Volume 6, Issue 2, page 3

In His Hands, the Mining Engineer Held a Sketch That Might Lead To
Wealth Undreamed of -- but the Priest Who Left It Had Vanished


FOR TEN years, I've been secretary
to a mining engineer, and now am
writing this in his office where
the first half of this story
took place. I shall call him
Bill. He has been like a brother to me
these ten years, and it was he who told
me a story that to many may seem so farfetched that it borders on imagination --
but I believe him.

Bill's father and grandfather were
mining men, and Bill grew up at mines.
He's been all over Mexico and our western
mine states -- all his life. Bill lives in
a residential district near Los Angeles,
close to the Pacific ocean. He's lived
here more than 30 years, with his office
in a large building at the rear of a lot
which is a block deep, with no street, or
even an alley, behind it.

This all happened on a hot summer day
before I met Bill. He was sitting at his
desk in his office, preparing a report
for a man he expected shortly. When he
heard a knock on the screen door, he assumed it was his expected visitor, and
called "Come in", without looking up.
After a few minutes, when he did turn, he
was dumfounded to see a priest standing
before him in the usual black habit.
"I beg your pardon, Sir," he stammered. I thought a friend I'm expecting
had arrived. What can I do for you? Won't
you sit down?"
"I'm trying to locate a lost mine area
and was told you've been all over often
enough that a description I have may suggest to you where the area is." The priest
spoke with a soft accent that suggested
to Bill that he was used to speaking

The padre drew a rough outline of an
oval of mountain ridges and told details
of some of the mountains, canyons, and
particularly a peak that had been blasted
off.(Some descriptive clues are purposely
deleted from this article for obvious
reasons.) Bill studied the sketch, and
said it fit two areas somewhat similar.
After further discussing details, Bill
was certain the one the padre was asking
about was in New Mexico, and taking a
road-map from his desk, he marked the
highway leading near there and the desert
road into the general area. "From hereon,
you'd have to go by Jeep or horseback,"
he said. "The peak on your drawing would
be 60 miles from the paved highway at
this small town."
''l should like very much to get to the
peak," the padre said. "Would you be
willing to take me? I don't know anyone
else who could, or would."
"How soon do you want to go?" Bill
asked. "It would take a day each way and
a day there -- even if we drove day and
night both ways. Two days would be better
-- five days total. It's difficult for me
to be gone that long."
"Could you go in an hour?" the padre
asked. Bill sat and stared. "I'm far from
home, and can't spend any more time than
Bill shook his head. "No. I still have
to discuss a mining report with the visitor I'm expecting any minute. At the earliest, I couldn't leave before morning."
After a few minutes' thought, he added:
"How about picking you up at Broadway and
Imperial Highway, which is the road we'll
head east on, at 7:30 tomorrow morning?
I'll tow a jeep behind the car to use out
The padre said the arrangements were
fine, they shook hands, and Bill saw the
padre to the door. He returned to his desk
and studied the map again.

For no reason he could give, Bill had
taken it for granted that the padre was
staying in a hotel in downtown L. A., and
Broadway would be a direct south streetcar ride for him to get to Imperial. But
suddenly, Bill remembered an appointment
for tomorrow -- one that could be postponed
easily enough if he could reach the other
party, but he wasn't sure that he could.
The padre had been gone less than two
minutes, so Bill decided he'd better run
out to the street, find him, and learn
what hotel he was staying at, just in case
he'd have to postpone the trip another
day. As rapidly as he could swing his 195
pounds into locomotion, Bill ran to the
front of the house and looked up and down
the street. The padre was not in sight.

Bill's daughter was working in a
flowerbed in front of the house. "Mary,
where did the padre go who just came
out?" he asked.

She stared at him in perplexity. "Heat
got you, Dad? No padre or priest or anyone else has come from the back."
"But one's been in talking to me," he
said. "Just a few minutes ago."
She shook her head. "You seeing things?
I've been here an hour, and no one's gone
back there -- or come out, either."
Bill raced to the back of the house. A