Rene's Tattoos

LOCATION:  Lancaster County PA, under a flat rock

CHALLENGE:  2.5 stars

DATE/NUMBER:  08-Feb-2003/76


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 again anyway".

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 ...".

NOTE 1:  Off-trail walking is involved.

NOTE 2:  Be wary of snakes and other wildlife when reaching into dark places. No need to dig for this box. All bearings magnetic unless otherwise noted. A pace is a long stride counted on a footfall of either foot, i.e. two paces are counted each time the right foot hits the ground. Be aware of if or when there is game hunting in the area.

NOTE 3:  Please re-hide the thing well, exactly situated as you found it, and be discreet when stamping up.

DISCLAIMER & COPYRIGHT:  PERSONS USING THIS CLUE OR HUNTING THIS LETTERBOX DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. Do not hunt this letterbox without reading and agreeing to the waiver first. Children, do not hunt this letterbox without the supervision of an adult who has read and agreed to the waiver. Possession of this clue does not imply rights of access to particular lands and route choices, or the safety thereof, including the location of the box itself. Always observe current local regulations, signs, property rights, and customs; you are responsible for your actions. Clue not indended to be taken literally or to suggest route choices; route choices (and the choice to proceed at all), are your choice.
This clue and associated stamp art copyright © 2003, by Randy Hall. Permission to reproduce for personal use granted; all other rights reserved.