly. Then she went back to smiling. Before I knew it, our adventure had led us all the way to a weird, abandoned house with no neighbors. It had a “For Sale” sign in the front yard with a big yellow sticker across the front that said “SOLD!”

“Where are we?” I asked. I genuinely didn’t know.

“We got tired of having to find our adventures to keep a secret.” Sam started jumping up and down after Harold said this.

“YOU BOUGHT A HOUSE?” I yelled this as loud as I could. I’m surprised birds didn’t fly away when I yelled.

“No silly,” Sam said. “We bought a sign that says ‘sold.’ Want to see your room?


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1803 words

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