It was too much for the three kids to reel in. So, he grabbed the pole and heaved until the veins in his neck bulged.
As it breached the waves, he couldn’t believe his eyes. How had something like this ended up on the ocean floor? More than that, would they get in trouble for even touching it?
The final days of summer were crawling in, and Rob Allamy and his wife Patricia wanted one final family outing before their three kids headed off to school.
So, they packed up enough snacks and drinks for the day, piled into their fishing boat, and made for the sapphire-blue waves of the ocean’s horizon.
Rob watched with pride as his kids baited their hooks and cast their lines into the water like any pro. There should have been swordfish biting around there, and he pictured the family photo of them holding one up together.
Afterward, they would toss it on the grill and invite the neighbors over for dinner. There was just one problem.
The only thing that was nibbling were some tilefish – and they weren’t exactly edible. Still, the weather was beautiful, and everyone was having fun.
So, he kissed his wife on the cheek and leaned back to enjoy every precious moment. Suddenly, his youngest girl let out a loud yelp. Her pole twisted and bent.
Whatever was at the end of the line must have been huge! Maybe it was the swordfish they were all hoping for.
His other two kids rushed to help their sister and banded together in a wonderful show of teamwork. But when a hint of canvas appeared under the water, Rob knew it was time to step in.
The ocean was sadly riddled with trash, so finding garbage on their hooks was nothing new. But this duffle bag looked full.
Hopefully there was just clothes and personal items inside – something that had fallen overboard by accident. But it could have been something worse and he didn’t want to take a chance with young eyes watching every moment.
While his wife kept the kids at a distance. Rob slowly pulled at the slimy zipper. His mind immediately snapped to Christmas morning – the family had a tradition of wrapping one gift entirely in packing tape.
The square and rectangular blocks inside were wrapped with similar tape. But whatever lay hidden under the layers of waterproofing certainly wasn’t a gift.
Parts of it felt solid and smooth. Other bundles were lumpy and snapped when you pressed down. His kids started yelling out their guesses like it was a game show, and whoever guessed right could keep the mystery prize.
He peeled back the layers of tape. There was a delicate green pattern with a very recognisable image.
“Money!” his kids yelled, jumping up and down. “Oh my god,” his wife muttered as Rob pulled out huge stacks of 20-dollar bills – so far there was enough to pay off their car.
But that wasn’t all that was inside. It seemed the solid blocks were cash. But what was inside the lumpy ones?
“Honey, call the cops,” Rob said, feeling his heart pound furiously. Inside was a baggie of cut and uncut diamonds. Just one held and entire fist-full – and there were at least 6 more inside the duffle bag.
Suddenly, Rob realized he needed to stop touching it immediately. This was bad.
To the kids, however, it was something amazing. Their youngest started to list all the things she wanted to buy with their “buried treasure.”
Their middle child just started with wide eyes. Their eldest boy looked like his smiled would crack his face. Thankfully, his wife stepped in.
While Rob worried that he had just left fingerprints or contaminated evidence, his wife explained why they couldn’t keep it.
There were moans of disappointment and plenty of begging, but it all disappeared as soon as the ocean authorities showed up with their decked-out boat and full uniforms. The cops took center stage. They also came with good news.
All Rob had to do was give a statement and supply fingerprints for their file – other than that, there was nothing wrong.
The police thanked the family for their find and dropped an exciting hint to the kids – one that even made Rob and his wife go bug-eyed. There was something great coming their way.
The finder’s fee obviously didn’t add up to the two-hundred thousand dollars in cash and who knows how much in diamonds.
But there were enough zeros that it definitely made everyone in the family beam with excitement. It was better than any sword fish. The kids also learned a valuable lesson.
Their youngest wasn’t ready for the entire concept of what was in the bag and why it had probably been thrown away, but everyone got an essential lesson on honesty.
Rob hoped the aftermath of finding the package would be smooth, with one or two phone calls from the police to straighten things out. He didn’t know what kind of trouble was barreling his way.
Summer came to a swift close, and the kids reported to school. Rob and his wife returned to work, everything turning into a busy routine that the family quickly adapted to.
But one afternoon, while at work, Rob received a call that would wither his insides. The worst part of it was that it wasn’t from the cops.
The number was from a private caller, the voice hidden behind a voice changer. The caller wanted to know a few things regarding Rob’s find, including where he and his family had made their lucky find.
Of course, Rob’s first instinct was to call the police immediately. What the caller would reveal about doing such a thing would leave him frozen.
“I know where you work,” the caller reported with a calmness that churned Rob’s stomach. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
He informed the shaking Rob that he was watching him, asking him to remain in his office as they talked. If the caller was watching Rob, what were the odds that he had his eyes on his family as well? What could Rob do but obey?
Rob was in a state of alarm as the caller asked him questions. As he was still in contact with the police, he didn’t want to give out anything valuable and thus beat around the bush when answering.
He offered the general direction where he found the package, knowing the area was still under heavy police surveillance. He hoped the caller would run into them.
The caller ended the call by asking him not to share what they’d talked about with anyone, not even his family. They assured Rob that they were still watching him.
As soon as the line went dead, Rob sprinted out of his office. He didn’t even ask his superiors for a chance to leave the premises, only hopped into his car and screeched out of the parking lot.
Rob’s first destination was his kids’ school. But he Facetimed his wife on the road, knowing such communication couldn’t be tapped into.
“I need you to meet me at the summer house,” he told her. “I am bringing the kids.” He hoped Patricia understood what he meant by “summer house.” Their lives, including their children’s, depended on it.
Over the decades that Rob and his wife had been together, they’d been huge fans of detective shows. They’d joked about buying a safehouse up country that they could visit whenever they had time.
But such a joke would take on a life of itself. They found a secure bunker for sale and pooled their resources, purchasing it. But even Rob knew such a place wouldn’t be enough to protect him. He needed to do more.
Rob and Patricia birthed the summer house protocol, a fancy name they gave a plan that would ensure their safety in case anything went wrong in their state.
The protocol focused on one of Rob’s high school best friends, who was a decorated navy seal. Although the bunker was there, the protocol involved the family flying out to Rob’s friend for shelter. Who would’ve thought such a day would come?
The caller had warned Rob against telling the police about the call. But Rob knew he would have to report the incident soon enough.
He only wanted to ensure that his family was safe, with him far away enough that he wouldn’t bring any danger to him. He only hoped Patricia remembered the details of their summer house protocol.
After handing over the kids, he told Patricia that someone had called him, asking about the package. He asked her to follow through with their safety plan.
Rob would remain in their town and work with the police to find the caller. He trusted his high school buddy with his life and would do everything to ensure his family was far from whatever would happen in their town.
Patricia didn’t object. Stemming back tears and telling the kids they were bound for another vacation, she boarded the next plane out of town.
Rob had already called ahead, telling his friend about everything that had happened. Cody, his navy seal buddy, was happy to watch over his family. “Call me if you need anything else,” he said before ending the call.
With his family safe and sound, Rob drove to the police station and informed them about the caller and their demands. He shook as he talked, hoping the caller compromised no one in the force.
The police asked about his family, to which he said they were safely away. He hoped whatever was happening would come to a swift end.
The police set to tracing the call. They jumped through many hoops, even asking the phone company to reveal the caller’s identity. But no valuable information came forth.
But unknown to them, the caller was already several steps ahead. They watched as Rob drove to the police station and reported everything. Retribution was at hand.
Rob’s phone rang as he was leaving the police station. The caller was disappointed, reminding Rob they’d warned against contacting the police.
On the other hand, Rob was unfazed. He asked the caller to show himself. If they were as powerful as they claimed, why were they hiding behind a hidden caller ID and voice changer?
Rob kept the caller talking. But inside the police station, the force was tracking the call. They narrowed it down to the caller’s location, quietly dispatching a SWAT team to flush them out.
Rob was still on the call when he heard a commotion. The SWAT team had already breached the caller’s residence, finding it was a local drug dealer the station was investigating. Although everything returned to normal for Rob and his family, he knew everyone in his life would undoubtedly label this as a tall tale. Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.