[The Hilarious Adventures Continue] Excerpt from ‘Miner Altercations’ – by Jon Ardeman

To order a copy of “Miner Altercations” which would make an excellent Christmas gift for any Geologist/ Mining/Explorationist: http://amzn.to/2Ap0Zo3

Since graduating Jon Ardeman’s geological career has been in many guises; in exploration, mining, consultancy, conservation and research. He has worked as a National Park guide, a nature warden looking after tadpoles and orchids, as a researcher digging up cow shed floors looking for Ordovician brachiopods and preparing dinosaur bones for a museum display. Enthused by these experiences, Jon sought further adventures, and headed to Africa where he worked as a geologist on various mines for more than a decade.

He returned to university and after a few years of academic research and consultancy, Jon went back to mining and precious metal exploration. His travels have taken him from the Arctic to the Equator, from North America and Siberia, to Europe, Australia, Asia and back to Africa.

During this time, Jon wrote several “mystery and imagination” short stories for magazines and competitions, but his inspiration for a first novel ‘Miner Indiscretions’ came from get-togethers with fellow prospectors and miners; with the story embellished by imagination, cold beer, a hint of the supernatural and – of course – dreams of African gold! The author is married with several children and now resides in Hertfordshire, England.

Overview

The second in the MINER series of the picaresque adventures of Timothy, a young mining geologist working on the remote Yellow Snake Gold Mine in Southern Africa. After staving off the closure of the ageing Mine with the discovery of a rich new gold deposit, Timothy and the Mine’s eccentric employees look forward to returning to their devious old ways. And yet success, even in the mining industry, can bring its own challenges. Just as their luck seemed to have changed, the Yellow Snake Mine team are forced to dig deep again.

This time they must fight off the multinational Heyt Corporation’s attempts to take over the revitalised mine and use its wily employees to perpetrate a major international mining scam. From the hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal, to Zanzibar’s ancient streets and Indonesia’s tropical island forests; big troubles are stirring. It might mean more violence, skulduggery, sex and supernatural interference than before, but can Timothy still manage to come out on top?

Excerpt 1

The London mist turned to drizzle and the young woman pulled her coat collar tighter. She shuddered. How had it come to this? She headed along the cobbled road, the sound of her footsteps echoing back from the dead-eyed buildings. The place seemed deserted. She was about to turn back when she noticed a light flickering in an alcove beneath a bridge.

‘Hello?’ she called out, nervously. There was no reply. She inched forward, peering into the cavernous concrete arches. ‘Hello? Is there anyone there?’

As she drew closer, she could see the light was coming from a makeshift brazier. ‘Daddy, it’s me, Helen! Are you there? Daddy – answer me!’

At her feet, a bundle of filthy rags slowly raised up from beneath a pile of mildewed cardboard. The apparition coughed loudly before grunting: ‘What?’ ‘Daddy? It’s me, Helen – your daughter. Don’t you recognise me?’

‘Of course. What are you doing here?’ ‘I came to find out what you are doing here.’ He lumbered to his feet and cried out: ‘You know why!’ He raised his eyes to the heavens and started cursing loudly, ranting against his misfortune.

‘There was I, Aristide Kipling Fulbright, doyen of mining consultants, founder of Universal Coleus Consulting, internationally respected advisor. And now? Now, they all call me Mad Hatter ‘Arry!’ ‘You’re exaggerating, Daddy!’

He pointed over to the London skyline: ‘No I’m not! Every one of them; every smarmy city broker, every engineer, metallurgist and geologist in the mining industry, even the piss-willy junior analysts – they all know why I am here!’

He gesticulated wildly, sending shadows from the firelight leaping across the grey walls. He pointed at his daughter. ‘And you; who I made in my own image; you know exactly how I ended up here!’

‘You weren’t the only affected,’ Helen said bitterly. ‘I went from being known as “Business Woman of the Year, Helen of Troy Ounces” to “that stupid bitch, Helen of Troy Denounces”. We made a miscalculation…’

‘A miscalculation?’ Fulbright queried. ‘It was just a simple mistake? Oh, that’s all it was! Nobody will mind then; so I can say “sorry” and return to my Kensington apartment, my cottage in Provence, my yacht in Bermuda and my offices in the City! All is forgiven then, is it?!’

‘Don’t shout, Daddy. I know you were in the Amateur Dramatic Society, but there’s no need to turn it into a melodrama!’

The old man slumped back onto the pile of cardboard and held his head in his hands. ‘Drama? It’s curtains for me! At least you could move back in with your mother for a while. Me? I’ve lost everything!’

‘For heaven’s sake, Daddy, calm down!’ ‘How can I stay calm? It was all because of those swines on the Yellow Snake Mine in South Africa! I was convinced they couldn’t possibly mine the amount of gold they had forecast; it wasn’t humanly possible!’

‘I know, we contracted for a bear sale on their shares, short selling the mine stock,’ Helen said, remembering the fateful gamble.

‘It was after that devious dog, Sir Lawrence, blackmailed us! We couldn’t report on the massive fraud we had discovered when they falsified the gold content. But with all the inside information we had; it would have been a crime to miss out on the opportunity when the mine inevitably collapsed,’ he sobbed. ‘A chance in a lifetime; we should have made a fortune!’

Helen gently put an arm around her father, firmly enough to offer an illusion of comfort, but not so tightly that any dirt might rub off on her clothes.

‘Daddy, like I say, it was an honest mistake…’

‘It wasn’t a mistake! Those cunning bastards on the Yellow Snake Mine shafted us. That crumbling pit could never make the gold production in a thousand years! But that bunch of conniving, thieving misfits went and found a whole new gold deposit – what were the chances?’

‘I know Daddy; it’s so unjust.’ ‘I had to sell everything I owned I to meet the sale contract. Even then it wasn’t enough,’ he wailed. ‘Your mother threw me out; and then my mistress changed the locks on the Parisian apartment I bought for her. They all hate me. Even the dog bit my arse on my way out. And that bitch was the runner up in the Crufts’ Obedience category last year! It’s all gone; gone forever.’

‘That’s what I came to see you about, Daddy,’ Helen said. ‘I think I’ve found a way to regain our losses.’ Still, what do ex-consultants know about the future?

To order a copy of  Joh Ardeman’s first book in this hilarious series “Miner Indiscretions”: http://amzn.to/2hMreNl

Reproduced with permission of Jon Ardeman. For other information on Jon Ardeman’s books, geology and odd observations: https://www.facebook.com/jon.t.ardeman

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