I stretched up on my toes to get a better look at the pirate. His black eyes stared straight back at me. I tried to work out the big gold letters below his pointy beard. "Z..o..l...t...an. Is that a pirate name?"
"He's not a pirate Robbie, just some old man that's putting on a magic show," Jake said.
Magic was my second best thing after pirates. I started jumping on the spot like I do sometimes. "Do you reckon Mum could take us to see him? "
Jake got busy fiddling with his hat toggle. "Nah. It'd all be fake anyway."
I could tell he was making up excuses. He was always trying to talk me out of wishing for stuff. Yesterday, when I showed him the letter I'd written to Santa, Jake'd told me that Santa was a fake too. I got so angry with him that I kicked him in the leg but he didn't even get mad at me or cry or anything. I hated it when Jake sucked the fun out of things and here he was doing it again. Tears started dribbling out my eyes and I couldn't stop them.
Jake snuck a look at me and I could see I was making him feel bad so he stared at the park across the road instead and started chewing on his bottom lip.
"Come on. We're going to the park."
"But Mum told us to stay outside the pub."
"S'okay. She'll be ages yet."
When Jake told me his idea, I could hardly believe it. We were going to hunt for lost treasure in the park. There was only a rusty old swing set and some trees in it but Jake reckoned it was the perfect place. He told me to start looking in the sand under the swings while he searched around the trees.
I dropped down onto my knees and plunged in my hands right up to my wrists, sifting out the cigarette butts and sticks, expecting to discover something exciting any minute. Then Jake yelled out to me and I could see he had something.
I raced over to him and there in his hand was a gold coin. "Wow! How much? "
"A dollar. Bet there's more too. Try there, under the bark." I didn't waste a second before I was searching under every piece of bark that had peeled off that old scribbly gum.
My fingers knew straight away when I struck my first bit of treasure. It was one of the silver ones and only worth cents not dollars but I didn't mind a bit. Jake stopped searching then and just watched me. I was like a hungry dog hunting for a bone, raking my hands through the black dirt and piles of bark for those shiny bits of metal. Jake had to shout at me before I heard him say it was time to go but by then I'd found a whole fistful of coins.
My fingers knew straight away when I struck my first bit of treasure. It was one of the silver ones and only worth cents not dollars but I didn't mind a bit.
When we were back outside the pub, Jake said that if we were quick we could buy a milkshake at the shop next door.
"Do we have enough for a paddle-pop too?" I knew that Jake liked chocolate paddle-pops the best.
"S'okay. We'll share."
The old lady shopkeeper pulled a face when I held out the coins in my dirty hand. You could see she didn't want to touch them so I tipped them onto the counter. But we must have had enough because she went and started making our milkshake. My mouth was getting ready for it as I watched her drop the syrup and the ice cream into the silver cup. I wished she'd leave it in that special silver cup but after it was all frothy she poured the milkshake into a plain old cardboard cup.
"Two straws please," asked Jake. A smile peeked through her wrinkles as she plopped them in.
I forgot all about the cardboard cup when I took the first sip. The first sip is always the best. We sipped and sucked, looking each other in the eye, enjoying the delicious chocolatey coldness running down our throats and filling up our bellies, never once taking our mouths off those straws, right up until we made that gurgling sound that meant we'd reached the bottom.
Then Jake spotted Mum coming out the pub so he tossed the cup in the bin and grabbed my hand. Mum saw us coming before she had too long to wonder where we'd got to. Right away, I could tell that it hadn't been a lucky afternoon for her. Her face was kind of blank, not all red and excited like it is when she's had a win.
"Hey Mum, guess wha... ' I started to say but Jake squeezed my hand so I stopped.
Mum didn't want to play cards with us after dinner that night. She just sat on the lounge watching tele while Jake and I played, until we got too noisy and had to go to bed.
I waited for Mum to come in but Jake reckoned she wasn't coming so he jumped down onto my bunk and helped me read my book from school. I wasn't reading my best though cause my head was still full of the thrill of finding all that money in the park.
"I reckon we were just like pirates today, finding treasure and all that. You sure found the lucky spot Jake!" I looked up at him but he was already leaning away from me to turn off the light.
I thought that was his way of telling me not to get all excited again but just before he disappeared into the darkness, he turned back to me and his face was cracking a grin that reached all the way up to his eyes.