Beamo’s Gold part 31
Beamo and the outlaws debate lights in the sky.
Flames wrapped around our small campfire logs like pretty orange paper covering presents. Sparks floated out of the flames and disappeared into the night. The outlaws were all downcast. What I thought would have been a celebration after a lucky and lucrative hit turned out to be a funeral dirge. The more I saw the more I believed that this was the normal after-hit state for the Sawbird Gang. They were humans fighting scruples contained in most everyone, except the very worst psycho-cutthroats.
“Hems what wese saw’d t’night up in the sky was a-ilians from outtaspace,” Smooth Sharp said. She was proud of herself for spotting the giant glowing disks first. Her and Packit were now passing around bottles of dandelion wine they stole from the Saints. There hadn’t been enough time to locate the well hidden ‘shine.
“Well, Beamo, wat saz yous?” Hopper asked.
I gazed over at Bonehead, his firelit face showed he had recovered even if he was strangely quiet. “Not too daum likely,” I finally answered.
“Why not?” Major Kaim surprised me with his support for the from-another-planet explanation. “There are thousand-millions and thousand-billions of stars in the galaxy, suns with planets like ours orbiting them. Intelligent life is certainly all over.” He waved his arm up at the Milky Way.
“Think about it, Major. You understand big numbers like billions.” There was some banter then about what the billion number was since most of the outlaws didn’t believe there were any numbers larger than a hundred thousand or a few said a million. “The fossil record shows that life began about a couple hundred million years after this planet Earth formed out of the chaos at the start of solar system. But it took four billion years after that for the process of evolution to crank out creatures like us who can sort-of think. The fatal factors you can list to end our presence that could happen during four billion years are off the charts. Dinosaurs got wiped out sixty-five million years ago by a giant fireball that crashed into our world. In our case, we were nearly done-in by a combination of self-inflected atrocities and a plague that ravaged the world population. Over a thousand years later we are barely coming out of that bottleneck and there are many other Doomtimes that are a hundred-fold worse and just as likely to go down. No, there isn’t enough time for creatures to get organized and tech-savvy enough to leave their home world and come here.”
“Beamo is a scavenge man,” Tee Sal said. “He only believes in and knows about the past. That’s why every explanation he gives is what the Mericans did with their tech.”
Some kind of owl hooting echoed up from the trees down in the gorge. Everyone stayed quiet for a while. I finally said, “I’m not saying it’s not possible, just down to almost zero. The Mericans actually did send a couple rocket craft to land people on the Moon. About a dozen, I think.”
“Could there still be people living up there? On the Moon?” Little Bit pointed up at the bright lunar orb that rose into the sky two-and-a-half hours ago.
“No, I’m afraid not. For one thing, they sent only men and the record says they all got back. There’s no air or water on the Moon, they reported, just a desert wasteland without any life. And that’s what most of those planets floating around up there contain. Poison gasses or no air at all to breathe. Big dead rocks.” Smooth handed me the last bottle of wine and I popped the cork.
“There are nations and empires that can’t be seen.” Bonehead spoke out with his new divine pastor voice. “Armies and gangs with powers yous’ll can’t ‘magine.”
This pronouncement from Bonehead astounded me. He only went to first grade and could barely read and maybe write his own name, but it sounded like he had already in one day studied a good portion of the Holy Bible he stole from me. “Was somebody reading to you from that bible?”
“The Book spoke to me itself,” Bonehead calmly replied.
Before I could poke fun at that, Tee said, “He’s right, Beamo, we all heard the Book speak. When you set it out in the sunshine for a while then push a button on the inside cover, a voice with a weird dialect speaks out random passages through a tiny speaker hidden in the spine.”
I stood up and said, “Do you realize how valuable that is? All the electriky recordings dug up before couldn’t be made to work. It’s, it’s….”
“A mirrorcull,” Bonehead spouted out like it was expected and meant for him.
Little Bit started laughing at me and then the rest joined in. I tilted the bottle and chugged the dandy wine all down. After finishing the weak liquor I dropped the bottle. Just stood there shaking my head and mumbling out complaints about Bonehead’s dumb luck.
Little Bit got up and tugged at my arm. “Looks like Beamo’s gold slipped through your hands, digger,” She razzed then lead me off to her tent. The outlaws and goons started heading for their tents with smiles on their faces. Even Tee looked amused so there were two miracles that twenty-four hours, three if you count the trio of giant glowing discs.