The Camera

[As published on Wattpad.]

This small camera I carry has seen much during its tenure at my side, in my hands. I took World War II photos and witnessed things people only view in newspapers.

The high rubble Poland was reduced to became the epicenter of my army career. I took great pains to catalog the cacophony. Various faces, expressions, and horrors met us soldiers — overwhelming to me as I wound my camera and snapped photos. But I get ahead of myself.

I traveled through the stifled remnants of Europe, breathing the heavy post-war air. The scenes my camera took were multiple. Perhaps the most traumatizing was Auschwitz, Poland. Multiple Jews herded across from Europe entered the concentration camps. Some came away — from very far away. Others were living behind such annexed area of Poland.

Through its lens I witnessed the dismembered soul of Europe. Betwixt the enthrall of Polish landscape and glen I saw human beings’ ashes. None of us could absolutely believe with our eyes — nor comprehend with our minds — that in a brick furnace were cremated remains. I took the picture and then the ground caved beneath me. I remember standing in front of the oven for a good thirty minutes until I shook my head, attempting to reason away what I just saw. I can’t remember if I took the picture. It just developed from film. I think the sight took a piece of my own soul.

Listen. On this fallow, narrow hinge I stand. To reflect on horrors so great — it chills the bones and drives the mind to absolute madness.

This camera I will to you.

Love you.

 

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Loose Change (Part 1)

Clive stared at the silver-colored quarter. The quarter, split in half so a compartment can be used, lay in two pieces in his hand’s palm. A third small plastic square, with a thin memory chip inside, lay in between.

He put the three pieces together. Then, he flicked it into the air by resting it on his thumb and index.

At once, the wind blew, veering the quarter off course. He juggled the quarter — left hand, right hand, left hand, left hand, reminiscent of a circus clown in all its formidable, colorful glory. Instead of gawkers were, well,  birds and small trees and buildings — and it suddenly dropped between fingers. The quarter left its rightful post in his hands, and fell on top of a storm grate. It rested on one of the grate bars.

A slight sigh shuddered through his body and he stooped over. And kicked it with a shoe. Prompting it to fall between the grate bars into the sewer. And it disappeared into the blackness.

An earnest feeling of sheer panic bolted through his chest. His mind decided it was time for his legs to work, and he ran down the street, tracing where the thought the sewer went.

Down a ways, a few street and sanitation workers were doing their business. A hard hatted man looked down into the sewer, from the street.

“Dave!”

“Huh?” A man answered from the hole.

“Look! A lucky quarter, courtesy of a fine tax paying citizen.”

Dave stooped down as the quarter rested on his boot. He picked it up, and turned it over. It split in half, and he found the chip. “Looks weird.”

“What do you mean?”

A cheeky grin puffed across his face. Something sinister developed in his dark eyes. “Ever seen that spy movie where someone had that hollowed out quarter?”

“Huh? What was that?”

He paused, looked up — pocketed the quarter, quick-like. “I said, I’ll keep it for good luck.”

The forman waved a hand. “Citizen’s tip, right there!”

Dave laughed. “I guess you could say that.”

“Share the spoils?”

“I dunno. Could be one of those older quarters. You never know how much those are worth.”

“Whatever, Dave. You and your crazy opinions on stuff you know nothing about.”

Later, Dave put the micro SD card into the card reader on his laptop.

The folder opened. A few files with garbled text, and a folder named PICTURES. Dave clicked and opened the first file.

Blueprints, a little fuzzy but readable, popped up on screen.

His jaw dropped. It was the Pentagon, location District of Columbia, Washington, United States.

Further picture clicking indicated detailed blueprints of not only the Pentagon but the White House — including some secret passages. Other pictures were documents, some obviously sensitive information considering the TOP SECRET stamp.

Dave sat there, stunned expression. Then: “Why do I always get into these situations? First it was finding a murder scene in the sewers. Then, Johnny sent me the wrong text message. Affair with a coworker. Then, I find a nice looking quarter with secrets I don’t think any regular person should ever look at.”

Pause. “The freaking President has a secret door behind a urinal.”

Dave remained at his desk for an hour, leaning back, thinking.

A few months later, Dave somehow  got contracted to work in DC. Specifically, a White House job. While work was sparse, he took it. After signing the contract, he left the office shaking  his head and mumbling to himself. “Watch, I’m gonna find Nicolas Cage running after some treasure map hidden behind where the President takes a leak. Meh.”