Hidden Clues

“Joseph will become the death of you.” JSM


She must think I’m out of my mind. Talk about an awkward first impression.

“Joe? OK, Joe it is. What does Joe have to do with Saara? Why does Saara have two a’s?”

I leaned back in the office chair and crossed my arms. She’s asking an awful lot of questions. My shield raised slow around me, “They’re just dreams. I write down and sketch out what I remember. Saara had two a’s for some reason and I don’t know why. I can’t draw worth a shit. Doodling is the extent of it.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that. At least you try… That, Jeremy,” she pointed to Joe, “Is a real nice stick man. Well done.”

“Oh, no… let me see that.” I reached across the space and snatched a small blue notebook from her hand. A palm sized flip notebook used during the days of my sociology class at the university for taking notes. The kind police detectives use on the TV shows. I opened it up and turned the cover around.

Drawn on the inside with a black pen I doodled the “have a nice day” smiley face, with a buried chainsaw sticking half out of it’s skull.

“Well… that’s terrible.” She smiled and turned her attention back to the mess.

“Yeah. When I started getting bored, I found myself writing random thoughts, drawing silly pictures, anything to pass the time. Then I started recording my dreams not long into my first year. Just for the hell of it. Check it out. My English professor said he wrote in a dream journal his entire life. I figured I’d give it a whirl too.” I withdrew a thick leather book from the top shelf, hidden within my small collection of sci-fi and fantasy novels, and opened it to the bookmarked page.

“That was the last one I had.” I pointed to the short paragraph and allowed her to browse my chicken scratches; which I can barely read, therefore I didn’t expect her to understand my written ramblings.

“Joe. Hitchhiker. Dad’s a real asshole and was responsible for his parents death. Killed by smoking. Cigar caused car accident. Joe’s wife, Karen, dies in three days. I get to choose how. New start for Joe. Be gentle, he loves her very much.”

“Right? Messed up…”

“What does Joe look like?”

“White tee shirt. Suspenders. Jeans. He had a leather shoulder bag. Felt like casual 40’s garb?”

She adjusted on the hard wood floor and sat cross legged, “Interesting. What about Karen? What’s up with her?”

“I have no idea.” I chuckled and pondered why we were focusing our attention on the choppy details of an old dream journal. A book I write in, out of nothing more than sheer habit. “Just some weird dreams. Not much else to it.”

“What’s in the folder?”

I looked beside me on the desk’s surface and grinned, “I think it’s an old map. Some stupid project I started during the ice storm of ’98.” I pulled out the sheets one by one and snickered at my silly concepts from years before. Nameless places. Triangles for mountains and circles for bodies of water.

I turned the sheets around one by one, placed them on the desk like giant puzzle pieces trying to make sense of it all, when Nancy looked my way. “I found some printed emails stapled together. Is this important?”

“Probably not,” I removed it from her grasp. My eyes glanced over the contents then opened wide with surprise, and I peeled myself from the chair. My stomach dropped through the floor and I tried to blink it all away.

“Are you OK?”

“I… I don’t know. I remember writing this to a group of friends years ago. I had an idea, a spur of the moment, weird crazy flash of the imagination, and wanted to run it by the others. I printed it out because I didn’t want to forget about it, but I guess I did. Hold on. Let me reread it really quick.”

The contents of the email are not important at this time. The mailer was bounced back and forth among my close friends and I briefly, back in 2007. It was the final reply at the bottom I had my attention on.

‘If you don’t do this, Jere, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.’treasure-map

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