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The Fourth Side

It's all about asking the right questions.

By Mark GagnonPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
The Fourth Side
Photo by Hossam M. Omar on Unsplash

“The cameras are set up and ready to roll, Professor Colter. We’re prepared to record every minute of this history-making event. What does it feel like to be the first human in over eight thousand years to enter this massive structure that time has forgotten?”

“It’s definitely a humbling experience to be sure, Tucker. And, please, don’t forget all the people who have given their time and sweat to help make this moment possible. These laborers have worked tirelessly for the last four months to remove tons of earth in order to reveal three sides of this magnificent edifice. They will start on the fourth side in the morning.”

“Sure, sure, they’re great, the legal ones anyway, but you were the one who did the research leading to this momentous find. America, not Egypt, will forevermore be known as having the oldest pyramid. Can you tell our audience what made you decide to look here, Doctor? Of course, I know you’re not a proper doctor, but everyone calls you that, so I suppose I will, too.”

“I’m sure there are many in the world of academia who would argue that point, also all the laborers are from the local reservation, but I digress. My specialty is Native American civilizations. I compared each tribe’s folklore, looking for a common thread. What I discovered was that although each tribe grew into individual entities, they all talked about the beginning place. A colossal structure which was destroyed by a great flood. Presumably the same flood the bible refers to.

My team and I determined that the massive structure their records referred to wasn’t destroyed but buried in silt and debris from the flood. We did geothermal imaging using ground penetrating radar at various places in North America. Those images led us here.”

“Wow, Professor Colter, that sounds very expensive. Don’t you think that money should have been spent on other things, for-instance oil and coal exploration? Who funded this project? I think the people have the right to know, don’t you?”

“It’s not a secret, my good man. This project is funded by the National Geographic Society. It’s listed in all our documents. Apparently, you haven’t read them.”

“I’m a reporter. I don’t have time to read. That’s what my interns are for. One other thing, please use simpler words in your explanations so our audience can understand what you’re talking about.”

“In other words, you want me to dumb things down, Tucker?”

“We in the media prefer the term, simplify, professor. Our audience aren’t all college graduates, you know. Getting back to the dig, how did you find the main entrance?”

“Our expensive geothermal imaging—sorry, I mean picture taking machines—gave us an outline of the pyramid but showed no real detail. That wasn’t really a surprise since the structure has been buried for over eight millennia. Any doorways or window openings have been filled in with dirt and rocks. We felt the best way to find an access point was to excavate one wall at a time until we found a way in.”

“I don’t get it, Doc! Why not just jackhammer a hole in the wall and bingo, you’re in?”

“Jackhammer, a hole in an eight-thousand-year-old structure, Tucker, are you mad?

“Okay, not the best idea. It looks like they’re ready for you, Doc. Let’s see what’s hiding inside.”

Professor Colton strode triumphantly through the doorway, followed by his assistants and the camera crew. The celebration halted abruptly when one researcher emerged from a side tunnel carrying what looked like a cell phone.

“Professor Colton, how is this possible? Not only is it a cell phone, it still has some charge left on it.”

Before Colton offered an opinion, one of the young local laborers walked over and took the phone.

“Hey man, you found my phone, thanks!”

“Excuse me, young man, but how did your phone get here in the first place?” asked the befuddled professor.

“Oh, that’s simple. There is a tunnel at the back side of the pyramid that leads to another door. The tribe has known about it for centuries. The elders don’t use it anymore but the younger tribe members come here to party. We were here last night to bid fair well to our party spot.”

“Why didn’t anyone mention this to me?”

“Are you kidding, man, and lose out on all this excavating work? No way!”

“And there you have it, folks! Just another example of misguided science wasting all our money. This is Tucker, exposing yet another fraud.


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.

I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (3)

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  • Donna Fox4 months ago

    Mark this is another great one! I love the angle you went with this one! You did such a great job building suspense and intrigue but then suddenly taking it away with a realistic ending. I love the minor dispute between the reporter and Professor Colton. I laughed when he called them “picture taking machine” rather than cameras or something else. Basically alleging to the idea that even those words might be “too technical”. Such a great story Mark!

  • Lol, the conversations between Professional Colton and Tucker was hilarious! This was a very creative story!

  • Lana V Lynx4 months ago

    I enjoyed this so much, especially the part about not a real doctor (PhD here) and a reporter using interns for reading (I teach journalism ethics). Thanks for the ride!

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