Chapter 4: The Second Investigation
The jungle was quite an eerie place at night. During the day, one would hear the constant chattering of Grinders in the trees, or the squawking of Goonie birds flying overhead. However, nighttime was quite the opposite: no chattering Grinders, no squawking Goonies, no sound of any sort, save for the chirping of crickets and the sound of the footsteps of our two heroes trudging through the dark, dense jungle.
While walking, Boshi was unable to see clearly through the darkness ahead. He suddenly felt the trunk of a tree abruptly rising to meet his nose. He stopped, slightly dazed, then took four more steps forward, bumping into another tree. He mumbled something under his breath, then tried to catch up with Yoshi. “We should’ve brought some sort of light…” he said. “I can hardly see what’s in front of me…”
“Well, did you ever think that wearing shades in the dark isn’t a smart idea?” Yoshi chuckled.
Boshi groaned. “The shades stay on,” he said, moving his shades down slightly to be able to see over them. “Not once have these babies ever left my face.”
“Oh really? I’m pretty sure they did when that guy threw a rock at you a few days ago.”
“… That… never… happened…”
“Sure, sure, whatever you say…”
The two pressed on, continuing to bicker about Boshi’s shades and other random things. The two often joked around with each other. Whether it be in a just-for-laughs or a sarcastic manner, it was all in friendly fire.
The bickering ceased momentarily when Boshi noticed something, sniffing the air for a few seconds. “The air smells slightly cleaner at night than during the day, don’t you think?”
Yoshi took a sniff as well, then spoke to Boshi. “I guess it’s not as bad,” he said, taking another sniff. “But I can still catch a whiff of that exhaust hanging in the air… Those workers have been here for quite a few days, after all…”
“How long do you think those guys run those bulldozer things each day?”
“… I’m not sure really… Probably all day until sundown for that smell to become this nasty. Yesterday that smell was practically piercing through our masks.”
“Tell me about it. I feel sorry for Kroshi; his mask got ripped.”
“Well, we had extras, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, but before he got that extra, he could hardly-”
Yoshi put his hand up to signal Boshi to stop talking. “Shhh,” said Yoshi, pointing ahead. There was the large clearing where all the construction had begun days before. Bulldozers and other machines were parked all around the area. Next to the nearby river were several tents, where the workers slept each night. Across the area from the Yoshis was a trailer, and in the center of the area was a structure of metal bars.
The two Yoshis crept low into the bushes just before the clearing. “Looks like everyone here has turned in for the night,” Yoshi said. “This is our chance to finally find out exactly what’s going on.”
“Well, where do we start?” Boshi asked.
“Well, that big stack of bars over there would be a good place to start…”
“… What is that thing, anyway? It wasn’t there when we first came here…”
“Boss T’s men probably spent the last few days putting it together. Come on, Bosh. Let’s get a closer look, and stay quiet…” Yoshi was about to move ahead, when he noticed a light coming near them. “Duck!”
Yoshi and Boshi quickly ducked back into the bushes, moments before the light passed over. The two slowly peered through the brush to see a few men walking around with flashlights. Yoshi took a breath. “Looks like a few of Boss T’s men are on guard duty.”
“Dang…” said Boshi. “How’d he know we were coming?”
“I don’t think he knew. They’re probably on guard for any creatures who might accidentally walk onto the scene.”
“You mean like us?”
“This isn’t accidental on our part, but close…” Yoshi took a good look at the guard closest to them, the one who had just passed by. The man (Koopa) held a flashlight in his right hand, and something else in the other. He couldn’t quite tell what the object was from a distance, however.
A mobile crane was parked ahead of them. Yoshi saw this as their chance. He motioned Boshi to follow him. Boshi did so. The two quickly scuttled up to the crane and hid in its shadows. They suddenly saw a light coming from the left, and ducked in a fright as the guard walked past. This time, while the guard was up close by, Yoshi could get a good view of what was in the guard’s left hand, and he was far past shocked to see that the worker was holding a hunting rifle!
Yoshi was breathing heavily. Boshi had seen this as well, and though he tried hard not to show any fear, he was shaking and sweating heavily. He spoke in a shaking voice. “… Talk about relentless… I hope the Grinders here don’t become too curious…”
“Most of them moved from this area…“ said Yoshi. “You saw how many there were back near the village. They should be fine… I hope…”
“Yosh, let’s just try to pretend we didn’t see what we saw just now. Besides, I really want to know what these guys are building here.”
Yoshi took a deep breath, then nodded. He peered around the crane to see if the coast was clear. When he was sure it was, he and Boshi darted for the next parked bulldozer. They ran past another guard, whose back was turned. He stopped when he heard a noise behind him, and swung around, aiming his gun. Nothing was there. The guard raised a brow, then continued patrolling the area.
After hiding behind the dozer for the moment, Yoshi and Boshi ran across, going under the metal structure and stopping behind another crane, close to the structure. Yoshi and Boshi gazed up at the hodge-podge of steel. The structure reached to about twenty feet in the air. It was supported by a concrete base on the ground. In the very center of the concrete base was a wide pipe segment sticking up from the ground. “Wow… That thing is pretty tall…” Boshi remarked.
“Mm-hm,” agreed Yoshi. He examined it further. “… It still looks incomplete, though…”
“Well, what would the whole thing look like?” Boshi asked.
“I think we might find the answer… in there…” Yoshi replied, pointing to the trailer ahead. A flickering light could be seen in the windows of the trailer. Once the coast was clear, the two dashed ahead, narrowly avoiding a guard’s flashlight radius, then ducked behind a cement truck. After a few seconds, Yoshi and Boshi slowly crept toward the trailer and hid behind it. Voices could be heard coming from within the trailer. Yoshi and Boshi listened carefully, and recognized the voices of Boss T. and Ricky as they were heard discussing something.
“It says the pipe is supposed to go down at least three-hundred feet. Are you sure you drilled deep enough?” (Boss T.)
“Well, I think so. We won’t know for sure until the pumping process.” (Ricky)
“Which doesn’t happen until the derrick is complete. You know I’m not a very patient person…”
“… Yes… um… I’m aware of that… Anyway, sir, what do we start on tomorrow?”
“We’ll finish the structure itself, adding the rest of the pipe and the supports. The pumping mechanisms will be the last thing we take care of.”
“Sir, I’m curious, but what if we don’t end up hitting a gusher? What if the whole plan is all for nothing?”
“Ricky, my boy, there are other roads to wealth as well. I happen to have a backup plan if all else fails.”
Outside, Yoshi and Boshi continued to overhear the conversation. Boshi was more than confused over what he was hearing. “Yosh, what’s all this about pumping? What’s a derrick?”
“Hmm…” Yoshi pondered. “I do have a hunch… but I’m not entirely sure. We need to get inside somehow… Now how do we do it?”
“Leave that to me,” Boshi said with a smirk. Yoshi rolled his eyes, wondering what Boshi would do. He would often get a bad feeling when Boshi said ‘leave it to me’. Yoshi shrugged. “All right…” Yoshi said. “But no direct approaching, okay?”
“Who needs the stupid direct approach?” Boshi mused. “Watch this.” Boshi searched across the ground until he found a stone. He picked at up, then snuck around to the front of the trailer. He looked around to make sure none of the guards could see him, then swiftly threw the rock at the trailer window, breaking it. Boshi ducked underneath the trailer as yells were heard.
“Ow! What the…?!”
Boss T. burst through the door to his trailer, rubbing a bruise on his head and angrily glancing around at the guards in the area. Ricky came out as well, with a glass-cut on his nose. “ALL RIGHT!!!” Boss T. bellowed. “WHO’S THE JOKER WHO SMASHED MY WINDOW?!”
The guards nearby jumped, some of them backing up in fear. From what they knew, none of them had done a thing.
“… Um… sir?” one guard (Toad) said. “None of us was anywhere near your trailer.”
“Don’t toy with me! One of you guys threw this at my window and hit me in the head with it!” Boss T. held up Boshi’s rock. “And I want to know who’s responsible, NOW!”
Under the trailer, Boshi couldn’t help but laugh at Boss T’s reaction, though he remembered to silence his laugh by covering his hands with his mouth. He slowly crawled out from under the trailer and walked around to the side, where Yoshi had seen everything. Yoshi sighed and shook his head. “Boshi…”
“Aw, come on, pal,” Boshi whispered, still chuckling. “You gotta admit that was hilarious.”
“… Eh… I guess that was pretty funny,” Yoshi said, chuckling slightly. “But let’s get serious. Now’s our chance while Boss T. is occupied.” Boshi nodded, and the two entered the trailer as Boss T. continued to yell at the guards.
The trailer was quite cramped. There was a small fridge on the wall, and a microwave across from it. At the back of the trailer was a small bed along the wall, and next to the bed was a small table with a lit candle, a blue piece of paper, and shattered glass lying on it.
“… There’s nothing in here… “ said Boshi. “Shoot… All that for nothing…”
“No…” Yoshi said. “Search the place. We might just learn something new… Oh, and don’t stand in front of any windows. We don’t want the guys outside to see us.”
Yoshi and Boshi looked in every place they could in the trailer. Boshi opened the fridge. He didn’t find anything of importance to their task. However, he did find a drink bottle with a picture of apples on it. He curiously picked it up, then stared at it.
“Hey Boshi, look at this,” Yoshi whispered.
Boshi walked over, biting on the bottle to get to the refreshing-looking drink inside. He finally popped the bottle cap off, then drank. The taste was quite a surprise. “Hey… Tastes like apples.”
“Gee… I can’t imagine why,” Yoshi said sarcastically. Of course, on Yoshi’s Island, drinks were not bottled, so Boshi wouldn’t have known how to open the bottle properly. Yoshi cleared the pieces of glass off the table, though cutting his finger in the process. The blue sheet of paper was lying underneath the glass. Once Yoshi had cleared the glass off, he held up the sheet, and he and Boshi examined it.
A diagram of something was drawn in the white on the blue paper. Yoshi continued to examine it. “It looks like some sort of… blueprints for something.”
“Blueprints?” Boshi asked.
“Blueprints are a drawing of something you’re trying to build. People use these to determine the appearance of their project, then they build exactly the same thing as what’s on the blueprints.” Yoshi looked at the drawing, which was of a tall-looking structure. Yoshi then looked out of the window at the seemingly unfinished structure outside. The structure seemed to be the bottom part of the object drawn on the blueprints, and the blueprints seemed to be the predicted finished product of what was to be built outside. Yoshi stared at the blueprints again, trying to see if he could reflect this about things he had seen in the past in the Mushroom World. Then, he remembered the conversation between Boss T. and Ricky. Drilling, pumps, derrick… he was finally able to put it all together. “… In this case,” Yoshi said to Boshi, “these are blueprints for an oil derrick.”
“Oil derrick?” Boshi asked.
“It’s a tower that pumps oil out of the ground.”
“So there’s actually oil underground?
“I don’t know. And I don’t think Boss T. knows for sure—”
“Shhh!” Boshi covered Yoshi’s mouth, as they heard voices getting louder and louder, coming closer and closer to the trailer.
“Aah! Forget the dang window. We have more important matters to discuss. Besides, none of the guards want to own up.”
Yoshi and Boshi jumped as they heard Boss T. coming back to the trailer! Yoshi quickly blew the candle out, making the inside of the trailer pitch black. The two ducked onto the floor in the darkness.
Boss T. re-entered the trailer, followed by Ricky, who closed the door back. “Idiots…” Boss T. remarked. “I haven’t time for this nonsense. Anyway, back to the… Oh… great… The wind must’ve blown out the candle. Ricky, find the matches.”
“But I can’t see…”
“I don’t care. I’ll help you, okay?”
The two walked aimlessly around in the trailer, bumping into objects and each other. While walking, Ricky felt his shoe hit something on the floor as he took another step, nearly tripping. “Sir… Did your floor suddenly get lumpy?”
“We’ll look at it once we find the matches… Aha, here they are! Now where’s the candle?”
“It should be on the table.”
“I know, but I obviously can’t see the table…” Boss T. bumped into something. “Oh, there it is…” Moments before he struck the match, a banging and stomping noise was heard. As Boss T. lit the candle again, he could see that the blueprints were slightly more wrinkled than before, and the door had mysteriously burst back open. Boss T. raised a brow. “… These tricks are beginning to annoy me…” he muttered. “And why are the blueprints all wrinkled?”
“Um… The wind again?” Ricky asked.
“… That’s one naughty wind…” Boss T. remarked. “Excuse me while I grab a quick drink. Yelling at your crew can really give you a headache.” He walked over to the fridge to grab some refreshments. However, when he opened the fridge, his temper immediately flared up again. “Ricky! Where’s my apple juice?!”
Yoshi and Boshi (who had a shoeprint on his snout) had already snuck all the way back to the edge of the clearing, unseen by anybody. They panted heavily as they stopped to take a breather in the bushes. “Phew…” Boshi remarked. “That could’ve ended badly…”
“Well,” said Yoshi, “at least now we know what’s going on. These people are digging for oil.”
“But why here, of all places? The jungle just isn’t a happy place to be anymore, especially for the Grinders…”
“Boshi, something will have to be done before it’s too late…”
“But what can we do? They all have guns…”
“I’m… not sure, Boshi… I guess we’ll just be spending the next few days trying to set up a good plan… um… What happened to your face?”
“Ricky stepped on my nose…”
“Oh… As I was saying, let’s go. We’ll need to really think of a good way to stop this… Even if Boss T’s plans don’t have anything to do with us Yoshis, so he says, I don’t think the village, or the Grinders, or anything else will be completely safe anymore with these guys on the island…”
With that the two headed back. As they left, Boshi remembered something. “After all that, I still haven’t figured out what ee-con-noh-mee means…”
“But sir!” a guard (Koopa) said nervously. “Honest, we didn’t take your juice!”
“You can cut your act of innocence!” Boss T. roared. “First one of you breaks my window, and now one of you breaks into my trailer and steals my drink, and I’m going to find out who the prankster is, even if I have to—”
“Sir?” another guard (Toad) called from afar. Boss T. and the other men looked in that direction. “You should come look at this.”
Boss T. sighed, then turned back to the men. “I’ll get back to you…” he said. He then headed off to the guard who had called him. “All right,” Boss T. said upon reaching the guard. “What is it you wanted me to see? Is it my empty apple juice bottle?”
“No, sir,” said the guard. “And I didn’t take it either, but check this out.” The guard pointed his flashlight at the ground, and there in the light were two trails of footprints. One set of footprints seemed to be a large shoe-size, larger than that of Boss T. or any of the workers, though slightly smaller than Ricky’s. The other set of footprints had three-toed feet. Boss T. stared at this for a moment, then finally realized what was going on.
The rest of the guards came up to the scene. Boss T. turned to them. “I want you all to be on high alert each night from now on until the project is complete,” he said to them. “And do make sure those rifles are fully loaded.”