The Conch Pearl – scene 2 pg2

Margaret took a seat on the couch, holding the card in her hand.

Noel was far off now, looking into the dark beyond the window.

“The Cay Sal Bank is one of those rare places that time forgot — that man forgot.  The waters are crystal clear, the islands savage and untouched, the barracuda huge  - one island, I was told, is swarming with scorpions.  It’s a window back into time, to a time before man hunted, or reigned over all living things.  Every beast lives and dies without knowing the threat of man.  Everything gets to live longer, and grow bigger, and has not learned to be afraid.”

“So they’re going fishing? hunting?”

“They’re going treasure hunting.”

“Treasure hunting?  for what? gold?”

“No. Conch Pearls.”

“What is a conch pearl?”

“You know what a conch is?”

“I think so.  It’s a shell, those big pink shells.”

“Right.  The Queen Conch.  They’re beautiful.  Have that fantastic reflective pink, yellow, purple sheen.  They’re a mollusc, a really big sea snail.  Like an oyster, or nautilus, but much bigger.  And, like an oyster, very rarely, they produce a pearl.”

“The Cay Sal Bank has a lot of pearl producing conch?”

“Not really.  Not more than any other conch habitat.  I think it’s only one in ten thousand conchs that might produce a pearl, and then it most likely will be a very small one.  To check if a conch has produced a pearl, you have to pull it out of it’s shell, and kill it, which means that you’re going to go through a lot of poor Queen Conchs looking for a pearl you may never find.”

“This isn’t making sense.  They’re not going to spend their lives on the Cay Sal Bank killing conchs.  Not even friends of yours would be that stupid.”

“No, you’re right, not even they.  You see, the holy grail with conch pearls, is to figure out how to produce them.  Artificially, like oyster pearls.  No one has ever managed to do this.”

“Why not?”

“The conch just don’t take to it.  They’re not like oysters.  You can’t just pry open the shell and insert a foreign particle into the right spot and wait for the pearl.  The conch has a one piece, curved path shell.  No one knows where in the shell to put the grain, or how to put it there.  You can’t check on it without killing it.”

“So, Quinn and Sean…”

“Quinn.  Quinn may have done it.  He may have found a way to produce a conch pearl.”

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