“What do you think I can do with this?” Caleb demanded, staring at the bone in my hand in disbelief.
“You’re my underground guy. I need you to give these bones a paper trail. Err… one that makes it believable that I obtained them.”
I had been excited when I had snatched the bones earlier from the museum. I googled it, and you could supposedly auction off dinosaur skeletons to the ultra-rich for sometimes millions of dollars. If I sold them, my family would be set for life. However, once the excitement died down, I had thought about it and began to worry that there might be some kind of identification. If these bones already existed in this world in their exact same form, was there some way I’d get in trouble? That’s why I used the phone that Caleb had left me and scheduled to meet with him after school.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” He shook his head. “I don’t know anything about dinosaur bones.”
“I don’t need dinosaur bones.” I responded irritably. “I need paperwork. I need identification. I need it to look like I was sent these items. Something untraceable. An uncle died and left me his unspecified possessions. I bought a lot off an abandoned storage unit and they were inside. Whatever, I don’t care.”
“I don’t know the first thing about that!” He cried out.
“Have you ever gotten a fake ID?”
“Do you know people who make forgeries?”
“Then, I’d start there,” I said. “Oh, and get me a fake ID. Not too old, 21 will suffice.”
In truth, I didn’t know the first thing about any of this. I was using him because I didn’t know. I noticed he was looking a bit uncomfortable.
“What have I gotten myself into.” He muttered.
“Is there a problem?” I demanded.
He touched the thing on his throat and grimaced. “I had a guy look at this. He says he’s never seen anything like it. It looks like it came from another planet. Now, you’re suddenly popping up with dinosaur fossils.”
“I’m surprised you’re telling me this.”
“Well, if you were going to kill me, you’d kill me. Ain’t no point lying to you at this point.”
I nodded slowly, and then stood up. “If you get me some kind of proof of ownership on the bones, and some identification papers, then you’ll get a cut in return.”
“Heh… I don’t need your lunch money, kid.”
“We’ll see, I can get pretty hungry.” I turned and walked away, leaving the park where we had been discussing things.
I didn’t travel too far. I had another appointment. I got a table at a small café and then ordered a drink. To pass the time, I played with the Perco, growing more comfortable with the various uses and features it had when it came to technology. I quickly realized that it could skim credit information whenever a card was ran. It was more than the credit card. I could get names, addresses, and more. It was seriously a scary piece of technology.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” A feminine voice came from my side.
I looked over to see two large mounds. I then looked up to see the beautiful Lily. She was just as refined as always, with perfect hair and makeup. She put on her usual smile, but it looked just a bit strained.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“Nothing that I can’t handle.” She responded, sitting down across from me while crossing her long, milky white legs. “I must say, I’m surprised you contacted me so quickly. After our last meeting, I thought you would need to rethink some of your strategies. Did you not receive the text with my recommendation on it?”
“I did… but I’ve already met you.”
“Aren’t you a little cocky? Few people have the right to call upon me. That’s something a man has to earn.”
“You came, didn’t you?”
“I’m still a bit curious. Call it an instinct, or a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction from our last meeting. I decided to give you one last chance… to satisfy me.”
“If it’s an instinct, then you have good ones.” I reached into my bag.
I had brought a few of the bones out of the digitizer earlier so I wouldn’t have to juggle around with presenting them. Honestly, I would have rathered to leave every bone in there. They were originally in a dried climate-controlled area. Ancient fossils probably didn’t do so hot jumbled around in some guy’s backpack.
“Before we begin… this is for you.” She pushed a small piece item toward me.
I frowned, grabbing it and looking at it. I quickly realized that it was a credit card. The writing on it was elegant with a black card and gold script. It had the name Chloe ‘s Auction House written on it.
“What is this?” I asked the obvious question.
“It’s a credit line from my employer. You can put up to $10,000 on it.”
She spoke those words so casually, but I nearly dropped the card after hearing that. My eyes turned to pin pricks and for a second I felt like I was falling. $10,000! No… it was just a credit line.
“Whenever a payment is completed, money will be added to the card. You should already have $2321. That’s what those diamonds ultimately went for. I told you I’m good at assessing value. That means you can technically spend up to $12,321 on the card. Well, you’d need to pay the other $10,000 back, or auction off more valuables. That money is interest free, by the way… presuming you pay it back. If you don’t, we will repossess your property, and we’re very good at it.”
Looking at the card for the moment, it was the thing I needed more than anything else. It was the assets I needed to up my game. I could finally seriously start my business in that world now. I almost felt like crying, but I bit back the tears and swallowed.
“Why are you giving me this? I thought I wasn’t a high enough client.”
“Please… it was a small thing. If I took our dealing seriously, the limit would have been $100,000. You remind me of myself when I was younger, that is all.”
“I see… then I suppose I shouldn’t disappoint. This is why I came to you today.” I took the card and pocketed it, then pushed a bone out toward her.
As soon as she laid eyes on it, she raised an eyebrow. “What is this?”
I supposed it was too much to hope that she’d recognize dinosaur bones at a glance, huh?
“It’s art.” I responded, and when she shot me an incredulous look, I coughed. “I mean, it’s a dinosaur fossil.”
“Fossils? I’m not an archeologist, Daniel.”
“I’m not giving them to an archeologist.” I reached out into my back again. “Do you know what this is?”
I pulled out a skull and then put it down on the table. It was bit smaller than a foot. This time, her eyes did widen.
“This… is a velociraptor skull.”
“It is!” I coughed.
I was just about to explain it, but she apparently knew it.
“Ever since those movies, velociraptor skeletons are extremely popular among the rich. This is real? Not a copy?”
“It’s real… and I don’t just have the skull. I have the whole body.”
She pulled out her portable light kit and magnifying utensils again like she did with the diamonds. She started to look over the smaller bone I had put on the table.
“This… isn’t velociraptor.”
“I thought you said you weren’t an archeologist?”
“I’m whatever you want me to be.” She shot back excitedly. “This bone is larger.”
“It belongs to a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.”
“Sk-skeleton? The whole skeleton?”
I nodded. “I have access to it.”
It was still at that museum. The museum was dangerous, but the raiders only seemed to use it as a passage to their base. I felt we could sneak back in and out with more bones when the need arose. No one in that world needed or cared about such items.
“H-how, how did you get them?” She demanded, looking more excited than I had ever seen her.
“That’s… um… a complicated story…” I scratched my cheek.
She reached out and grabbed my hands, a serious expression on her face. “Daniel, I can’t sell illegal goods. If these are stolen.”
“They’re not!” I cried out, and then coughed again. “I mean, they’re legit. I can guarantee you there is no one in this world who has the right to claim ownership of these bones… except for me, I mean.”
She leaned back again, and I breathed easier. For a second, I thought those things would pop out. Thankfully, it was too early for dinner, and there was no one else in the café but us. She relaxed finally, but it was clear that her previous fatigue had vanished, and all she felt was excitement now.
“Bones don’t sell often, but they are major events. Do you know how much they can go for? Millions.”
I kept from reacting, but my heart skipped a beat. I had seen a price tag of $25,000 for a velociraptor, I presumed a t-rex would be worth more than that.
“Then, are you satisfied?” I asked.
She looked me up and down, her eyes holding a strange light much different from the last time I had talked to her. Her red lips glistened as she parted them slightly.
“What can I say? You’re the first man who has ever given me… a bone.”