“Trace, look at this.” He held up a package about the size of a hat box, wrapped in plain brown paper and taped all around the edges.
“What do you think it is?” I asked; my curiosity piqued.
Scott broke open the sealed portions of the paper. Sure enough, it was a hat box. There was duct tape and string circled several times around the box in all directions. Now I began to feel excited. I could tell Scott was excited too by his measured tone of voice, deliberately calm, stating that it was probably nothing. We both knew he didn’t really think so.
“Get me the scissors,” Scott directed. Greed was the only thing keeping me humble enough to obey instead of telling him to get them himself. I handed him scissors from the drawer, at least twenty years old with dull blades. They weren’t too dull to get the job done though. Scott took off the lid, residue from the tape making it resist just slightly. Again another obstacle! Thick layers of cellophane encased the treasure.
“It’s really heavy,” Scott remarked.
“It must be very valuable,” I observed, now giddy with anticipation. Money or gold coins; it had to be a large sum. Why else would it be so carefully wrapped? Maybe it was someone’s life savings. My heart sunk at the thought. That meant we would have to turn it in and hope for a reward. But if it were ill-gotten gain, perhaps a pay-off from the Mob gone awry, we could keep it. Or if it belonged to a little old lady, like a childless widow, we could keep it. She probably died in her sleep in one of the apartments, a lone soul with no one to care for her. A maid must have cleaned the room in readiness for the next tenant and threw away all the widow’s belongings as if they were tainted, oblivious to the treasure that was left behind. My imagination went wild.
Scott began peeling back the cellophane to uncover the contents of the box, so meticulously entombed, a golden mummy wrapped many times over in modern-day plastic bandages. Suddenly he shrieked as if bitten, dropping the bundle hastily…