There is a lot of myself in today’s story. There are those who have luck and those who do not. I am in the not category. I’m not where near the other. If there was a spectrum from 1 to 10, 1 being the luckiest, and 10 being the opposite of that I would be hard 9. It’s just a matter of life. Although, sometimes I tell myself (because of some gut feeling) that my luck just hasn’t come up. And right now, why would I want to waste my pot of gold on an actual pot of precious metal coins than on landing a literary agent and selling my book. (They’re a package deal, by the way. I’m talking to you fate.)
A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A Klems and Zachary Petit
“You receive a letter in the mail from an out-of-town relative asking you to drop everything and meet him in Boston ASAP. He doesn’t say why, but signs off on the letter with the phrase: “Treasure Awaits.””
The letter from my Uncle Bernard Frush came sealed with wax. Embossed into the red paraffin was the symbol of our family crest, a fish jumping from a grove of rushes. The writing on the front was beautifully written in the finest calligraphy I had ever seen, or probably ever would by a human hand. My uncle was always one for the dramatic.
“Who’s that from,” My wife asked.
I lifted the letter to show her, but before she could view the address she must have caught sight of the wax seal and pinpointed the sender.
I tore it open and began to read.
“So what does ‘ol Burns have to say,” she said.
She pulled a dish from the top rack of our faulty dishwasher and dried it with a towel.
I quickly scanned the letter written in the same hand as the envelope.
It was his usual weekly catch ups, informing me, his second favorite nephew after my cousin Brandon, of his recent travels. The man had chosen at the age of forty to go hiking across the United States. For what reason, I do not know. I guess he had had enough of suburbia and wanted freedom. Before trekking out on his journey he rid himself of the everyday trappings of normal life, cell phone, his house, furniture, clothes. Anything that wasn’t paper or transportable he ditched.
My mother tried to talk him out of it but could get nowhere. The one thing you could count on when Burns made up his made there was no changing it. Even if it was the wildest of ideas.
“Come on,” my wife said, “I’m dying of anticipation.”
“He’s just saying how well his trip is going and…”
It took me a moment for it to register but at the end of the letter he commanded me to go to Boston.
“He says that treasure awaits.” I dropped the letter, clutched in one hand, to my leg.
“I’m sure it’s all of the life lessons he’s learned on his journey.”
I turned to her, arching my eyebrow.
“How do you get that?”
“Thomas,” she said, grabbing another dish, “Be realistic. The man is insane. Who gives up everything they have-“
“What if it is actual treasure?”
Michelle stopped drying the dish.
“He set out for some reason. Maybe this was it?” I said.
“The man had a mid-life crisis. He has nothing left to live for. No job. No wife. No children.” She said, stowing the dish in the cupboard and closing it’s door. “That must be terribly lonely.”
“But think about it,” I said, rushing to the breakfast bar, “He’s always been obsessed with history and conspiracy theories.”
“Yes,” she said, “He never had a television because he was convinced that it was a tool of the government to brainwash us.”
“He’s not right, Thomas.”
I looked at the letter one more time.
Come immediately. Time is of the essence.
I read the sentence over and over, until it was burned into my vision. I looked up at Michelle and the words flickered across her face.
“You’re not going,” she said.
I Put the letter back in the envelope.
“Besides we don’t even have the money to buy a plane ticket right now.”
I nod, defeated. She’s right, of course. I’m not Uncle Berny. I have Michelle, a mortgage, a job, and children. There is no sense in taking off at the last moment.
The next evening she and I are cuddled up on our overstuffed sofa that has long lost it’s selling point, while the kids played hide-and-seek around us. Our old tube television is flickering as the National evening news with Brian Williams pipes up at the top of the hour. The main story told by the faces of my uncle and cousin holding a chest filled with large circular pieces of gold in a rotting chest. My jaw drops open and I turn to Michelle.
“Maybe he’ll split it with us?”