30 Days of Souvenirs: Day 4

A tiny microscope was sleeping in a dusty egg crate in a henhouse in Crimora, VA. I wasnt looking for this. I was looking for a treasure with monetary value: my father had given me a treasure map of sorts, a handwritten note to look for his old Mickey Mantle baseball card in the loft of his mamas chicken coop. He had painted for me, through a veil of forty years, a landscape rife with dirtbikes and plug tobacco, and in the middle of that frozen still life stood a virile Mickey Mantle, bat in hand, sparkling eye, American gaze, emblazoned forever on a small rind of card, documenting the icon. My father was sure the card was among others and safely tucked away in an egg crate in that loft, and so I hunted. In the hundred degree summer heat I pressed down on the rusted henhouse latch and the door popped open, revealing the entrails of the old shed: sixty years of dust-shrouded rolls of bailing twine, skeletal stacks of kindling, a collection of porcelain vases, including a spanish inflected donkey perpetually pulling a cart of abused green flower foam. I moved past these fossils towards the stairs, tripping on a basket of doorknobs and spilling the contents onto a large pile of unboxed soap dust. I found my way up the tight staircase, which looked as though it was put together by a crippled magician, and soon my head poked through into the loft. Mud daubers buzzed and crawled on their mud palaces, and after a battle which was waged between my lungs and a particularly large cloud of dust, I found a small egg crate and lifted its lid. Inside the crate, on a faded pink pillow, its entrails pulled into the corner to make a bed for some small mouse, sat a black and bronze mini microscope. I pulled out my flashlight and looked into the eyehole, blinking to see what had been preserved in the lens. Reflecting back to me from the mirrored plate,the torn corner of a small piece of paper with the words New York Yankees, and a portion of a mans hand, eternily gripping a Louisville Slugger.

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