Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: The Pirate's Hoop
By Fay Ternan
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Dust filtered light spills over boxes, bags and assorted luggage stacked head-high in the garage. Gina wiped the sweat from her face; smearing a grimy path across her face.
Her latest foray into the world of storage locker auctions had filled the van. This was the make it or break it load. Arms aching, scalp itching and clothes plastered to her overheated body, all she wanted was a shower and an iced tea.
She remembered Jack's snorted, "Huh!" when she shared her dream of finding enough little treasures to pay for the winning bids and allow her make some extra cash.
"You're dreaming! All you'll get outta that is broke." His mocking voice echoed in her mind. Maybe her brother was right; she should quit while she was only a little behind. Still, relentless hope nudged her on.
"No use sitting here," Gina chastised herself. "I'll never find the treasures if I don't sift through it all." She worked her system: empty a box then sort to trash, resale, donate or treasure piles. Hours passed.
Gina picked up a ratty tattered box. The bottom disintegrated dropping items all over. Quickly squeezing the sides together, she set the box on the workbench. As it came to rest, the objects inside shifted and Gina glimpsed a small silver case sliding down the side.
"Huh?" Digging deeper into the remains of the box, Gina's fingertips captured the elusive little case she'd spotted moments before. Bringing it out into the light, her heart dropped. The silver was paint on a cheap little box. Even so, hope nudged again and she lifted the lid.
A little silver spoon, a tarnished lapel pin and a small hoop earring rested inside. Beneath them, a small folded paper. Gina carefully unfolded the note and read:
My Darling Julia,
I have to go but leave with you our memories. The spoon you fed our little Emma with, the pin I wore on our wedding day and the earring I gave up when I left my pirate ways to live with you. Your love has been my refuge; your welcome arms my safe harbor. God bless you, my love. Your adoring husband, Marcus.
"Not everyone has pirates in their family tree. This treasure needs to find its way back to the owners or their heirs", Gina thought. She swiftly sorted through the remaining items but there was nothing that might identify the previous owner.
"Gina, where are you?" Jack wormed his way back to the bench. "What's that? Anything special?"
Gina shared the contents of the box with Jack. "Gina," he scolded, "this is supposed to be a way to make money. Don't go haring off to try to reunite this so called treasure with someone who didn't want to keep it in the first place."
"Maybe you're right. There weren't any clues to finding an owner."
"Yeah. You're a good kid, Gina, but sometimes....."
"Knock it off, Jack. Twenty-nine isn't exactly a kid. Help me sort these last boxes and I'll let you take me out for pizza."
Gina gradually disposed the piles of treasure and trash she'd acquired. She hadn't made any money so stopped attending auctions. The silver box and its contents rested on a shelf above the fireplace.
Months later, Gina came home and found the message to call Warren at Your Place Storage. He'd had a request to help find the items he'd sold to Gina. She called and gave permission to share her phone number, advising there was one small box left.
The following day as Gina was attacking weeds in the backyard, a pair of black boots came into view. The boots were attached to a tall man in leather jeans and jacket.
"Ms. James?" , a low voice inquired.
"Mr. Wilson gave me your name and number. Rather than call, I decided to come by and see what items you still had from the auction." Despite his biker attire, he didn't appear to be the bad guy sort.
"These were the things I was hoping for", he said when she handed him the box. "My wife passed away while I was working overseas. Apparently the Post Office didn't get the forwarding address, bills didn't get to me and all the stored items went to auction for non-payment. Thanks for holding on to these."
"You're Marcus? Of the pirate ways?"
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