by Bob Hazlett
“That’s my last egg,” said Vern, as it sizzled in the skillet, resting in the campfire. “and I’m out of oats too,” exclaimed Sparky, “you better find some gold soon, or we’re gonna starve … ‘cause you can’t eat rocks, and I can’t eat cactus.”
Vern and his donkey Sparky had been prospecting the hills in the Gila National Forest for years, with just enough success to barely stay alive. Vern often wondered if Sparky really could talk or if Vern was hallucinating. Alone in the mountains most of the time, what Sparky said usually made sense, so it didn’t matter much which was true.
Sometimes Vern mined with a pick and shovel in the mountain crags. Sometimes he would pan in the mountain streams. Today, he would pan in Poverty Creek, hoping to find enough gold to buy some groceries.
Vern was the picture of the lonesome prospector. Long, straggly, matted gray hair flowed into an unkempt beard. He wore tattered jeans, a threadbare flannel shirt, and a crumpled hat. Sparky was no better. He had never been groomed. His hair was short and matted with mud.
Panning a sand bar, Vern spotted a streak of white in the bushes along the creek bank. “Vern, I think I see our dinner,” said Sparky. Vern dropped the pan, climbed the bank, and headed for the bushes. A white goose darted out of the bushes and headed across the field. I can’t catch that goose, thought Vern, but maybe there is a nest with an egg or two.
Vern pushed through the brush. “Any luck?,” called Sparky. Vern continued his quest. “Oh, my,” Vern cried out, “I heard about that goose but never thought I’d meet her.”
There, in a nest under a bush, was one big golden egg.
Prompt: donkey, hair, eggs. Word Count: 298