They watch as the men scoop their pans into the stream and bring them out again. When the pan comes up empty, there are cries of disappointment, but when they contain nuggets of gold, shouts of joy go up from the miners. This is truly a new sight for Walt, Daniel and Kerry -- a page out of history indeed. They watch with interest as the men bring up pan after pan.
Finally, one of the men turns to the three visitors and says "Say! I’ll bet you fellows would really enjoy th' shindig over t' th' saloon tonight."
"Saloon?" The three look around, wondering where there could be a saloon in this wilderness.
"At th' town, just over that thar hill," the man explains.
"And--Ah-what's a shindig?" asks Daniel.
“What’s a shindig?” echoes another man, laughing.
"You’ll find out." answers the first man, smiling from ear to ear. "Just be there."
Walt looks at the other two. "Whata y' say fellows?"
"Well, it may give us a chance to learn more about this culture before we move on."
Having obtained the necessary directions for reaching the town and the saloon, as well as, due to Kerry’s thoughtfulness, a hotel, the three return to the cylinder to work on the new coordinate settings and to try to establish radio contact with home base before getting ready to attend the shindig.
In a few minutes, Walt and Daniel have the new coordinates settings figured out. As they are finishing, Kerry turns on the communicator and begins to turn the dials. There is a loud whirling sound and then silence. Having finished the calculations, Daniel goes to the mike and begins talking. At first, there is nothing but static. Then, they hear a soft buzzing noise. Suddenly, the buzz becomes louder. At last a voice is heard. It is a bit muffled, but clear enough to be recognized as that of John.
"This is KRXQ20 reading you loud and clear. Say! How’re you fellows doing?"
"We’re doing just fine, John," replies Daniel. "Reading you fairly clear--just a bit muffled."
"Got any idea where you are?"
"We sure do. We’re right in the middle of the California gold rush of 1849."
"Hmm! Only 140 years. Wonder how far you’ll get next time. Well, I guess we’ll find that out soon. Anyway, did you learn anything new?"
"Not really, although it was interesting to see them pan for gold.”
Walt takes the mike now. "But we’ve been invited out tonight to big affair at the local saloon. They call it a shindig. Ever hear the term before?"
Now Mark Lewis’ voice comes booming across the airway. "'Shindig'? Yeah, let’s see--it’s an archaic term for a wild party, if I remember right."
"Well, we thought we’d go and see if we could learn anything more about this culture before we try to move on--I mean, if you don’t mind."
John’s voice comes back. "Just as long as you take-off as soon as possible afterward--like first thing tomorrow morning."
"And," adds Mark, "do be careful. We don’t want any problems."
"Don’t worry," assures Walt. "We’re only going to observe."
Now John’s voice is heard again. "How’s the cylinder holding up?"
"We lost a few tiles on the outer layer as expected. We’ll have to replace them before we move on. It won’t take long. We can do it first thing in the morning and then be off. We thought we might find a room in the town for tonight. This capsule’s kinda cramped. Keep on this frequency and we’ll get back with you when we’re ready to leave tomorrow. This is Walt Bryant with Daniel Cohen and Kerry Nadine in California of 1849, signing off for now."
"Alright! We’ll be waiting to hear from you guys tomorrow morning. This is John Sterghean in the 21st century. So long."
Mark’s voice comes over the speaker again. "Now you fellows be sure to be careful at that shindig! See y' tomorrow. This is Mark Lewis. Over and out."
The communicator is silent once more. Another miracle of modern technology has been tested--the ability to transmit and receive radio signals not only through space, but through time as well.
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