“Treasure Hunter”

Ramona found the hammer wrapped in a wrinkled brown paper bag at the bottom of the trunk. In fact, it turned out to be the only item she found worth keeping. She prided herself on her current streak of yard sale luck. She’d visited one hundred and seventeen junkies so far, and she had come away as a champ each time. Ramona had bloodhound DNA in her, and a penchant for sniffing out the hidden gems and undervalued items. She especially loved the thrill of plunging into dust laden boxes in poorly lit basements. The dust would rise and disperse when she tipped each lid. Her left arm ended in a metal Maglite and her right arm the epitome of kinetic energy. She would enter the zone when on a search at a junkie. She acknowledged none of the others present. She glided through upturned boxsprings and stacks of magazines, past stagnant furnaces and land mine bowling ball bags; all for the claim. Ramona had made one hundred and seventeen claims so far. She wouldn’t, in fact, never allowed another to make a play for a claim. Once she sensed it, she rushed to it, boxed out her perimeter, and dove deep into whatever obscured the treasure within.There was something of a spelunker in her. Her friend Ben liked to tease her about the level of passion she held for estate sales. He enjoyed watching her as the door opened at the sale. Her cheeks would become crimson suns, and the creases of her brow would appear when he chided her for being so damned aggressive at the outset. She paid him no mind after his initial remarks, but instead drew within and remained deliberate and thorough in her movement at all times. Ramona was known around the circuit, and not well liked. Others would shake their heads and roll their eyes as they watched her cavort through a junkie. As much as they disliked her, there was a certain respect of her art. She seemed to touch each and every item and none at all. Ramona didn’t care what they thought. She was focused and the only way she could find what she was looking for was to be the first to it. She was quite assured that her method of searching for treasure was the best. In truth, who could argue with her results. She’s been able to successfully find the rarest and most expensive items at each junkie. It was often remarked about how well she could negotiate the prices she would pay for her finds. Betsy Barnes told Carol Marx that Ramona had to be a witch; that she used mind control, or could read the minds of others. That had to be the only way she would be able to get away with paying so little for what was clearly worth so much. However, there was no way that Ramona could anticipate the true price she would pay for the hammer she had just found. It seemed at first glance like a traditional hammer, but there was something odd yet magical about it. Through further examination she realized that the hammer felt heavier in her hand than any other hammer she had ever held. This was weird because it wasn’t that big. It was actually quite normal, just a bit worn. She did notice a grace in its movement as she handled it further, that belied the heaviness she had felt. The most telling characteristic of the hammer was its gravity. Ramona was pulled into it immediately, and she knew she would never leave that basement without it. She thought for a quick moment about how she would approach the owner to buy it. Then she remembered the bowling ball on the floor near the boxspring. She was going to bowl a strike on this junkie, she knew how she was going to liberate the hammer from the bag, from the trunk, from this basement. Ramona had found her one hundred and eighteenth claim.

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