It was four weeks to the day since the ham radio episode. The Old Man had been briefly captured by something in the low frequency carrier wave which had assailed his radio set. He had instantly recognized the side band wave but could do nothing to stop it.
He sat on his patio reading the little post-it note on which he had written the Morse code which had come through. It simply read, “I am sorry for what happened. I am sending you a gift. Please forgive me, I didn’t know this could happen.” A strange looking grouping of letters which the Old Man took to be a signature had followed: “Tleackeh.” The Old Man was angered, thinking that someone was playing a cruel hoax on him. The thing was, not long after that radio incident he started feeling really chipper. Better than he had felt when he was only fifty.
In the weeks that had followed his energy level, spent after 70 something years, had gone up and a visit to the doctor let him know that his heart murmur was gone and his blood work was sublime. The doctor wanted to know what had changed in his regimen. Not knowing how to answer the doc he could only stammer that he his dreams were much better and he was finally sleeping again. Weak as water, he thought of his response, but it will have to do. I’m sure as hell not going to tell him I got cured by a space alien! Stone Bridge, here I come. Nest stop, LOONEY BIN!
In the middle of this reverie he heard his wife call out from the kitchen, “What are you expecting from UPS?” Nothing, was his quiet response. He was expecting nothing. “Did you order more radio parts? The UPS driver is getting out his hand cart! What did you order?”
Giving up his wool gathering he rose and walked into the house. “I ordered nothing. What the heck are you yelling so loud for! You’re gonna wake the dead! You already wake me up!”
Looking at him suspiciously she cut at him with her voice, “You promised me that the last thousand dollars worth of computer parts was all you were going to do with the radio from now on!”
Shook his head in disgust he raised his voice to her. “I didn’t order ANYTHING!”
The UPS driver had just carted a large package up to the front door. “I better help you in with this. It weighs 53 pounds 6 ounces. Where shall we put it.
“Not on the dining room table,” his wife said in a grousing voice. “It’ll collapse with all that weight.” If looks could kill the Old Man wouldn’t have to worry anymore about his potential heart health. His wife could kill with a glance.
They took the package to the spare bedroom where her sewing table was. It was sturdily built by the Old Man twenty years ago out of four by four posts for legs and two by four transverse framing. It could probably hold a small car.
It took the UPS driver on one side and the Old Man and his wife on the other to lift the package and set it on the table. This was after another pointed glance at her husband as she cleared her sewing out of the way. “You’ll get buttons on your work shirt when I get my table back and not until!”
With that last joust under her belt she went outside, ostensibly to cool off. the Old Man shook his head when she left. “Ain’t life grand?” he said to the air.
“Let me give you a hand opening that.” The UPS driver was actually curious as to what was in the package. Usually, people were thrilled to get a large package and the Unibomber had long been imprisoned so it was cool to see what some pople got.
The Old Man shook his head firmly. “No thanks. I’ll open it when I’m ready. Probably a bit later after some lunch….which I’ll probably have to make myself.” The UPS driver nodded and saw himself out the front door. “Another happy customer,” he cracked wise and under his breath. The of the truck’s motor faded into the distance.
“Shit!” At that point it was all the Old Man could think to say; just “shit!” Walking back to what he called “the roost;” his chair under his tree on his patio as he referred to his spot when his dander was up. Sitting down he got to thinking. He wondered if, per chance, this package had anything to do with the alien being he thought he had seen. You see, he was starting to think the whole dilemma might be the onset of Alzheimer’s. It ran in his family and he feared it more than death itself. He never made mention to his wife. He loved her too much to worry her unnecessarily. Still, it was a threat and he knew that only too well. It had concerned him since his 40’s. The last thing he wanted was to be a burden on anyone. He also recognized, or had in recent days, that his radio building had become an obsession and he had spent far too much on the hobby. He fully understood her temper about it and now he was feeling guilty as sin.
“Well’ he thought, “I guess I better open it to prove that it has nothing to do with the radio.” he would remember those words until his dying day.
When he came back to the house he brought with him a pry bar and hammer plus a Phillips screwdriver and a large flat blade should there be any fasteners he needed to contend with. using the pry bar he timidly tried the top. Surprisingly, it moved and came away with almost no effort. Underneath as a cardboard container; taped shut. Again he muttered shit under his breath and went back out for a utility knife having left his pocket knife in his bib overalls a couple of days ago. He dreaded asking his wife to help him find it because he thought he was already getting forgetful. It was right where he left it and, coming back in, he sliced open the top to reveal some type of packing he had never seen before. Expecting styrofoam he was surprised because the packing looked an awful lot like crab grass. It didn’t feel like it though. Still, he was going to dispose of it very carefully as he had spent a couple of years to finally, successfully rid his lawn of the stubborn weed. he carefull pulled the top of the mass aside, peering down into the box.
What he saw there didn’t surprise him so much as made him feel faint and dizzy. In the box was a spheroidal shaped green stone that looked for all the world like glass. What got his attention, though, was the sheen it refracted and in its heart he saw a reddish -orange glow. It looked much like Opal in the middle of a green glass football. Lifting it out, carefully, hardly daring to breathe, he placed it in the sunlight steaming through the window. He was looking for sees which bubbles are called in formed glass. There were none. Crystal? he opined. It’s heavy enough. It was at that moment that his wife walked in.
“Lord in Heaven! What is that!” she shouted. Hurrying over to see what the Old Man had received she knew almost instantly what the stone was. She had seen the stone before in rings and jewelry but something this huge took her breath away. “You know what I think that is?” she queried.
The Old Man looked at her, puzzled look on his face. “Crystal I think. Fine green crystal by the look. it reminds me of Depression Glass that my mother had once upon a time. Until her sister Ruth stole all of it all before the Will was read and kept it for herself.
“No, you old fool, that’s an Emerald.”