Stumps with a Zing

A request,  this is my first foray into short stories and would love some feedback good, bad, improvements i can take it.

and now without further ado:

Frank Nelson and Robert Benny sat restlessly at their usual table at the Breakfast Diner surrounded by eggs, stacks of pancakes, sausage, and toast but they weren’t here just to enjoy a hearty snack over friendly conversation, no, word had it that some newly acquired land upstate was ripe for pickin’s.  The weather was cooperating with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the mid 70’s and no rain in sight.

Mouth stuffed with egg and pancake Robert spits, “A plan, we need a plan.”

Frank’s mouth equally stuffed sips some coffee and answers, “Simple, let us enjoy the bounty before us after all the best detecting is done on a full stomach, eh?  Afterwards we’ll make the two hour drive and talk with owner Maurice Williams to get permission to search his land before it gets down the metal detector’s pipeline.”

Well fortified Frank and Robert scurry off for what is hoped to be an exciting and rewarding weekend but don’t get out of the parking lot when, “I forgot something inside,” Frank hurries back into the restaurant.  Handing their server a sizeable tip more than had they not exited so hurriedly, “We rushed out so fast I forgot to leave you a tip darling.”  Stunned, “Thank you,” was all she said watching Frank scamper back out.

Arriving at the door Robert knocks then steps back, a second knock no response then just as he turns to Frank the door creaks open,

“Yes who is it, what can I do for you?”

“Mr. Williams,” Robert asks.

“That’s me live and in Technicolor, who are you.”

“My name is Robert Benny and this is Frank Nelson and we would like to know if it is ok to detect on your property?”

“Detect, detect what, what do you mean,” Williams questions.

Hesitant, words stutter as Robert explains, “We are what is known as detectorist and search parks, fields and the like for relics, jewelry, coins, and so forth.  We understand there is a former lumberjack camp on your land and would like to explore and see what turns up.”

“I see, and you want my permission well go right ahead boys detect away but do keep me up to date on your finding, who knows maybe the three us could make the discovery of a lifetime, eh.”

“Oh right, thank you”, the words stumble from Robert surprised it was this easy.

Instead of approaching the task by mapping and studying the area they jump right in headphones secure, and T-shaped, long handled spades at the ready pouches secured around the waist Robert uses the Makro Racer metal detector and Frank, well, he claims the Bounty Hunter Pioneer detector called to him.  A Bounty Hunter and a Pioneer not of chasing human traffic but looking for what they left behind discovering a different sort of frontier.

 Separated by 25’ they start searching acreage laden with tree stumps swinging detectors slowly to the left, then right as if a pendulum always walking forward keeping the coil parallel and two inches above the ground.  Robert sensing something will be found quickly walks fast, probably due to the extra cups of coffee at the diner, however, surveying the land and always the pessimistic Frank chimes,

“This could take some time.”

Not stepping 10 feet onto the property Robert hears a beep scans back over the spot two to three times to narrow and confirm, excitingly tears off the headset grabs the spade and digs a shallow plug in the ground.

Glancing at Frank, Robert declares, “This could be it our golden opportunity,” two indentations in the soft ground where his knees land Robert pulls out the plug hurriedly breaking it into smaller pieces.

Stopping in support, “What did you find,” Frank questions.

Disappointed Robert shouts, “Just a pull tab from 1965.”

“Far from the maddening crowd a good place for teenagers to socialize, bring a girl, party,” Frank adds then continues swinging his detector back and forth parallel to the ground.

  The next two days play out in similar fashion not only finding quantities of pull tabs around stumps confirming what Frank said about youngsters but also a variety of coins; one must wade through the muck to find buried treasure.  Robert uncovered pennies and quarters dated 1988, 1980, and one quarter 1776-1976 printed for the countries Bicentennial.  Frank too dug up more pull-tabs then he cared to count also coins printed in 1969, 1994, and four quarters from that Bicentennial year of 1976.  One of the coins, a nickel dated 1994 strikes a note with Frank, eyes transfixed on clouds tinted in evening sunset.  September of 1994 while working for a locally owned camera store he met Melinda from Pasadena when asked she said, “I don’t believe in chance,” Frank smiles recalling the whirlwind romance and wished the outcome different.

“Frank, Frank, hey Frank!  Are thinking of the girl that got away again,” Robert questions.

Rapidly blinking Frank breaks the trance, “Yes, does it show?”

“You’re drooling.”

On the third day the pair started digging up more relics of the past:  shotgun shells, lead bullets, a tap for removing sap from maple trees, Indian Cents dated between 1906 and 1909, and something that astonished Frank.  “Well will you looks at this,” excitement in his voice eyes wide.  Frank turns to Robert, “ I’d know this anywhere a tongue shaped shoe buckle, looks colonial.”  Being a history buff and detecting go hand in hand both men have read numerous books on American history, studied pictures, sensed something big beneath their feet.  Robert walks to where Frank is and examines the buckle, “This could put a zing into local and state history.”

Turning the rusted buckle Frank ponders, “Wow, how did a shoe buckle get here in the middle of a forest of White Pines, fir, maple trees, and birch?”















By jimberly

I enjoy photography, writing, walking, nature, reading, and of course the coooolest game on earth HOCKEY! I took up photography in 9th grade and seeing the world in a different light wanting to, of course, photograph everything, unfortunately not everything comes out the way I'd like.


  1. My two cents….I thought this was fun. I definitely get a sense of the characters. The food scene was funny! I hope this isn’t a scary story, because it’s just too humorous. I liked it… I wonder what they’ll find? : )


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