Henry Powell & Noel Sylvester
She didn't know what she would find when she opened the box. Her memories of him, the old sage who passed along all of his knowledge, never seemed to own anything that would be this grand, this heavy, this full of potential and yet rife with memories of the overwhelming nature of his passing. He was not young, but also was not ready to leave this world; so many missed opportunities, stories, lessons on love and memories of her ancestors long gone. Her grandfather left her one simple thing in his will: “the contents of storage unit 55 at Al’s Cheap-Ass Storage, 1422 Rt 66, Chicago Illinois.” There she was, standing in front of the unit, which appeared to her a bit smaller than she imagined, opened to the setting sun with dust sparkling in the early spring light, and full of junk. Boxes of newspapers from 1950, Coke Cans held onto in the hope that one day they would be “antiques,” broken clocks that didn't appear to have any working components, even a few busted laptops. Then she noticed it. Sitting in the back corner, covered with a tattered sheet and fastened with the most glamorous bronze-plated locks that she had ever seen. It was huge, almost up to her chin, and appeared to have been cared for meticulously throughout his whole life. Next to it laid a note with her name written in calligraphed script. The note described his life as a travelling artist. He had a knack for voices and an incredible stage presence that once made Judy Garland spit her martini across the table. He explained his deep love for theatre and his desire to create sets out of his favorite family scenes, how he would mold the marionettes after the people he held most dear. As she opened the oversized box, she saw something magnificent. Inside was an exact replica of her favorite place on earth. His bar, where she had gone after school each day to wait for her dad to pick her up; where she had learned to love listening to his stories and those of his customers; where one time she had way too many Shirley Temples and threw up next to the regulars smoking cigarettes outside. The recreation was perfect, down to the exact detail. He had restored the drapes, a disgusting red and black that looked like they belonged as a coat on the little labridoodles from Mrs. Jensen next door. He had even perfected the first pinball game in the corner that she adored. It was spectacular. As she opened the box further, out fell two marionettes: one of an old man with grey hair and knowing eyes holding a cocktail shaker, and one of an wide-eyed young girl with blond hair and full smile. She was not sure what she would do with this miniature world full of memories and laughs, a place that was both the place where she both grew into womanhood and had her first beer and the place where she realized the true love a grandfather has for his granddaughter. She began to smile her dry smile, full of melancholy nostalgia.
by Henry Powell
Then, at that moment, the “Book of Dreams”, a book she found solace and comfort in, gently slipped from her lap to the floor.
She spent much of her time reading that book, since recognizing, in her teens, she had 'the gift', the gift of prescience. Before that revelation, she was regarded as a 'troubled child', who 'knew too much'. Hearing adults whispering about her caused her to retreat, to isolate herself from social contact.
Some years went by. Her grandmother, who also had the 'gift', died. It was a natural course of events that she had subsequently come to live with her grandfather.
'Big Al', as he was known, quietly came into the shaded parlor. Picking up the book, he placed it on the stand next to her, along with a manila envelope-the number '55' scrawled on the front.
locks & epilogue by Noel Sylvester
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66 OURS - Collaborative Writing Project
Starting with Phase 1, writers had 66 days to base their writing on 1 anonymous person & 1 vignette, dutifully and judiciously assigned to each writer by Amelia.
Photos given to the writers
Each writer was given a combination of 1 person + 1 vignette from the following: