TITLE: Saving Miner's Gulch
GENRE: Middle Grade
November 1848, Boston, Massachusetts
"Look alive there, boy!" Stumpy Henderson barked at me from the loading dock. He leaned against a wood carton, cleaning his only thumbnail with the tip of his knife. "I don't pay ya to daydream."
He'd caught me. I was sitting on the edge of the docks, my legs dangling in the breeze, dreaming about gold nuggets as big as Stumpy Henderson's fat head. I jumped to my feet. "Sorry boss. Thought we were done."
"Would be if I hadn't lost three men this week." His gaze drifted over my head to a spot way out to sea. "Stupid McGee brothers. Not a brain between them, running off to find gold like that."
I scratched an itch on my left shoulder and drew his bloodshot eyes to me again. "There's one more crate aboard the boat, Jack. Unload her quick, or I'll dock your pay!"
Since my wages were on the line, I didn't bother with the gangplank. In one great leap, I jumped from the dock to the fishing boat. I realized my mistake the moment the soles of my boots hit the slimy fish muck on the deck.
My arms and legs flailing, I slid like a locomotive out of control. I was about to sail overboard. If I landed in that freezing Boston Bay, I'd drown, but I couldn't stop myself anymore than I could fly. My boots hit the side of the boat with a bang and suddenly I was flying.