She came home with three goose eggs.
“Who gave them to you?” I asked, marvelling at their size and admiring the whiteness of the shells.
“A woman who keeps a flock of geese.”
“That’s what’s nice about working in a country dorp like Riviersonderend,’ I said. “You never know when somebody with a flock of geese is going to come in and make you a present of three of these beauties. Are we going to eat them?”
She scrambled them the following evening and we had them on noodles embellished with flaked chicken and gravy left over from Sunday. Carrots and broccoli added colour, not to mention vitamins, minerals, fibre and anti-oxidants.
“Very good,” I said. “Excellent, in fact. Just like chicken egg, only more wholesome and fresh tasting.”
At some point towards the end of the meal I said that this reminded me of the idiot who killed the goose that laid the golden egg.
“I wonder what a goose egg made of gold would be worth?”
“A lot,” she said. “We could work it out, roughly.”
“We should have weighed an egg beforehand.”
“No,” she said. “What we need is the volume of the egg and the specific gravity of gold.”
I got up and fished out two matching halves from the compost bowl, filled them under the tap, and tipped the water into a measuring jug.
“Just over a hundred mills,” I said, returning to the table. “What’s the SG of gold? Can you remember?”
“No, we’ll have to look it up.”
I sighed. The only vaguely helpful looking book amongst the clutter on the table was her old Pharmacopoeia.
“Try Martindale,” I said.
“Not here,” she said after a while. “You’ll have to get the encyclopaedia. Fetch!”
“Fuck it!” I said, getting to my feet again. “If we had a smart phone …”
“We’ve got the books and a perfectly good PC and Internet connection. If you want a smart phone, you earn the bucks. Try writing something that will sell.”
I came back from the living room with Excon Hermosil and Lalo Montpar.
“We must also look at lead,” I said. “Gold is heavier than lead, isn’t it?”
“Of course,” she said. “And lead floats on mercury. Did you know that?”
“Really? So mercury must be heavier than lead. Is it heavier than gold?”
She didn’t answer for a bit, because she was reading. Then she announced that the specific gravity of lead was 11.29, mercury was 13.546, and gold was 19.3.
“Gold is 19.3 times heavier than water,” she said.
“Aha!” I cried. “That means 100 millilitres of gold will weigh 1930 grams. Call it 2 kilograms. Now, if the price of gold is around $1400 an ounce …How many ounces in a pound?”
“Sixteen,” she said. “And 2.2 pounds to the kilogram. Hand me that pen.”
“Now, if we had a smart phone …”
She made the calculation on the back of an envelope.
“That’s 70.4 ounces. Times 1400. Which gives us …98,560.”
“Wow! Nearly a hundred thousand bucks for one gold egg. That guy who killed the goose must have been a retard with a brain the size of a pea.”
“That’s greed for you,” she said. “And now we had better wash up and get to bed. I’m working in Greyton tomorrow.”
That night I had a dream. Or imagined I had a dream. Anyway, in the dream there was this big downy white goose and it was in the act of laying. When it got to its feet I fully expected to see the glint of gold. But no, no gold egg; not even an ordinary egg. Instead of an egg, there on the straw lay a shiny new Samsung Galaxy, and it was the very latest model.
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