Buried Treasure

My brother is storming up and down the beach, a grown man, naked, waving his little sand shovel in the air, swearing. Storming and swearing because he just found an extremely large bale of cocaine. It is a drenched, half buried lump, wrapped in a layer of rubber and plastic, covered in a trash bag and secured with rope.

It is just him and a little shovel and a huge quantity of cocaine on a deserted beach in Florida. All he had really wanted to do this day was to strut around naked with his chimpy body and storky nose, maybe dig a few holes. But now he has to have an existential crisis all by himself on this isolated shore. He cuts through the layers of plastic with his shovel. He sticks a finger into the white powder and scoops out a big glob, then has a panic attack because it might be anthrax, and frantically scrubs his finger raw in the sand.

He is consumed with fantasies about what he could do, and what he should do. He could pay off his student loans, and his kids’ student loans and his sister’s student loans. He and his beautiful new wife, whom he met naked on a sand dune nearby, could move out of their condo and buy a house on the beach. They’d never have to worry about money again. He could expose himself to the sun every day. He could give a ton of cash to charity. He could buy a Harley to replace the one he guiltily sold when his kids were born. But how does a person who’s never sold drugs figure out how to sell more drugs than he can lift? He can’t even budge the damn thing. He hits it hard with his little shovel. Stupid buried treasure.

And somebody must be looking for it, right? Somebody not so nice, probably. Somebody who wouldn’t care about his student loans, who wouldn’t appreciate his philanthropy fantasies. Somebody who dumped it over the side of a boat into the inky night water in order to avoid capture? Someone who sunk the boat of a rival? Someone with binoculars who might right now be watching a naked idiot hopping around and hollering at a bale of cocaine on an empty coast? He looks behind him. He stops shouting.

What if he gets arrested? How will he feel when he has to go to prison for 25 years? It’s not as much fun to be naked in prison. What about when the feds take his few measly possessions away, leaving his wife alone in the condo while he is residing at the penitentiary? Breaking bad doesn’t really work out that well for nice guys.

So he calls the park police. A ranger shows up, and is pissed about having to dirty his shoes walking on the beach to get to the contraband. He has my brother help him lift this massive lump of cocaine on to the back of an ATV, and drives away. In my mind my brother is still naked during this whole process, but he probably puts some shorts on.

Later, he googles the value of just one small kilo of cocaine, two to three million dollars. He only kicks himself a little. For countless reasons, he has done the right thing. But still, he can’t help feeling wistful about the beach house and the student loans.