Diamond In The Rough

by Marns
aka Bumpkin

Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rated: PG
Description: Another peek into Ezra's thoughts.

Ezra stood in the run down office of the Denver branch of the ATF and barely managed to hold back a shudder. Good Lord the place was awful! With the decorating job his fellow agents had done, the only way he could even think of describing the place was 'shabby chic'. But then his gaze was drawn to the agents themselves - the men who he was going to be working with from here on out, and a lesson learned in his youth came to mind.

It had been during one of the times his mother had imposed on some poor family to watch him so that she wouldn't be inconvenienced while executing one of her many schemes. The family she'd left him with weren't the most affluent personages, but they had inadvertently given him one of his most cherished memories.


'Dumped again...' Ten-year-old Ezra 'P' Standish thought disconsolately as he wandered through the junky flea market the old family 'friends', who were stuck caring for him this time around, frequented. 'Why doesn't Mother ever want me with her? I know there are times that I am helpful to her, but that never seems to matter...'

Sighing with heartfelt misery, the out of place ten-year-old let his discerning gaze sweep over the wares that were so haphazardly displayed. He had nothing better to do, and really it was appalling what people around here were putting out as wares for sale. Caveat Emptor indeed. That and he was bored out of his mind, let alone never been to a flea market before. So why shouldn't he actually pay attention to where he found himself?

'Junk, junk, jun... hold on... wait a minute here, what's this?' A mangled something was tucked into a bin with a bunch of costume jewelry. Mostly a dull greenish black, there were still enough glints of a pure yellow tone glinting through the patina to catch Ezra's eye from the aisle.

Moving closer Ezra could see whatever the misshapen lump had been in the past, that it was a pretty sure thing it had been made out of something close to pure gold. No other metal would have mangled in quite the same way.

Close enough now to actually fish the item out the bin, Ezra did so. He cupped the remains of what he suspected had been a very ornate brooch and examined what was left closely. To his surprise, several of the original gems still seemed to be caught near their settings. One very large diamond in particular jumped to his notice. He couldn't tell the carats or clarity unless he freed it from where it was ensnared and cleaned it, but the little he could see suggested the outcome would be promising. The other gems were varied - sapphires, emeralds, rubies and some smaller diamonds - several sizes and cuts. Again he wouldn't know about them until he had them freed and cleaned, but they too seemed to have potential.

Ezra looked over at the bin that he had taken his prize from, it was labeled 'Costume Jewelry - Bits 'n' Bobs = 25c'. Ezra gaped. Did the fellow running the stand not realize what he had? Then Ezra frowned. Should he tell him? Wouldn't that be the right thing to do? The base metal alone once melted down to ingot form would be worth $25 at least, and that wasn't counting the worth of the gems...

Glumly Ezra decided that was indeed what he would have to do, inform the man running the booth of what he had - to do otherwise would be tantamount to theft. And you never conned or stole from people who couldn't afford to lose the money - that was one rule Maude lived by that Ezra never had any trouble believing in or following.

Decision made Ezra walked the few steps further to where the vendor he needed to talk to was sitting gossiping with the vendor from the neighboring table. He cleared his throat to get their attention, and when he had it held up the mangled 'bob'.

"Sir, I procured this out of your 'Costume Jewelry Bits 'n' Bobs' bin-"

The vendor cut him off. "That'll be a quarter son."

Ezra bit back his admittedly tiny growl of frustration and tried again to tell the vendor what he was losing out on. "No, sir, you don't understand, I wanted to tell you-"

Again the vendor cut him off, "Look, you gonna buy that or not? If not, jes' go and put the durn thang back in case someone else wants it. If'n you do want it, then it's a quarter. Now what's it gonna be boy?"

Ezra gave up. He'd tried to do the right thing, but the man didn't want to hear it. So he did the only sensible thing left for him to do - he fished in his pants pocket for a quarter and paid the vendor the pittance he wanted for his unrealized treasure.

He'd walked away whistling and later on, when he'd gone back to where he was staying at the time, he'd handily broken the remains down to their component parts. Reducing the gold to an ingot, and then cleaning and appraising the gems didn't take him very long. Then when he got around to actually pricing the things a few weeks afterwards, his mouth had fallen open in shock. His 25c investment turned out to be worth somewhere along the lines of $25,000!


Ezra smiled as he came back to himself after his quick mental visit to times gone by. Idly he fingered his custom cufflinks, and then brushed a quick hand over his made to order tie-pin.

Yes, I probably received one of the biggest insights into life in that ratty old flea market. Even in the shabbiest surroundings, and at what appears to be the lowest times of life, there is always the possibility of finding treasure. But only if you keep your eyes and heart open so that you are able to 'see' or 'recognize' it when you literally stumble across it, regardless of how the rest of the world might perceive otherwise.

Again his fingers traced cufflinks he'd had made special, then he disguised the motion by pulling his shirtsleeves down, and otherwise straightening his clothing. Time again to see what lay under the surface, because something always did. He stepped forward into his new life.



If you enjoyed this story, we're sure that Marns would love to hear from you.

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