B Traven

They say the jungle holds its secrets close, whispers them only to the wind and the watchful eyes of the caiman. That’s the tale you spin, my friend, the yarn that sells. Here’s the real trick: forget the sweat and toil of hacking through the undergrowth, the fevers that sap a man dry quicker than the sun. 

A man with a smooth tongue and a heart as dry as a scorpion carcass can exploit those whispers better than any map. It’s all about planting the right seeds of greed. Here’s the game, amigo. The real treasure lies in convincing others it’s out there. First, you find a godforsaken corner of the wilderness, a place so choked with vines and swarming with insects it chills the blood.

Second, a seed is sown. A rumor, a glint in your eye as you share a campfire story with wide-eyed fools. “El Dorado,” a rumor of gold doubloons or a conquistador’s lost cache you murmur, tracing a vague circle on the dirt with a stick, “lost somewhere in this very jungle.” enough doubloons to buy a hacienda the size of Texas. Let their imaginations run wild, watch them blossom into full-blown delusions in the minds of those with pockets lined with dreams and eyes clouded by avarice. The whispers take flight on the backs of weary travelers, let them flutter through dusty cantinas and gambling dens. Soon, every broke dreamer and desperado in the country will be itching for a piece of that pie.

Third, your little oasis on the supposed fringe of this phantom fortune.  A ramshackle hostel, a watering hole reeking of sweat and desperation – your patrons will be the very men you set afire with tales of buried riches. They’ll need supplies, of course. Machetes sharp enough to cleave a vine as thick as a man’s thigh, repellent strong enough to ward off the invisible army of mosquitos that lurk in the shadows. Price them high, these necessities, for desperation has a hefty price tag.

Here’s the beauty of the scheme: a little goes a long way. Bury a trinket, a tarnished silver peso perhaps, let one of your marks stumble upon it. See the glint in their eyes, the renewed conviction that validates your cunning lie. Now, the floodgates open. Sell them permits, licenses to delve into the merciless jungle, each one a ticket to their own personal folly. Proof! See, the treasure is real! Just a little deeper, a little further…

Of course, there’s no real treasure, just a well-acted charade. But who cares? You’ve already fleeced them for shovels, tents, and enough insect repellent to fumigate a cathedral. Let them chase their fool’s gold through the jungle, wasting their sweat and sanity while you count your pesos.

With pockets full of their foolish coin, you can take your leave. But the game doesn’t end there. No, sir, you’ve laid the groundwork for something far grander. Once you’ve squeezed them dry, disappear. Vanish like a desert mirage. Then, with a new name and a clean face, resurface as the mayor of the nearest town. Tax those same treasure hunters for every peso they have left. Brand all other treasure rumors as lies, spread by bandits and charlatans.

Now you’ve got a new business: selling the myth itself. Eco-lodges, souvenir shops peddling maps and trinkets – the whole tourist trap shebang. And then, the final twist. Years later, when the fire has died in their eyes and the jungle has swallowed their dreams whole.  Announce, with a dramatic flourish. There never was any treasure, you proclaim, just a grand illusion, a testament to the power of human avarice. Turn the failed quest itself into a tourist attraction, a pilgrimage site for the gullible and the curious. Now you’ve got a new business: selling the myth itself. Eco-lodges, souvenir shops peddling maps and trinkets – the whole tourist trap shebang.

The jungle, my friend, is a place of many treasures. But the richest vein lies not in the earth, but in the hearts of men. And with a cunning mind and a silver tongue, you can mine it for all it’s worth. It’s the sweetest con this side of the Rio Grande, and the only sweat involved is wiping the smile off your face from all the laughing. Just remember, amigo, the only secret the jungle whispers is this: There’s a fool born every minute, and it’s your job to separate them from their money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *