(Ah, sweet youth. No matter whether you grew up sporting a fedora, penny loafers, poodle skirts, bell-bottoms, leg-warmers, skinny jeans, Madonna-inspired net shirts and rosaries, goth garb, a spikey mohawk, or even a wave that would put the Bieber to shame, you made a fashion statement, unique to you. Describe your favorite fashions from days of yore or current trends you think are stylin’.)
I was never trendy. When the hippie trend started I figured the best way to keep them away from me was to not look like them. For the most part those who dressed the hippie style were phonies anyway (wannabes). Their only commitment was to follow the fad. The only fad I fell for was the coonskin cap.
Here’s my story about two bank-robbing brothers:
The Little Ike
Big Ed Swartz purchased a plot of ground at an auction for $50,000 that was worth no more than $7,000. It was a bitter battle, but Big Ed walked away like the big dog with the bone.
Everybody thought Big Ed was a fool, but he was an investor. He was accustomed to sinking money into a project and seeing it grow. Nevertheless a mystery surrounded the purchase, after all Big Ed left $1 tips for a $100 meals. Big Ed didn’t throw money around unless it was going to take root and grow.
Only Big Ed knew the true value of that plot of land. It had $250,000 buried on it and he was about to uncover it.
Fifteen years earlier Big Ed and his brother Little Ike robbed an armored truck. Little Ike was captured, tried, and convicted to 20 years. Little Ike took the rap for his brother. Big Ed buried the money vowing to split it later with Little Ike.
Big Ed prospered legitimately as a real estate developer. Yet, always in the back of his mind rested that plot of land and the money buried there.
It was night lit by a half moon. Big Ed made his way with a shovel and flashlight in hand from his car to where the money was buried.
Big Ed used a shovel to pry back a small bolder. He dug down three feet and pulled from the dirt and clay two suit cases. He unsnapped one and opened it. The flash light shone upon the contents – newspapers.
“Who wants yesterday’s papers,” a shadow said just to the right of Big Ed.
“Little Ike, is that you?” Big Ed said.
“Yeah,” Little Ike said. “It’s me.”
“What are you doing here?” Big Ed said.
“You thought I was in prison, right?” Little Ike said.
“Well yeah,” Big Ed said. “What did you do escape?”
“No,” Little Ike said. “I was paroled, good behavior.”
“Now we can split the money,” Big Ed said excitedly.
“But there’s no money to split,” Little Ike said. “I’ve been out for five years and as soon as I got out. I came here and dug up the money.”
“That’s great!” Big Ed said gleefully. “Where’s it at?”
“Belize,” Little Ike said. “Real estate development, I got in early.”
“That’s great!” Big Ed said. “My half invested has probably made me lot of money.”
“Not a cent,” Little Ike said. “I spent 15 year in the pen and you didn’t come and visit me once. You never returned a letter and I never ratted you out in all that time. That has to be worth something.”
“Well at least pay me back what I paid for the property,” Big Ed said.
“Actually,” Little Ike said. “I wanted to let you know that not only do I have the money you buried, but I own the property. I bought it when I got out for $2,000. When you were bidding on this plot you were actually bidding on my land and against one of my business partners. He ran you up.”
“You are a poor excuse for a brother,” Big Ed said bitterly. “You’re a backstabber if I ever saw one. You not only take my half, but you ran the price of the property up so I’d deliberately over pay.”
“That’s business, Big Ed,” Little Ike said. “Just to show there’s no hard feelings in all of this,” Little Ike chortled. “You can have the other suit case too.”
Big Ed kicked the suit case and stomped into the night back to his car.
Little Ike strolled over to the unopened suitcase. He bent down and snapped it open. He lifted the lid. “It looks like it’s all here. I was willing to give him the other half, but he chose to think the worse of me.”
A year passed and Big Ed sold the property at a loss, but he at least got $7,500 out of it and wrote the rest off as a loss. “Ya win some and you lose some,” Big Ed told all the members of the country club.
Big Ed avoided driving near the property he once overpaid for. It was a bitter memory, a memory whose origin he could not share with anyone else in fear of going to jail himself.
A year after selling the property Big Ed was in a car with builder, Ralph Pickering, to inspect a property they were considering to develop. They were on a collision course with Big Ed’s nemeses property.
“Would you mind not taking this way,” Big Ed said.
“It’s shorter this way,” Ralph said.
“I know,” Big Ed said. “But I don’t like going down this way.”
“I’m on tight schedule,” Ralph said. “I got to take my daughter to the orthodontist.”
“I’ll give you hundred dollars to go another way,” Big Ed insisted.
“To late,” Ralph said. “I missed the turn.”
They drove for a mile. Big Ed purposely avoided looking at the property. Finally it got the best of him. He turned his head. The property had a chain link fence around it and in the middle of it was an oil well.
Ralph nodded toward a sign on the property and read it. “Huh, ‘The Little Ike,’ I wonder who Little Ike is? They say it pumps $50,000 of crude everyday day.”