tagNon-EroticGold Digger (the pilot)

Gold Digger (the pilot)


Louise awoke the next morning alone in her small bed, as usual. She thought back on her evening with Jerri while she lay in bed. There had been a certain sexual tension between them. If Jerri hadn't acted so aggressive, she might have been convinced to give it a try. Louise had always pushed back against bullies of all kinds. It was part of her family's unique beliefs about fair play.

While she lay there reliving her night on the town, she allowed herself the pleasure of sexual release. She didn't feel any shame in it. Well maybe a little that the trigger for her pleasure had been the hard edged Jerri.

While Louise prepared herself for the day, Ada was already at her computer. She was checking the history of a creek in the mountains. The creek that showed some historical promise ran down the mountain passing within ten miles of the place where miles and Eddie slept.

"What say we pack up and get back to town. Even if we leave now, we are going to have half a day's ride," Miles suggested over his morning coffee.

"I love being in the woods, but I love civilization more," Eddie said.

"I heard that," Miles agreed. "You know this started as a lark. Louise and I were sitting around over pizza discussing how to get rich and still be free. That is how the whole thing started." Miles explained.

"So whose idea was the core samples?" Eddie asked.

"Those were Louise's idea. I would have just gone into the mountains with a gold pan and gotten lost." Miles admitted.

"You seemed to have a lot of faith in Louise," Eddie said.

"Yes I do. Louise it an attractive woman, but she is also a nerd. There is something about her that speaks to me. It says, you can trust me I know what I'm talking about," Miles explained. He grew silent for about five minutes while they were both lost in thought. "So lets get packed up and get the hell back to the scooter and see if it is still there."

The two of them hiked for almost two hours before they found the spot where their gear had been left. Fortunately it all seemed to be as they had left it. The scooter even started on the first try.

While they started on the four hour drive, Jerri left her hotel room for her breakfast meeting with Ada. Jerri really wasn't a fan of breakfast food. She did enjoy eating in the morning, but her taste ran more to deli foods and cold pizza, but she would go along with tradition once in a while.

She had the tiny pocket video recorder going. It was, by necessity, a simple recorder without even a playback screen. She hooked it up to a micro tablet to set the view and the exposure, then put the tablet away while they ate eggs and burned pig flesh. Even the description made Jerri want to vomit.

"So Miss Ada, what do you have planned for me today?" Jerri asked.

"I'm thinking some basic research which will take about fifteen minutes. Then you are going to be on your own," Ada said. "There is really nothing to film."

"Then tell me a little about your background," Jerri demanded.

"I'm well over fifty and other than raising my family, this is the biggest adventure of my life. If we find enough gold to build a base camp, then I might even move there."

"I understand you are a widow, do you mind if I asked what happened to you husband?" Jerri asked.

"Alvin died in a car crash over twenty years ago," Ada said with her eyes lowered.

"I'm so sorry," Jerri said not meaning a word of it. How could she, since she hardly knew the women, and never met her dead husband. Everything she did and said was for the show. She also knew that Ada knew it as well.

The two of them went back to the university where she went on the university network to research one creek from the point it entered the Cape Fear river backward all the way to the blue ridge mountains. As Jerri had expected it was boring shit.

"This is Josh, he is my graduate student and teaching assistant," Ada said when the young black man entered her office.

"Hi, I'm Jerri," she said.

"Josh Edwards," he said.

"Josh are you involved in this research project?" Jerri asked hoping for something to liven up Ada's character.

"No the boss keeps that compartmentalized like everything else here. She never misses a lecture or a faculty luncheon," Josh said.

"At least not yet," Ada added. "But then I don't have gold fever yet."

By lunch Jerri was so bored that she was about at the point of biting the head off a live chicken to add some excitement to the assignment. She finally just gave up and packed her SUV for the long drive back to New York. She had some good video images. Enough to form a character for each of the women.

It didn't matter to her that they were dead wrong, she was going to make them fit the character she was creating on film.

During the drive back to New York she decided that she would portray Louise as the young pretty but nerdish party girl. Ada was going to be the mother figure for the expedition. Strong and a no nonsense matriarch. She knew she had enough videos to manufacture her characters in the editing phase. It was up to Eddie to deliver the meat of the meal, so to speak.

It was almost a full month before the QE2TV response to the video arrived. It arrived in the form of three checks and Short note.

'We haven't got a buyer for the edited material, but it isn't uncommon for it to take a year. Love Silvia.'

Miles passed he note around with the checks. There was no conversation about the note at all. Miles used the Sunday meeting to recap the last month's work. During the first week back he became convinced that they should continue sampling. He wanted to sample both of the creek that the one where the samples were taken, and the same one as before but closer to its origin. The source of both creek was the runoff from the mountains. But there should be a heavier concentration of gold closer to the gold source. The pieces should be larger as well.

The first expedition was to sample both spots. It was going to call for a twenty mile hike up the creek, if he had to walk from the site where he and Eddie had found the gold in the sample.

I think I can help with that. I can go on the University network and pull some satellite images and coordinates from the geological survey a couple of years ago. It will at least tell you were the shallow fast running water was on the day of the survey. I don't think the topography will have changed any since.

We can overlay some county maps and get you as close as possible to the rapids. You will have to hike in a few miles but it might save you a few miles as well.

"You know that me and the moonshiners are looking at the same water. I don't think they will be giving me any welcome parties," Miles said.

"That's why you do the exploration, you have the bigger balls," Louise said. "Both of those creeks are most likely spring feed as well as fed by rain water run off. The spring rains would account for the gold flakes. The flooding most likely washed the gold over the obstacles which had held it trapped. The gold would then wash down to the next obstacle and finally out to sea," Louise explained.

"Lets start with the first running water near the head of the stream, then move down it, skipping every over one," Miles suggested

"You are the explorer I will get you the coordinates tomorrow," Ada said. "On another note, I thought for sure someone would gobble up the pilot." Louise said.

"Why because of the way Jerri looked at you," Ada said. There was just a hint of claw and fang in her voice.

"No because the group is interesting as hell, and Miles is so photogenic." Louise said in defense of her position.

"Jerri tried to get you into bed? Why am I just hearing about this now?" Miles asked.

"You weren't supposed to hear about it at all. Jerri told Ada on the last day when she was bored. She was trying to work some drama into the script. You know coming out is all the thing these days, only with me there is nothing to come out about," Louise said.

"Okay, so we have a plan and it doesn't include Louise's sex life. So lets go to lunch and call it a week. Oh, there was a DVD of the pilot, if anyone wants to see it?" Miles asked.

"Have you seen it," Ada asked.

"No one on the team has seen it. So do you want to run it and ruin your lunch, or pass it around to watch in private?" Miles asked.

"Cut the drama and just run the damn think," Ada said.

"Louise is that what you want?" Miles asked.

"Sure if we were willing for the whole world to see it, we might as well watch it ourselves," she said.

"Okay settle back for an hour of garbage. Remember it's all their idea of what we do, not what we really do," Miles suggested.

"For God's sake just run the damn thing," Ada repeated.

Miles put the DVD in the Computer on the desk Ada used. That computer was the only modern one in the house. She brought it over when she bought herself a new computer. Ada bought a new computer after the signing of the contracts. It was before the checks arrived. She was the only one who had faith in the QE2 crew.

"Anybody want more coffee?" Miles asked as he walked to the kitchen.

"Damn it Miles, stop stalling," Louise said.

Miles grabbed a can of coke from the refrigerator then pulled up a chair behind the two women. The blank computer screen changed to an image of the three of them standing around the stealth scooter. It switched to an image of Miles standing in the creek at the first site. "It isn't about the gold, though I would love to be rich as ten foot up a horse's ass," Miles said to the camera.

"They didn't bleep that out?" Miles asked. "Oh shit I hope they bleeped out the really bad shit Louise says,"

"It's about being outdoors and being free," Miles' voice ran behind his picture.

The picture changed to Louise holding a rock hammer. "I guess they didn't want an image of me pouring over maps." She said before the voice over started.

"Of course it's about the money, by how often does a grad student get to do meaningful research. Research that lead to a positive event in the real world. That is really good looking shit on a resume."

"That's not to bad, but I don't remember saying it." Louise said.

Finally there was Ada. "Why am I always last?" Ada said before the voice over started.

"I love History and my purpose with the team, is to search the historical data to find the best places to dig for lost gold. None of us expect to get rich from the gold. Hell we all expect to be big TV stars," she said with a grin.

To everyone's surprise, except maybe Miles, there was a shot of Eddie and Jerri holding large cameras. Of course neither Miles nor anyone else had ever seen those particular cameras.

The narrator's voice ran over the shot of the camera people. "It's time to stop pretending the reality actors don't know they are being filmed. Of course they know and of course they interact with the camera person, so we acknowledge it right up front."

Gold Diggers the legend ran over a still shot of the group including camera people made with a timers. The photoshopping was flawless everyone looked pleasant enough.

Then the show began. No one said much while Miles pounded the core drill into the rocks. "No matter what the others tell you, this is the real thing. Out here in the wild with a rock and a piece of sharpened steel pipe. These core samples, Louise tells me, are the scientific approach. If it were the old days it would just be me and a gold pan. I guess in some ways, I would rather do it that way. According to Louise, this way we get a useful sample of the indicators, even if there is no gold in the sample.

Me I'd rather ask the old people in the community center's adult day care where the gold is." The final shot in that sequence was Miles putting the sample in the pill bottle then reading the GPS locator and putting the coordinates on the label.

They switched to shot to Louise. She was unpacking a sample and carefully scraping it onto slices to be analyzed.

"It is my job to test the core for gold of course, but just as important, I test and identify all the material in the samples. The mountain creek system is the road the minerals use to make their way to the Atlantic Ocean.

These samples come from the most likely spots along the creek. Actually that isn't true. The come from the most likely spot accessible to my Uncle Miles. There might be other spots that aren't accessible. Those we are going to explore when we narrow the search. I am working not to narrow it down for Uncle Miles."

The introductory shot of Ada was an interview at her desk where she talked to the camera. Jerri's voice had been edited out. "Well my area of expertise is in historical mapping. I do pure research then transfer it to real world applications. This project is fun for me since I get to see the results of my mapping. Louise and I combine our two maps of the area to pinpoint the most likely spot to dig. Miles said we throw chicken bones like a couple of witch doctors, and he may prove to be right. It's the best we can do."

The next scene was Miles again. Sitting by the campfire and talking to the camera. "This whole summer has been dedicated to finding the best place too seriously dig for gold." The scene switched to Miles and his make shift sluice. "I use this half ass gold trap because I didn't want to pack in a gold pan. I probably should have packing in a small pan instead."

The scene was Miles washing sand and cursing for a while. Miles couldn't really remember the sequence of events. He knew the pitching of the miner's tent was the night before he finally found the one flake of gold.

They had completely edited out the night in the primitive camp site. They did show the cold camp the night after the find. They even showed the hike out with one gold flake.

They obviously were holding out the speech about being careful. Not careful to avoid snake but careful to avoid law enforcement, landowners, and moonshiners. He supposed that would come later. They had to have something for the future episodes.

Overall Louise was depicted as a nerdy geology Grad student. There were a couple of sequences of her with the fancy equipment doing her scientific stuff.

Jerri actually was shown with her as they went to dinner and then clubbing. There were shots of Louise drinking and dancing with Jerri.

There was a strong hint of Louise being bi sexual, at least to Miles' warped mind it seemed that way.

"Well that was certainly not flattering," Louise said. "She makes me look like a flake."

"In all honesty that might be my fault. I suggested that they try to make us less one dimensional. The is a docudrama, so there has to be some drama," Miles said.

"Did you suggest she make me look like a lesbian?" Louise asked seriously.

"Of course not and you don't come off that way. What isn't fair was how she made it look as if you party a hell of a lot more than you really do."

"I'm afraid to see what they did to me," Ada said.

"You don't get to watch them mistreat us and walk away woman. You have to take your lumps as well," Miles said.

Ada's first film sequence was sitting at the computer screen when she got a phone call supposedly from Miles. Miles recognized it as a call he made early on. In that call he had asked her to try to limit her research to the mountain streams. The sequence was her end of the conversation.

She rolled away from the computer and everything about her body language was combative. If it had been the way she looked when she spoke to him in person, he would have found a way to cut her loose immediately.

"I go where the research leads me. When the map is done all gold discoveries will be mapped from the first to the last, but in order of creek not the time line, that you will need to work out for yourself."

Miles remembered the conversation, but not at all like it sounded on the show. Ada appeared to be adamant and demanding on the tape, but not nearly so intrenched in her thinking in real life. He remembered her asking if he would like the data listed by date or location. But again it was a docudrama.

"Well it seems to be harmless enough," Miles said.

"I'm sure it does to you. You came off looking like some kind of hero figure, while Louise and I came off as trolls," Ada said.

"You know they need the drama or no one is going to watch the show," Miles said. The last bits of the show were interview with Eddie and Jerri. Those interviews were damning. Jerri laid out the course for the women in the show to any perspective buyers and Eddie told how difficult and opinionated Miles was. "He is going to be hard to work with. Of course those are just challenges to be worked out." The tape ended there.

"Just for the record I am not a lesbian, nor am I bisexual," Louise said defiantly.

"We know that honey. Don't worry they make a hundred pilots for every one that is sold. So lets concentrate on the gold and forget the bullshit," Miles said.

"Easy for you to say, but yes that is what we need to do." Ada said. She went on with it. "Louise and I have a map of the area where we want you to dig again and move on from there."

"I didn't really mine the area I was in before. It was more a scouting mission," Miles said. "I would like to set up and mine that creek."

"Before you go higher on the mountain where the work is going to harder and more dangerous, just scout two more creeks at the base of the mountains. You have not been on either of them. They flow to rivers that eventually end at the Gulf of Mexico."

Can we hold off till spring? Winter come early in the mountains and I'm no where near ready for winter camping."

"We really need the data so that we have something to work on over the winter," Louise suggested.

"All right but Ada you need to call your friends at QE2 and let them know we are moving along without them. They are going to be missing things which they can never reproduce later. Hell tell them not to even bother with coming back till spring, if they want to continue." Miles said.

"I will not tell them not too come back," she said. "I will tell her what we have planned. Since the news is so sketchy, I will explain that we won't wait for them."

"Okay that is reasonable. So do you think you can have the data map ready so that I can leave Monday morning?" Miles asked.

"Yes it's almost ready now. Monday isn't going to be a problem," She said.

"Understand, this is all historical data, none of it is more than second hand accounts, of even more second hand accounts. There is almost no geological evidence available," Louise said.

"I guess that is why I'm going," Miles said with a laugh.

"If you leave Monday you should be home by the next weekend. The sites we chose are accessible by road. Well they are almost accessible by road. Just a short hike into the streams, I think," Ada said.

"I think I will leave on Tuesday, So if you would bring me the Information tomorrow, I will be packed and ready to leave first thing Tuesday morning." Miles said.

"Sure the maps are ready, we can print them out and have it ready tomorrow night. I'll bring them home with me from the university," Louise said. She acted as the unofficial courier most days. Ada's office was the repository for work in progress.

For Miles Sunday lunch was a pimento cheese sandwich and a bag of chips after the meeting broke up. He and Ada were planning dinner that night to discuss her pending call to QE2TV.

By 7PM he was showered and dressed. "You are not wearing that," Louise said. Usually it would have been a question, but her voice was more that of a mother correcting an errant preteen.

"What's wrong with it?" Miles asked.

"Let's see the jeans are ragged, The shirt is stained and your shoes are a mess," Louise said. "I don't even want to know about the underwear. Go right back into your bedroom and find something else."

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