The Shimmering Wonders

I was hurtling into an endless pit, surrounded by flashing lights and mist. Were they stars? Was I flying or was I falling? It couldn't be falling. For starters, I wasn't scared. And second, I felt the distinct sensation of being pushed, not pulled. I was moving towards something solid and bright, something that seemed to grow before me at an impossibly fast rate. And as I approached, it began to take shape...

I looked up into Marisa's eyes. I looked down into the box. It was solid, about three inches deep and lined in a plush red velvet. Lying in its center was a small silver disc with a familiar symbol on it: ∞. Six pinpoint indentations surrounded the symbol.

I picked up my margarita glass and drained it. "It's a key."

Marisa blinked. "What? How do you know that?"

"I just do. And it's a very unusual key at that."

"Well now you've perked my interest. Any idea what it opens?"

"No idea," I replied. "But I think I understand why this thing is bad news for whoever has it in their possession. This is the kind of object..." I glanced around the room, searching for the right words. "is the kind of thing Indiana Jones movies are made about."

Marisa's left eyebrow lifted up a good inch. "Shit... How the hell do you know this?"

"I can't explain it, I just know." Which wasn't a lie. I had no clue how to explain to her what happened the first time I looked in the box. Did I have some weird connection to this thing?
"So why did Ray give this... This key to you?"

I shook my head. "I wish I knew. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to protect it or use it or both. To be honest, the thing kind of scares me."

Marisa had started chewing on one of the straws our waiter had brought us. "Maybe you should start by looking in on that guy Karl. He must know about this thing."

"I've half a mind to pay Ray a visit and ask him what the hell he's thinking, giving this to me. oooh, eggs."

My chorizo and eggs had finally arrived and I dug in with gusto. The sweet flavors of sage and pepper heated my mouth. Marisa just stared at me while I shoveled the food down my gullet.

"How can you eat that fast?"

"Grow up in a house with two brothers and you learn to eat as much as you can, as fast as you can."

Grow up with a bitchy brother and a bull dyke and you learn to stay out of the way," Marisa replied. "One day that'll come in handy." She glanced around and motioned to our waiter. They exchanged a few words in Spanish and she slipped him a pair of twenties. "Almost done there, hungry Jack? We should be on our way."

I grabbed a napkin off the table and quickly wiped my mouth. "Well, my plate's clean so I guess that's a yes. Why the urge to motor?"

Marisa shrugged. "I'm buzzed. I want sunshine. Let's hit Pershing Square and mock the tourists."

I nodded and stood up. "Hey, if you're buying breakfast the least I can do is show you a good time. Let's boogie." I glanced around the room and noticed one of the crusty dudes was looking at me. Marisa caught me looking and quickly motioned for us to get out.

We stepped into the morning daylight. I looked at Marisa. "He was watching our every move, wasn't he?"

Marisa looked nervous. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure he was."

"Let's skip Pershing Square today. Did you drive here?

Marisa nodded. "Yup."

"Then let's getthe hell out of here. Quick."

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