LOCATION: Lancaster County PA, under a flat rock
Just walk away Rene
You won't see me follow you -- Left Banke
McBrae never got too sentimental. Sentiment is for chumps
and fools, he thought, a fact that is all too often reiterated
in this world.
McBrae thought about a girl he met on the trails some years
go -- Rene was here name -- young, bold, and strong -- ready
to show the world how to live outside the box, finding treasure
together right in front of their collective myopia.
He thought about her tattoos. Oddest things, he remembered,
like some sort of ancient script etched on her tummy,
kinda cool and mystical looking. Always interested in a
good mystery, he pressed her for their meaning.
"I don't know", she said. "I once dated this guy named
Jerry who had this tablet he said he had "found", from where
he never said. I thought they looked kinda cool,
and when I suggested getting them made into tattoos, sort of
as a permanent record, he got all enthusiastic, and he was
quite particular about their arrangement and doing the ink
himself. He always said they represented the greatest treasure
of all -- and that one day it would all become clear. But one day
he just vanished. He's gone, gone to prison so I hear, but
someday you and I will seek that treasure".
Someday never comes, McBrae mused. He had hung with Rene for
a while, discovering treasures here and there, but never making
any headway on the mystery of the tattoos. As time rolled on,
it became sadly clear that she was becoming more interested in
the idea of treasure hunting rather than the actual pursuit.
She loved impressing people with the fact that she was a seeker,
but when it came time to hit the trail, well, it never really
came time to hit the trail anymore -- too much working her
friends and other excuses.
It just wasn't the life for him. He tried it for a while, but
it just wasn't what he was seeking. How others succumbed to this
trap he could not fathom. But many they did, never to return,
and she had joined them now.
"What about the tattoos"?, he recalled asking.
"Yeah, we got to figure that one out someday, don't we? Jerry was
always talking about how it would all fit together when that
one was cracked. For some reason, he often mentioned his aunt
in Ashburnham when it came up, and how she used to like to
take him candlepin bowling".
She was hot, damn hot, he thought. But as Harlan
Ellison once profoundly observed, "a boy loves his dog" ...
He had basically given up, when one day it just came to him.
The words fell right into his lap out of the pages of an obscure book,
while he was working another mystery. Just one more look at those
tattoos, and so many problems could be solved. He wondered
if she still remembered him, how she regarded him after all
this time, if she had gotten over the past yet.
"Sure, meet me at the park, and then together we'll head out to
the library. The time is right to think about getting together
It took her an unusually long time to arrive. She looked the
same as ever, but he could see something was wrong.
"It's Jerry", she said. "He's back, and he's sore about
something you did some time ago. Something about being
precise and meticulous. He scares me, he doesn't want me
to see you".
"I was always a pawn in his game, wasn't I? But it didn't
work, did it? And you don't see it -- you are too. You
never see the walls when you're inside the box".
"I wish I still could do what you do. You've got it figured out,
don't you? I'm in too deep, its no fun, but I've lost it. I've
got too much of me in it now to turn around. You never had any
regrets, did you?".
"There's no hope, but there's today. Lets make the most of it, and
tomorrow I'll be back to my world, and you yours. Look
what I "found" in his stuff ...".