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All That Glitters
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      Page Three

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Jim hurried along the trail, dropping their lunch and safety
and first aid packs on a section of well trampled beach on a
white sand bar that had piles of tilings from previous expeditions
mounded up into small hills around them. "And there she is, Johnny.
The Sierra Madre.. aka the Pro Mack 2000, streamlined with a lot
of floatation keeping the floats as narrow as possible."

"Wow, is she a beauty! But those narrow pontoons, why is that?"
Johnny asked.

Jim warmed to the subject. "Well, it's because we're working in white water
rapids. One of the main considerations when adding flotation to a creek
dredge is to avoid increasing the drag of it against the current because it
puts more strain on your dredge, frame, tie-off lines, and diver airhoses.
We like to use inflated tire inner tubes, PVC pipe material, and styrofoam.
They work the best.
"When you are set up with the dredge positioned off to the side in some pocket
of slower water, your suction hoses will be running perpendicular, at least to
some degree, to the flow of the fast water. That much hose exposed broadside
to the current creates enormous drag, which can cause the suction hose... and
our air hoses to kink at the points where they connect to any kind of machinery
or inside of an air hose loop curled by the water."

"Sounds like a continual problem, sort of like keeping a charged firehose
flowing when you're traversing up a stairwell." Johnny thought out loud.

"The principle's exactly the same." smiled Jim. "Now breathing air hose kinks,
you can avoid by not turning around in any circles while working under the
dredge. And any silt suction hose kinks can be avoided by rigging one or
two extra ropes down from your main tieoff line that's holding the dredge in
place in the creek. Those ropes you see out there allow the suction hose
to be flexed back by the current, but not to any critical kinking point.
You see, it's the hose kinks that cause plug ups which are rocks that jam in the
dredge’s suction-hose or powerjet. This bend in the suction hose is what allows
you the movement to expand the size of your gold dredging hole."

"Using the boom is nice." said Pam. "Because then you can move the entire
dredge and suction hose harness as a unit, when you take the equipment
forward downstream as your dredge hole progresses farther along."

"Sort of like a stokes and pulley system on the side of a building."

"Right again, Gage. You're catching on fast." laughed Jim.

"So the Pro Mack essentially sucks up streambed material : rocks, sand,
gravel, silt, ..and gold.." Johnny's eyes bugged out. "and passes it up through
that main suction hose, and runs it across the recovery system floating at the

"Yep. Pieces of gold, which are nineteen times heavier than the water
and six times heavier than rocks, are separated from the other streambed
materials and trapped over the conveyor riffles, as the gravel and other
material wash through the recovery system and then we just wash the
leftovers back into the stream." said Pam. "The whole process is
completely nonpolluting."

"What about the silting effects?"

"Storms and floods do the same thing and what's one tiny little dredger
to compare to the power of all that?" Pam teased.

"Point taken. How do you provide breathing room for the divers? Us?"
he wondered, tapping himself on the chest, chuckling.

"Air for breathing underwater is generated by an air compressor, and
passed down through an air line and then through a mouth regulator, similar
to the SCBA we use in fires, Johnny." said Jim.

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"So we aren't going to be that deep. I don't relish the idea of getting the
bends way out here in the middle of nowhere."

"It'll never happen." Pam reassured him. "We dredge only in ten feet of water
or less and any rocks too large to pass through the suction nozzle are moved
out of the way by hand."

"Couldn't you use a cutter head like they use out at the marina for digging out
holes?" Gage asked.

"A cutter-head's rotating series of hardened-steel blades that are designed to
cut into sand, clay or classified gravel and will just get bogged down or damaged.  
It doesn't have the capability to deal with hard-packed streambeds which are
made up of oversized rocks and huge boulders. Also, any blades would be
continuously up against rocks that must be moved out of the way by divers.
And we don't like those risks. It would be too dangerous to put divers into
a hole in fast water where a cutter-head is operating."

"What kinds of other problems to you come up against when you're digging
under the creek?"

"Two things." Pam exclaimed. "Those rock plug ups and people who have
a tendency to nitpick."

Johnny laughed. "Nitpick? Underwater? No one can talk down there."

Jim chortled. "It's a new definition that us gold diggers have coined. It means
anyone who keeps dredging around and around rocks which are locked in
place by other rocks that need to be freed up first by hand."

"So, what's my job gonna be this weekend?" Johnny asked.

"One of two jobs, your choice." said Jim. "The nozzle operator is
responsible for getting as much material up the suction hose as possible
and it's he who directs how the dredge hole is being taken apart. The second
job is being just a rock person who has the responsibility to help the nozzle
operator by removing those rocks that are immediately in the way of production
by using prybars, and brunt force."

"That sounds like me. No different than wrestling with a fire hose." he
said with humor.

"As we move our hole forward, we dredge layers or top cuts off the front of
the hole, while we try to leave a taper ramp behind us to prevent rocks from
rolling back in and on top on us. You as a rock person will be responsible
for deciding which rocks and boulders could potentially roll in and remove
'em before they have a chance to do so."

"Sounds simple enough. I could handle that."

"Smart man, being the nozzleman's awful at times. And there
are things you gotta do when you take a lunch break or knock off for the day.
The most annoying one is remembering to anchor your suction hose and nozzle
by either piling rocks on top of it or tying it to a large rock in the bottom of the
dredge hole. It's no fun to start a production dive by having to work against the
current to get your suction hose back into your dredge hole, because the fast
water blew it out after your last dive."

"Don't have to work with that kind of effect at the station. Wind's never
powerful enough to move hoses around."

"Are we lucky that way? Heh." Jim guffawed. "But I beg to differ.
Hanging hose in the drying tower when the wind's making them
sway, really sucks!"

"That's when you con someone else into doing that chore for ya."
Gage said empathetically, making Pam laugh. "But being down a hole
like that in such fast water... Is it truly safe?"

"No. But then again, is anything guaranteed one hundred percent safe?
All right. I'll tell you about the risks you'll be running. One of the most
serious dangers to a dredger is the possibility of being pinned to the
bottom by a heavy rock or boulder. All of the oversized rocks that can’t
be sucked through the dredge nozzle must be moved out of the hole by
hand or with the use of winching equipment. When undercutting the streambed,
or taking apart the dredge hole, there is the possibility of larger rocks rolling in
on top of you. This possibility increases when you are working in turbulent, fast
water. The erratic changes in the pressure that the water exerts on the exposed
streambed material, inside and around the dredge hole, can cause boulders to
loosen up and roll into the hole. Generally,  rapids make you begin creating
your dredge hole as soon as you can dig one out. The hole will eventually
help anchor you in place because the water is much calmer inside of it. "

"So the larger you dredge the hole, the easier it gets." Gage surmised.

"Yes." Pam said happily. "My, Jim, you are right, he is a fast learner."

Together, Jim and Johnny said the same thing. "Firefighters have to be."
Then they shared a macho high five, just to tease her.

"How long do you work at a time during any one session?"
Gage asked Jim.

"Oh, in two or three hour dives at a time. We rest up in between for two
hours to get over the fatigue from the cold and battling the current."

"So, your man who's not here, is usually your rock person?"

"Yeah, and he's great at it, too. We use hand signals to communicate.
When I give him the plug-up signal, he always races to the surface to
quickly clear the obstruction in the suction hose. He's funny that way,
always swimming around pell mell with an exaggerated sense of urgency.
Even when he's just returning to the hole when the plug-up's free.
Sometimes, he even grabs the pry bar and start breaking rocks free for me
just one rock ahead of the nozzle tip so the water doesn't cloud up with
silt, that would block our view." Hanes told him.

"Show me those signals." Johnny said, rubbing his chin carefully.

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"Ok, this one means.. there's a plug up in the suction hose, this one means
there's one in the power jet, and this one means that we're moving the
dredges forward to the next spot." Pam said.

Johnny learned them quickly and added one of his own. "How about
this one? It is ever used?" and he wrapped his hands around his throat
in a universal 'I'm choking' grip.

"We don't have to rehearse that one. It just happens." laughed Jim. "Here,
let me show you how to pop off a weight belt in case that happens to
any of us while we're working." And Hanes showed him. "See? It's
just like a parachute release handle. Right at the chest. You may
also find that it is better to first remove your work glove before
trying to release your buckle in an emergency."

"Heh. That's a laugh. I usually get into the biggest trouble for taking
my gloves off during an operation. So,..if you're the nozzle man, and
I'm the rock person, what will Pam be doing?" Johnny asked, pointing
at her as she offered him some hot chocolate out of a thermos. "Thanks.
It is chillier up here than back at home."
"Oh, I'll be the dredge tender up top. It'll be my job to monitor the water volume
flowing through the sluice box. If it visibly slows down, I'll be suspecting a plug-up
and then I'll look for it and clear it. Also, I'll be paying close attention to where
you dredgers are working at all times in all this fast water. Do, always, keep an
eye on Jim while dredging down there. When we dive, we make sure we keep
track of each other and everybody else on the team. If you need to leave
the dredge hole or go to the surface for some reason, always let someone know
you're going." she said seriously.

Jim added more. "If you or I suddenly disappear, Pam will immediately go
looking for a body."

Johnny nodded, accepting that bit of reality well.

"A person in serious trouble underwater only has about thirty seconds to get it
together. That isn't much time at all." Pam told him.

"There is no margin for error." Gage agreed. "You are either breathing air or
you're not." Then he began to mince uncomfortably about the idea of diving
and breathing through a very thin hose underneath raging rapids.

Jim noticed. "It's not that bad. I've been doing this for so long in water
moving so fast..." he tried to soothe. Then he went a different track,
"Sometimes, air bubbles created by the turbulence eliminate ALL
my visibility. It's funny, Gage. It feels exactly like a night fire in thick
smoke after you're done sweeping an apartment on your hands and
knees. After diving in really turbulent water, my equilibrium goes
and I get so disoriented I can hardly stand up without weaving when I
crawl out of the water."

"And that's when I break out the oxygen tank."
Pam touched Johnny on the arm, to get his attention after the laughing
was over. "One of the main concerns when dredging in fast water is having
your mask and/or regulator swept or knocked off your face. This will cause
you to panic, especially when it happens for the first time. The masks we use
are larger than oceanic ones with substantially more surface area to
encompass the mouth regulator to reduce hose tugging on the head.
Know that it will be likely to get accidentally dislodged from your face.
This can happen when the mask is bumped by someone, or a rock, or
when turbulent water catches it, especially from the side."  

"I'll be careful. I'm used to air bottles and heat/cold suction effects
from working a fire." But Gage was not soothed. "I have to ask this.
What about finding yourself suddenly swept down stream?"

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They all chuckled. "Everybody asks that question." Hanes smiled.
"Contrary to what many people believe, being swept down river by
the current is not the major concern. This is a normal happening in
fast water dredging. As long as you have your mask clear and your
regulator in your mouth, being swept down river by the current is generally
no big deal. That is, of course, unless you are dredging directly
above a set of falls or extremely fast water." he teased.
"In most cases, the fast water you are in is not a steady flow of current.
It is usually turbulent, varying in direction and intensity. A swirl can hit you
from the side and knock you off balance. Or, sometimes it can even hit
you from underneath and lift you out of the dredge hole and into the faster
flow. If you get swept down river in fast water, you usually just need to grab
hold of the river bottom and work your way over to the slower water, nearer the
bank. This movement is best done by continuing to face upstream, into the
current, while you point your head and upper body towards the river-bottom.
That posture will drive you to the bottom where you can get a handhold on
rocks or cobbles to anchor yourself down. Then, you can work your way
upstream, through the more slack current near the bank, and back out to your
worksite again. After three or four times getting caught, it'll all become
pretty much routine." shared Jim.

Pam had more to add, "By the way, your air line will also be your direct
connection to the dredge and to safety. When you connect your air line
to the dredge, wrap it around the dredge frame several times before attaching
yourself to the air fitting on the dredge. Then you can use your air line to pull
yourself to the dredge in an emergency."

"That's nice to know. But what about using regular ropes?"

"Ropes are unreliable underwater around divers. You'll find your airline, however
is actually an extension of yourself. Please, please, Johnny, especially in fast
water, it is very important that you not allow your air line to tangle around parts
of the dredge, underwater rocks, or around Jim's airline in the dredge hole."

"And always be sure to get all the loops out of your air line before starting
your dive. Otherwise, the current can pull these loops into kinks, which can
immediately cut off your air supply." added Jim.

"Ever been in a cave-in out there?" Johnny asked, casting his head toward
the beautiful, fast blue water creek.

"Nope. When you dredge a hole down through loose streambed material, it will
keep sliding in on you. But when you finally break through to the hard-pack,
the streambed will generally hold up the wall surrounding the hole. In fact, many
of the old-time operations a hundred years ago tunneled underneath hard-pack.
This was called drift mining. Sometimes they even tunneled directly under active
rivers!" Jim shouted.

"Even in 1846? That's incredible." Johnny exclaimed.

"They were daring back then. That's why it's so fun coming up with ways
of doing what they did that isn't so gosh darned dangerous." Pam laughed.

"So,..." sighed Johnny expansively. "Is it all worth it? I mean. How much
gold is possibly left in these hills? They were picked over with a fine
toothed comb and then microscoped to death as far as I know."

"They were. But gold depositing is ever replenishing, Johnny. And I'll
explain to you how it works." said Jim. "With the kind of dredging
we have now with machines like the Sierra Madre, gold doesn't have
to be as concentrated as it once was to be lucrative because we can
move hundreds of times more material than any 49'er ever could with
his pick and axe."

"So how does it work, Jim?" Gage asked.

"Because of its enormous weight, gold tends to follow a certain path of its
own when being washed down a waterway, and will get hung up in various
common locations where the water force lets up enough to drop gold. One
example is the inside of a bend where a stream makes a turn. Another example
is at the lower end of a section of white water. Gold will form pay streaks in
areas such as this, where the water slows down on a large scale during large
flood storms. Generally, a winter storm, even a large winter storm, will not
create enough turbulence and force in a river, creek or stream to redeposit
the compacted streambeds that are already in place along the bottom.
Flood storms of the magnitude to redeposit streambeds do not occur often.

Pam placed laced fingers in front of her mouth, getting excited about
gold mining all over again. "We believe that the last time that a substantial
amount of hard packed streambed was formed on this creek was during the
1964 flood."

"Hey! I remember that." said Johnny, snapping his fingers together. "It rained
for days on the reservation when I was ten years old and all of the low
country was flooded out for an entire month."

Jim nodded in agreement. "I remember it very well, too."
"In most of the channel along the Kern, from which this creek runs,
the 1964 flood layer was laid down on top of a much older, harder packed,
virgin streambed that formed perhaps thousands of years ago. So, it takes
a major flood storm to move and lay down a hard packed streambed.
And, it takes a super major flood storm to create enough force and turbulence
in a river to break up ancient streambeds and redeposit them as newer
hard packed streambeds along the course of the waterway. This happens
only very rarely.The reason that hard pack is important to a prospector is
because gold nearly always concentrates at the bottom of hard packed, flood
layers. At some point during the storm, gold becomes trapped out of the
turbulent flow by dropping into irregularities, cracks and holes that are present
along the surface over which it is traveling and it will always be beneath
a hardpack. You can find the signs because most of the flat rocks will be
lying horizontally and slightly tipped downward in the direction of the current.
If gold traveled in that part of the waterway, we find it concentrated at the bottom
of the hard pack, sitting on top of the tailings. Underneath, we find loose cobbles
with sand and silt between them. These usually go all the way to bedrock. We find
very little gold on bedrock because it has already been mined. Because of
this, we have found the best means of production is to dredge the hole down a
layer at a time. This is the top cut we mentioned earlier. If you take down a broad
horizontal area of the streambed together, you uncover a whole strata of rocks which
are interconnected like a puzzle. Then, you can see which rocks must be removed
first in order to free the others more easily."

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"Sounds like doing it that way would be far safer, too." Gage guessed.

"It is. But, the only time I intentionally slow things down is when I am uncovering
the gold. I have to keep an eye on that to follow the pay streak. If the streak
is good, I also point out the gold to my rock person as I uncover it. Now that,"
said Jim, grinning gape tooth wide. " very fun. Everyone deserves the boost
because gold eventually gets spent..."

"And the memories last forever.." sighed Pam.

"I'll bet." said Johnny.

"Now here's the quirky part.." Jim chuckled. "Areas where the
water runs fast during low water periods are likely to be drop zones for
gold during high water. This explains why you can often find pay streaks
under rapids when the river is flowing at low water levels. It also explains
why you seldom find pay streaks within the first slow water area below a
set of rapids when the river is running low. At first, this may seem
contradictory to the general belief that high grade gold deposits form in
areas of the waterway where the water slows down after a stretch of rapids.
Just keep in mind that pay streaks are created during major floods."

Johnny's eyes lit up in discovery. "And during a major flood, a sudden
dropoff edge in the bedrock can cause a very good gold trap, like the riffles
in a sluice box, but on a very large scale!"

Pam put her chin on her hand, sighing. "You know, I've been married to
Jim for fourteen years, been mining for six and I still don't get how
that effect works.."

Jim explained it once again. "Here, let me put a firefighter twist on things,
Pam, because you sure know a heck of a lot about me that way
already." he teased.

"Oh, you.." she said, slapping his arm affectionately.

Hanes flinched good naturedly and went on. "Pam, if you turn on a fire
hose at slow speed, the fastest water area is found directly where the water
flows out of the hose. Right?"

"Yeah, I can see that...."

"Now, here's the analogy,..when you turn the water pressure up, momentum
forces the water farther out. This condition occurs within the river during
a major flooding, another reason why you are likely to find gold in fast water.
It's pushed farther out from the rock which formed it."

"Oh, I see it now.. Duh." Pam laughed.

"And if you still want to be traditional, you can get placer gold
into your pan from the shallows by sifting through loose streambed material.
Paystreaks can happen like that, but they're rare, and almost always the result
of winter storms, and the related run off, eroding away the hardpack streambed
cut in along the bank. It washes the gold down
into the waterway to rest with the loose material,.." he said marching
his finger from the nearby hilltop, down to the shore and finally
to the waterline.." right on top of your most favorite sand bar, love."

"Aww,," sighed Pam, kissing Jim. "He's so sweet, isn't he?"

Blushing, Johnny stood up off of his creek rock seat.
"Ooo, my head's hurting from all of this stuff. Can we eat first
before we go dive prospecting?"

"Sure, I'll go get dinner ready." said Pam.


It was one day later at the creek camp and it was high noon.

Johnny had survived his initiation period and was finally broken
in well as a full fledged dredging rock person. He no longer
minded the churning rapids roaring about his ears.

In fact, the water in that part of the creek was so swift that he and Jim
both were swept out of the dredge hole time after time after time.

And Pam took each "accident" when it occurred, like a trooper,
running along the bank with a poolside sheperd's hook, with her
long sandy hair flying, to snatch them back onto shore with it
whenever it happened. After the fifth time, Pam started to get
worried. "Jim, shouldn't we call it a day? I think the creek's
lowering, the water's definitely getting faster as time goes by."

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"Why stop, Pam? The area downstream only gets deeper. We
can't get crushed against rocks that aren't there, honey. We'll
be fine. Besides, Johnny and I have found a really good paystreak
that we're afraid may get buried if we slow down for even a minute."

"I don't like it, Jim. I don't think it's safe enough any more to
go on." she said, frowning and biting her lip.

Jim smiled from where he stood in the shallow water, up to
his waist. "Tell you what, ten minutes more, and we're done.
Ok? Johnny has to go back home tonight anyway and I think
we've found enough gold to make the trip worth his while. So
yeah, I'll halt operations then. Does that satisfy you now?"

"No. But I know I can't stop you. Go have fun." she smiled.

"That's my girl." he said, putting his airhose regular and mask
back onto his face.

Johnny was moving a particularly stubborn watermelon sized
rock when it happened. Jim was uplifted out of the hole by
an errant welling of creek current and he was carried away
so fast, that he didn't have time to untangle himself from his air line
before he reached the end of it.  And the air line got
tangled around his neck. Hanes lost what breath he had in his
lungs in seconds.

There he was, flopping around in the current, like a flag snapping
in a stiff breeze, tethered by the air line around his neck and he
started struggling, unsuccessfully, to regain his footing in three
feet of water. But the flow of rushing rapids proved to be too strong.

His mask was ripped away, leaving him blind. But his teeth
clenched down on his regulator causing a kink about five feet
above his head. His air supply was abruptly cut off.

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Above, floating on the dredge, belly down, Pam screamed.

Gage got a funny feeling down where he was and he
turned towards the front of the hole, looking for Jim.

All he found was empty space.

Quickly, he dropped his weight belt and hung onto the suction
hose, riding it like a long sinuous snake, until he drifted down
stream towards where he could see Jim fighting to free himself.

He got there and released Jim's weight belt with a powerful tug.
He grabbed onto Jim, gripping him with both legs as he tried to
pull the hose from around Jim's throat. Jim gave him the choking
signal weakily.  Thinking fast, Johnny grabbed a hold of Jim's air
hose and pulled it in towards the both of them and then he let it
go. The pressure was temporarily removed from Jim's hose kink
and he watched as Hanes received a hard won breath of air and
the expression on his face fell from utter panic into one of
immediate relief.

Gage did this several times to get Jim more awake,
before he reached to the surface to get a knife from Pam.

By the time he had sliced the hose free, Jim was unconscious
and limp.

Struggling, Johnny and Pam used one of the dredge's floats to
bear up his body to the surface and together, they rode the creek
down to calm water, hanging onto him.

Gage got Hanes to shore and got on his head in a listening check.
"Go get the medical gear..." he told Pam.

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Sobbing, she ran to get it.

Jim wasn't breathing anymore. Johnny tried to get a first breath in
but it didn't work. Repositioning Jim's head, Johnny tried again.
"Come on, Jim. You couldn't have gotten that much water inside.
I didn't see your mouth open."

Then it dawned on him. Jim was suffering laryngospasms.
Straddling Jim's stomach, Gage started delivering a series of
firm but slow abdominal thrusts to encourage his windpipe
to open up again.

A rush of air gushed out after the fifth one. Johnny moved back
to Jim's head and tipped up his chin high. Then he started
mouth to mouth after pinching his nose. This time, he was rewarded
with a chest rise.

A quick check showed that Jim still had a slow heartbeat in spite
of his bluish color.

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Pam clattered back with the small resuscitator case, Johnny's
first aid pack and his portable CB radio. "Is he ok? Oh, Jim!"

Gage got out a demand valve and began using it without stopping
to put in an airway first. Soon, the rich flow returned a pink shade
to Jim's face and hands. "He's got a pulse. I think he just had
some throat spasming. I'm not hearing any water in his chest at all.
If that's the case he should be waking up any time now. He wasn't
apneic for very long. Maybe two minutes at the most. This oxygen
should turn him around fairly fast."

"Thank G*d. Jim is so afraid of water drowning. He has nightmares
about it sometimes." she shivered, grabbing the radio to call for
help from the nearby ranger station. "Jim.. come on, wake up
for Johnny. You're out of the creek.." she sobbed.

Jim stirred under the ventilations seconds later and started
coughing. Gage moved the mask away. "Jim, how are you
doing now? You're out of the water...."

Hanes sucked in a huge tortured breath of air with a pained
expression on his face and then he began to laugh out loud
and long. "Do I still have it..?" he crowed, choking
on saliva and some sand, crying.

Still dripping, Johnny sat him up off of the ground, supporting
Hanes from behind so that his breathing came easier.
"What the h*ll are you talking about? Jim, you almost died on us."
he said, holding the oxygen mask back over his face.

For an answer, Jim opened up one clenched fist and
showed them what was lying there.

Johnny and Pam almost had breathing troubles themselves
as their disbelieving eyes took in the glinting fire of pure gold.

It was a solid high grade nugget the size of an apple.

Jim Hanes face split into the greatest look of joy Gage had
ever seen. "Guys, I've found the motherlode!!"

Then he fainted into Johnny's arms, falling into an utterly
exhausted sleep.


It was Monday, at Station 51.

Chet Kelly sat in one of the kitchen chairs, shaking his head in
disbelief. "Johnny, you mean to tell me that after only two days
working on a mining dredge, about which you know practically
nothing, that you managed to break even on all costs of operation
for absolutely everybody?"

"Yep." smiled Gage, biting into a red apple and relishing every
moment of it.

No one could figure out why he was studying a simple piece of fruit
so hard and for so long with such a ridiculous smile plastered
onto his face.

"Ok, so you can't tell me where you went, and you can't tell
me exactly how much you found, what can you tell me?" Kelly
asked in exasperation.

"I'll give you a little hint, Chet. A top of the line, three inch hose diameter
gold dredge, and the miscellaneous gear needed to run a small
dredging operation, for an entire summer, can be obtained for just under
$5,000. "

"Yeah, so?" Chet said. "$5,000 split four ways still isn't very much."

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"I'm not finished yet.." said Gage holding up a finger to shush him.
"Jim and Pam have been running that operation for six YEARS.
Now do the math.."

Stoker was the fastest. "No way, Gage.. No w--"

"Yep. Split four ways. And I got a bonus, too." he grinned.
"On my last day as a rock person, behind Jim, I found
this, just lying at my feet under the water."

Johnny reached into his uniform pocket and drew out a
marble sized water roughened blue star sapphire.
He held it up like a prized jeweler doing an appraisal.
"How do you like them apples?" he grinned.

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"Is that real?" Cap said, getting up out of his rocker chair.

"Yep. I'm gonna be a really rich man for a good long while."
smirked Gage at the rest of them.

"I don't believe it.." Chet whispered, his eyes filming over
and mouth falling slack. "I never knew that creeks in
California still give up rare and precious gemstones.."

Johnny started laughing gently at them all..
"Well, that just goes to show ya, Chet, my man, that all that
glitters..." and he trailed his voice off, laughing with sheer
celebratory delight as he walked proudly away, tossing his
gemstone up into the air and catching it again. It glinted
prettily blue in the light.

"...ain't gold." Chet finished, his eyes still bugging out. Then
Kelly smiled a bucktooth sort of smile, mumbling as he sat back
down on the couch to go play with Henry and his well mauled tennis
ball some more... "Man, I tell ya, Roy. That Gage,..he's something
else somedays, ain't he? Wow.." he exclaimed, blowing through
his lips in admiration.

"He sure is, Chet,.." DeSoto smiled gently. "He sure is.."


Episode Thirty One, All That Glitters
Season Five, Emergency Theater Live


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