I have a carpenter friend whose specialty is tearing down houses to make way for townhouses. Why have one house on a city lot when you can have three? During a recent job he found a locked suitcase under the rafters in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. His coworkers wanted to break it open, but he knew I liked stuff like this so he saved it, and two days ago he gave it to me.
I googled ‘how to pick a briefcase lock’ and was basically getting nowhere when lolarusa suggested I be methodical. Try 001, 002, 003, etc., until it opens. I complained that there’s 1,000 possible combinations. “Well,” she said, “you only knit one stitch at a time, but when you’re done you have a sock.” Good point.
248. I went from 001 to 247, and when I hit 248 that lock popped open. This is what I found.
There were no clothes. It seemed to be a collection of precious possessions rather than a traveling bag. Dominating the contents was a locked wooden box.
Opening the lid section of the case revealed that the owner was a Freemason.
Tucked within the folds of the mason’s apron was the key I’d hoped for, the key to the wooden box. Within the box were old news clippings, a police report, biological specimens, an old journal, and a piece of unfired clay wrapped in coarse cloth.
The mason’s apron was owned by someone named Serene. The journal is by someone named Angell. The journal is all about weird happenings in the ’20s and ’30s, things that allegedly happened in Greenland, and New England, and Louisiana, and seem to be directly related to the clay sculpture, which is less than an inch thick, and perhaps five or six inches square.
I find the whole thing intriguing and disturbing, and confess that I don’t know what to make of it.
postscript: I’ve done my best to transcribe the journal, which you can read here.