The Next Treasure Dive


Photo credit: MorgueFile 2a4054c7afcb25f354a6cf9709d9b8a5

She was waiting for them when the two men pulled into the sports center’s parking lot in Pitt’s 1948 Model 135 Delahaye. It was a cool, cloudy Sunday in early April and Arvada’s annual kite festival was on the verge of being rained out.

“You sure know how to travel in style, Mr. Pitt.”

The rough-looking man with the salt-and-pepper hair stepped out of the antique car, his companion remaining inside. “You’ve got what we paid for?” He held out his right hand impatiently.

“Of course.” She proffered the aged, yellowed envelope.

The man took it, gently opened the flap, and briefly read the contents. “Yes, this is it. Just a few miles from here.” The adventurer looked up, but the lady in black was already walking away. They had both honored the agreement and now it was time to move on.

“Where to, Dirk?”

Pitt started the engine and backed out of his parking spot.

“You won’t believe it, Al. The Byzantium is hidden at the bottom of Standley Lake.”

“You’re kidding. Westminster is just a few miles from here. The lake’s less than 100 feet deep.”

“Easy retrieval job and America’s missile defense technology advances fifty years. Let’s go.”

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Given the image, I looked up “kite festivals” on Google and came up with the Arvada Kite Festival to be held in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, this coming Sunday, April 8th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Unfortunately, the weather for Arvada this Sunday is predicted to have a 70% chance of rain, so not good flying weather.

I looked up Arvada and found out that among other things, it’s the home of the Cussler Museum of Antique Cars, created by author Clive Cussler.

I read a lot of Cussler’s books back in the day, including Raise the Titanic featuring his primary hero Dirk Pitt, who I assume is Cussler’s alter ego (they share a love of antique car collecting among other things).

Along with his partner Al Giordino, the NUMA Marine Engineer has had many adventures, usually involving sunken ships, lost treasure, high-tech and high adventure.

I thought the kite festival might be a good place for a clandestine meeting between Pitt and a courier, so I set it there. The “Lady in Black” is totally made up for convenience.

The nearest body of water of any size is Standley Lake which is in nearby Westminster and has a maximum depth of 96 feet. There is some Gold Rush history associated with Arvada, and loosely merged with the history behind the lake, I decided that sometime over a century ago, one of the men associated with creating the original reservoir buried what he thought was a fortune of illegally gotten gold there, but died before he could retrieve it (fortunately recording its location in his diary).

Turns out, it was really the element Byzantium (I pulled that from the plot of “Raise the Titanic”) which can be used to develop a defense system that shoots enemy missiles down using sound waves.

Yeah, that’s a lot of research for 200 words, but I had fun.

To read other stories (or to submit your own) based on the prompt, visit (this writing challenge needs some love, so please consider writing a wee tale of your own and submitting it).

8 thoughts on “The Next Treasure Dive

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