The Contender's Egg
Michael. Age 14. Coral Springs, Florida
Originally published in April 2009.

The Alaskan cold bit at Rich Felton’s face as he trudged wearily forward towards the excavation site. Being the rookie in the small group of archeologists, he was not used to grueling work under such conditions. As he moved toward the site, he glimpsed something strange out of the corner of his eye. Wiping the snow away, he revealed a gigantic egg, preserved for so long in its frozen grave. Wildly, he called to the supervisor of the group, Fred Trowsky.

The egg rested on the table in the preservation room near the site. Rich was admiring his find, when the supervisor walked inside, shaking snow off his boots.

“Hey, Rich,” he grunted, “what are you doing with my egg?”

Rich was confused.

Fred Trowsky went on. “Since this is my group, and my site, that’s my egg.”

“But,” Rich sputtered feebly, “I found it off the site.”

“No one knows that. If I claim it, I get it.”

Quickly, Rich’s bewilderment turned into fierce anger. “You can’t do that! That’s my egg! You can’t take my find!”

A malicious smile spread over Fred’s face as he quietly sneered, “I’ll take that off your hands Rich – you’re fired.”

Word of the egg soon escaped, and scientists from all over the world poured onto the site and took their turn in the small preservation room. Amazed, they all strove to claim it, and contention arose. They doubted Fred Trowsky could keep it; he didn’t know anything about the science of the egg.

As the news spread further, presidents, emperors, and rulers heard of the find, and how much money it could be worth, and filled the cramped, cold room with their representatives. Debates were getting stronger in the packed room. The icy chamber began to get warmer. Hours dragged on, until the room reached an almost comfortable temperature. No one seemed to notice the ice around the egg melting.

Meanwhile, Rich was by himself staring along the Alaskan horizon. All the other archeologists were inside the preservation room arguing. He didn’t notice one of his older peers, Max, walking towards him.

“Rich,” he advised, “don’t get caught up in the arguing – it’s useless. There’s no point in it. It’s just a lot of men’s greed gettin’ stirred up because they know they could get lots of money.”

Rich turned around and stared hard at Max. “I can’t get caught up in it. I’m fired.”
Max paused, was about to say something, but instead began to scrutinize the area where Rich found the egg. He swung back to Rich and crossed his arms. “Suppose it was a nest.”

“What?”

“Suppose the egg you found was part of a nest, and there was another egg that you didn’t notice in that nest.”

Rich leaped up, beginning to get excited. He grabbed his back-pack and pickaxe and started hiking over towards where he had found the previous egg, followed by Max. He carefully cut away at the ice. Gradually, something appeared. Breathlessly, Rich swept away the rest of the snow, and revealed another egg.

In the preservation room, sweat poured down the faces of the arguing mob. Finally a short, fat man tore off his coat and yelled, “This is enough! We can stop this insanity by just giving the egg… to me.”

Sharp, angry laughter filled the room. The quarrel continued. Fists pounded the table. Unbeknownst to the contenders, the egg started moving because the table was shaking. The ice had completely melted, and the egg began to roll. Suddenly, above the noise someone shouted, but the cry came too late. The devastated remains of the great egg lay scattered all over the floor. What had been disputed over for so long now had no value.

“Max,” Rich gasped, “it’s another egg!”

“Congratulations, Rich!”

“Wait,” Rich said slowly, “this is your find. You had the idea of checking here. Take the egg.”

“You take it, Rich. I don’t need it.”

Rich gawked at Max in amazement. Then suddenly he had a horrible thought. “Wait, what if Fred claims it?”

“He’s not your boss anymore since he fired you. You can claim it yourself. And I’d claim it as fast as possible if I were you.”

“Thank you so much, Max!”

Swiftly, Rich left to stake his claim for the egg.

Arriving back at the archeological dig, Rich met a crowd filing out of the preservation room and noticed their disconsolate faces. Spying Max leaning against the wall watching the gloomy procession, Rich hurried over to meet him.

“Hey, Max, why is there such a black cloud over everyone here?”

Max turned towards Rich with a knowing smile. “The egg is broken. I saw its remains on the preservation room’s floor.”

“How-”

But Rich’s voice was cut off with the ringing of his cell-phone. “Hello? Yes…Really? Yes – thank you, sir…Thank you!”

“Herman Elwood, the greatest archeologist of all time, just called me! He wants me to be on his team! He was at the office when I claimed the egg!”

Max grinned, “Imagine if you had been arguing over the egg you found earlier. Instead of finding the other egg, your greed would have got the best of you, and you would have lost what you argued for. Now, you have a new job and another great find.”

As the sun sank below the Alaskan horizon, a satisfied grin broke over Rich’s face as he looked forward eagerly to his next adventure.

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