Wake-Up Call, Chapter 2

When I looked inside the redwood box to find it empty, you could describe me as “sick to my stomach”, although that might be an understatement. The rumbling in my brain, and my belly, had less to do with the idea that I’d lost something valuable and priceless, and more to do with the idea that Mallory had seen it. Her mother, I wasn’t so concerned about. She didn’t like me, I didn’t talk to her, we have a mutual distaste towards each other that we’re both seemingly content with. I’m fine she’s fine, move on.

But Mallory, she is my friend, of sorts. She speaks to me, she laughs with me, and up until last night, she always greeted me with a smile and a laugh.

I’m lying in bed now, listening to rain pound the sidewalk, and wondering what the morning will be like. For me, I’d prefer it to be business as usual: a walk in the early light, a stop at the newsstand to check for Followers and Breathers, a cup of coffee followed by a pastry — I love pastries — and finally a stop in Gristle park to count the grass.

I’ve counted 16 billion blades of grass so far this year, hoping to make it to 20 billion before the snow falls, a new record, but I’ve only got a couple weeks left. People might say I have an odd hobby, but the park is as new to me now as it was three years ago when I moved to this city, and every year I count more blades of grass, amazed at how large and plentiful the green of this world is.

It’s that sense of wonder that brought me to the Box, or the Box to me, and when I’d first opened it, well, you’d be shocked at how elated I felt. At the time, a few years back, the Box was just another item in a long list of items found at the park during my counting hours. While most days turned up bits of money or small nick-knacks, child toys, dog toys, and dirt clumps disguised as ancient stones, this discovery changed my life.

I’d just crested 15 million blades of grass in my count when I stumbled upon the Box. Not just a simple discovery, mind you, I literally stumbled, tripped, doubled-over the Box, which nearly broke my toe just by sitting in one place, though being no larger than a shoe Box — granted, one that might fit the great Shaquille O’Neal.

No one had seemed to notice the Box, which sat in the middle of the park undisturbed as children threw Frisbees and swung bats and ran with dogs alongside them at breakneck paces. The Box saw me, I saw the Box, and it was meant to be.

At home, the Box fit nicely on the ground underneath my coffee table, which was also made of a great Redwood from the forest out West. That forest was the source of all of the best furniture items and the greatest treasures in the world, so my parents taught me at one time. But it’s what’s inside that counts, as my mother used to —

But wait, there’s been a development, an occasion of great import, and I must run after the source before the opportunity is lost. I’ll scribble you this note in the hopes that whoever is reading might come to my aid, should the need arise, just look for the symbol in tomorrow’s paper: the two-headed duck.

…to be continued…

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