Uncle Cliff enters the Temple of Deceit.

It was 1950. At an ancient Mesoamerican temple in the Yucatan, a young kid clutched a small idol fashioned from porous stone. He had just emerged from the base of a Mayan pyramid covered in dust, parched, and a bit out of breath. Uncle Cliff approached with caution and intrigue. The idol must have come from the dark and mysterious labyrinth below. The child offered to sell the miniature idol for $20.

Could it be legit? Uncle Cliff decided it was worth the risk, produced the cash, and the idol found a new owner. Uncle Cliff was now a jet-setter travel agent with an ancient relic. He imagined telling the story to his friend Bugsy Siegel when he returned to Vegas. It would only clinch his reputation as a worldly ladies’ man. Beaming, he began his descent to the village when he noticed a tent with wares at the entrance to the temple. Curious, he made his way over, where his short-lived dreams of notoriety were dashed.

Read the rest of the story in Polynesiacs: Tiki at Home, page 44.

The Cosmos Lounge, Salem, Oregon

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