A/N: Yeah, really short and weird, but I don't know what to change. Have at it. A/N
Shovels scraped away at the floor of the sizeable hole they were wielded in, flinging dirt onto the ever growing mound looming above the helmet covered craniums of the Diggers.
"Boy, we sure are making great time today, huh Dave?" Sam beamed, digging away.
"We sure are," agreed Dave, wiping his brow, "I told you the soil would be better by the hedge row. Aren't you glad you finally listened to me about digging over here?"
Sam cleared his throat. "Bossing…" he said warningly.
"Oops. Uh, sorry." Dave apologized. He pressed away at his work. "Ahh, don't you just love that sound?" They worked in silence for a few more seconds before-
Both diggers stopped short, staring at where their shovels had halted unexpectedly.
"What the-?" Sam questioned, "There shouldn't be any rocks in this part of the playground…"
"That doesn't sound like a rock…" Dave countered, kneeling curiously. "Here, help me brush it off."
Sam knelt down beside his partner and helped him remove a thin layer of dirt, revealing under it the lid of a crate with wooden slats. Together, the Diggers unearthed the top of the crate and prised open the lid.
"Whoah..!" they gasped in unison, glinting rays of golden light shining off their faces. The light shone with good reason, too, for what the two had discovered was none other than…
"Gold!" the Diggers gushed. Indeed, shimmering bars of the stuff glinted at the two excavators merrily.
"Wow, this is amazing!" Sam spouted, "A whole crateful of gold! We haven't dug up anything this exciting since the time we found that alien fossil!"
"Sam!" Dave clamped a hand over Sam's mouth, looking around nervously, "Ix-nay on the ossil-fay..!" Sam shrugged apologetically.
Dave moved to crouch over their find. "Now," he wondered aloud, rubbing his chin, "is this something we share, or something we keep to ourselves..?"
"Hi guys! How's it going?" a voice suddenly rang out, causing both Diggers to jump. Twisting, they found T.J. and friends smiling down at them from the lip of the hole.
"I guess we share…" Sam noted flatly.
"Holy mackerel!" Gus exclaimed, catching sight of the crate and pointing, "Is that real gold?!" Instantly the group starting chattering about it.
Quickly, Dave made shushing motions with his arms. The group settled down curiously.
"Get in here..!" Dave demanded, and he and Sam yanked the six intruders down with them. Once scanning the perimeter to make sure no one else had noticed anything, Dave continued, "Yes, Sam and I found gold. But we haven't really decided what to do with it yet. We just uncovered it."
"Heck, I'll take it off yer hands for ya..!" Spinelli offered, leering greedily over the crate. The lid snapped closed suddenly in her face.
"Um…I don't think so." Dave said.
"Might I suggest placing it in a bank?" suggested Gretchen. "I believe that to be the wisest choice."
"Are you kidding?" Vince asked, incredulous, "With that much gold, you guys are rich! You can buy whatever you want!" He imagined the Diggers lounging outside a mine on fancy chairs, being waited on, diamond-encrusted helmets and pickaxes adorning them. "I say spend it." He told them, vision poofing away in a cloud.
"Nay, nay!" cut in Mikey, "I say give the money away. There are many less fortunate out there who could use such a bounty."
Sam and Dave waved their arms negatively. "Look guys," Dave started, "we appreciate your peer pressured suggestions and all, but I think Sam and I need to think it over ourselves."
"But we'll give you a cut if you promise to stay quiet about it until we decide." Sam included. Instantly, six faces lit up with huge smiles.
-The Next Day-
The playground was in turmoil. Dirt-spattered children ran everywhere. Giant holes filled the lawn. Grass was practically non-existent. Bars of gold were being hoarded by those fortunate enough to find them.
Cross-armed, Sam and Dave walked over and stared wordlessly at T.J. and his pals, who were on their hands and knees, overturning the kickball field.
Seeing the looks, T.J. chuckled nervously, "Sorry guys, but can you blame us? It's gold! That's like the find of the century or something! Besides, once Spinelli let slip there was gold in the playground, we had to start digging if we wanted any!" He continued pawing animalistically at his section of ground.
The Diggers looked accusingly in Spinelli's direction.
"What?" she groused. After a moment she placed her arms in the air defensively. "Ok, ok, I'm sorry I spilled the beans to Randall and tried to buy my way out of detention with yer precious gold. Ya happy?" She plunged her forearms back into the dirt, not really caring whether or not her apology was accepted.
Seeing that they were being fully ignored now, Sam and Dave turned and left. Sam sighed. "I should've known better than to trust those guys." he moped.
Dave placed a hand on his shoulder. "Yep, you should have. You should have…"
Over the next week, recess was consumed entirely by gold fever. Even the clean and prissy kids were getting dirty.
"Just one more bar," Menlo spoke to himself, scraping away in the garden with his fingernails, "Just one more and I can retire comfortably at age fourteen..!"
Ashley A. climbed, filthy and ragged from a hole near the Ashley clubhouse, triumphantly clutching a bar above her head.
"I got one! I like, totally got one!" she cheered, but was promptly tackled by about five kids.
Meanwhile, from inside the building, Principal Prickley and the assorted staff watched the increasing playground chaos.
"They just keep…digging, sir." Miss Finster said quietly, "Non-stop, days on end. They won't respond to threats or discipline. I haven't the foggiest what's gotten into the little runts."
Prickley squirmed, not really wanting to get involved. "Yes, well, you know kids," he shrugged, "They're always trying to find new ways to destroy things. This is just a phase. Probably."
"I think this is a healthy expression." Miss Grotke offered, "The children are merely taking the time to get in touch with their earthy side." She watched a clod of dirt fly across the window. "Although perhaps I was a bit too passionate during the Gaia chapter of our Greek mythology lesson…"
"Well, I don't care, so long as they're out of my hair, out of my clothes, out of my purse…and out of my pills!" Mrs. Klemperer, the kindergarten teacher said, dumping several of said pills down her throat.
"Oh, boo-hoo, Klemperer," Miss Finster said with a puss, "All you do is watch the kindergarteners. Ya ever tried keeping a whole school in line?"
Mrs. Klemperer scoffed. "I'd like to see you last half a day with those kindergarten monsters..!" she challenged.
As the two glared daggers at each other, Miss Grotke eased them apart, saying, "Now, now, ladies, this isn't about us, remember? We're trying to decide on a course of action best benefitting the children."
Miss Finster and Mrs. Klemperer 'hmph'ed and turned away from each other.
"Principal Prickley? Any suggestions as to what we should do with our young saplings?" Miss Grotke inquired of the principal, hands clasped.
Prickley contemplated. After a few moments he waved a hand, declaring, "Ehh, let this little fad run its course. I don't know what caused this, but they're not really breaking any rules, so we can't really do much about it. Besides, I've got a mini golf championship this weekend, and I need all the practice I can get!"
With that, he shooed everyone out of his office and set about setting up his practice cup.
On the playground, boxes and boxes of gold had been dug up. Hardly an inch of earth had been unturned, and the students had moved from digging for gold, and more towards just hoarding it. It was a dark and depressing wasteland, filled with fights and misery.
Under the climbing dome, T.J. and his friends had holed up with their collective loot. All of them were mere shells of their former selves, jittery, wide-eyed, overly-alert. Spinelli was on the verge of cracking. She muttered to herself, "Yer all after me gold, aren't ya? Me lucky gold…you all want me share…"
And then, she cracked. "Well you can't have it!" she burst suddenly, causing her friends to look up. Spinelli lunged at the pile of gold, raking as many bars as she could into her arms, cackling all the while. Gretchen, Gus, Vince and Mikey scrambled to stop her, and to grab what they could as well.
This rowdy tussle caught the attention of others on the playground. Sensing a large stash of gold being vulnerable, the other children began flocking to the climbing dome, eager to get in on the fray.
T.J. meanwhile, only watched all of this with a blank, distant look on his face, staring back and forth between the scene and the lone bar of gold in his hand. And then, as he watched his friends bickering over the mounds of treasure, something registered with a gasp.
The action froze. Everyone in the vicinity turned to look questioningly at T.J. T.J. stood panting, that familiar look of passion in his eyes. He was ready to make a speech.
"Look at us!" he started, "Look at what we've become! We're fighting like animals-no-worse than animals! We're fighting like greedy adults! Greedy adults who've let money go to our heads and control us.
"Look at this playground! Who remembers where the kickball field was? The meadow? The garden? I can't tell them apart anymore; they've all become dirty trenches. Dirty trenches filled with dirty, corrupt money. Yeah, that's right, corrupt! This stuff corrupts minds. Now I don't know about you, but I don't want no corrupt mind; and I sure as heck don't want to be thinking like no adult, because adults whomp. Who's with me?"
He threw his gold bar onto the ground to punctuate his speech.
The children stared at him in silence for a minute, blinking. But then the fighting just started up anew. Gus and Butch dove for T.J.'s discarded gold at the same time, causing it to scrape along the ground.
"Hey, you smudged my gold!" Gus shouted accusingly, wrenching it from Butch's grasp. He scraped his thumbnail over the corner of the bar, trying to scrape off the smudge. It cracked and crumbled under the pressure.
"Huh..?" Gus puzzled, bewildered. He inspected the bar more closely, and then cautiously broke off a piece and tasted it.
"Hey, this isn't gold," he announced, "It's…candy!"
Everyone stopped again, this time surprised and muttering to one another. Had they heard right?
"Here, look!" Gus said, snatching a bar from Swinger Girl, the nearest kid. Everyone gasped as he peeled away the edge of the wrapper, revealing brown confection underneath.
"What the heck?"
"You gotta be kidding me!"
Amid the startled mumbles and disbelieving comments, Gretchen came forward, running her Galileo device over one of the bars.
As it beeped the results, Gretchen's eyebrows rose.
"Gadzooks, this appears to be the unsold surplus of 'Golden Goody's, an attempt to raise funds by the school orchestrators, circa 1909!" she informed.
"Meaning..?" questioned Spinelli.
"It's not gold. It's 100-year-old band candy." Gretchen translated, "Oh, I feel so ashamed not to have noticed. Why didn't I run any tests? I should've known there was no way gold could be so light…"
While she berated herself, various members of the crowd exclaimed, "Band candy?!" "Ew!" "Gross!" "Ugh, I can't believe this!" "Man, we're not rich!" "Band candy stinks!"
Now losing interest and grossed out, the crowd dispersed, leaving the six originally present by themselves.
T.J. smiled at his ashamed and disappointed friends, glad they all had their brains back.
The next day, all traces of the 'gold' had vanished inexplicably. The ruts and trenches had been filled back in so that the ground, though still brown and ugly, was at least flat again and suitable for kickball. Yes, things were on their way to returning to normal on the playground, which is why Sam and Dave took the opportunity to show their faces once more.
Emerging from the library doors, the Diggers took a refreshing breath of outside air.
"Ahh, finally, the digging frenzy is over." Sam sighed.
"Yes; now those who truly understand the art can return to the soil." agreed Dave.
"So, does this mean we shouldn't tell anybody about that jeweled Olmec head we found by the dumpster?" questioned Sam.
"Shhhh!!" Dave clamped Sam's mouth shut again.
Meanwhile, in a staff room, the staff was enjoying the contents of several dozen large wooden crates.
"Ah, nothin' like a good ol' fashioned piece of band candy." Principal Prickley beamed, reclining in a fancy chair, "Can you believe the children actually dug up this goldmine right on our own school property? 'Golden Goody's nonetheless! It's a miracle they didn't seem to want it."
"Indeed. I never would have guessed that the students would be uncovering candy." input Miss Grotke, "I'm even more surprised by their turning it down."
"Kids. Go figure." Miss Finster smirked.
"True that." nodded Prickley, raising his candy bar in a toast.
The others joined him in the toast, and laughed into a fade-out.