Mystery of the Missing Gold, Part One
By Colleen Messina
1 Stan felt cold and prickly, as though he were being watched. Sure enough, right above him, two black, unblinking eyes glared. Huge horns protruded from the creature's shaggy head, and its mouth looked as though it was about to stretch into an odd smile. The elk head on the wall gave Stan a serious jolt of adrenaline.
2 After his initial shock, Stan really wasn't that surprised to find an elk head on a Montana attorney's office wall. Stan had been summoned on a cold spring day for the reading of his grandfather's will. Stan, a lanky mechanic who lived in Colorado, had slid his string bean body into his only suit for the occasion. He felt uncomfortable and nervous.
3 Mr. Beckel, the attorney, welcomed Stan. He wore a suit and a bolo tie, which consisted of a loop of a leather cord around the attorney's sturdy neck. A large turquoise clasp held the leather cord in place on the mountainous landscape of the attorney's chest. The stone, set in a disc of shining silver, looked like a radiant eye. Mr. Beckel, or Bolo Beckel as he was called, wore frayed blue jeans. His belt was fastened with a large silver buckle engraved with a horse's head, and its wide leather band herded his rolls of flab into submission. Stan felt a bit more at ease because of Mr. Beckel's casual style, but he still hoped that the meeting would not take long.
4 "I am very sorry about the death of your grandfather. We used to have some adventures together," said the attorney. He nervously touched his turquoise stone. He was never comfortable offering condolences. He was distant by nature, a quality that helped make him an excellent lawyer. However, since he had to deal with wills and estates from time to time, this aloof part of his personality sometimes made his clients feel a chill.
5 "Thank you, sir," said Stan. He sat down on an overstuffed chair in front of the attorney's large mahogany desk. It did seem as though everything in Montana was big and woodsy. The whole office smelled like leather and cigar smoke. Stan felt as though he were at a hunting lodge instead of a law office.