Once upon a time, in a land so far away it pratically seemed nearby, lived a middle-aged lad who had in his possession a magic wallet. At first, second, or even third-glances it appeared to be a normal, average wallet- but that was only part of its magic.
Created from the tanned hide of a holy brown cow, this unique bi-fold wallet was used to store not only script, but also secret potions and mysterious plastic cards that could be flashed by the fella in order to hypnotize merchants and cause them to offer him goods and services seemingly without having to pay or barter for them. Some of the cards could even be inserted into machines that the man would tickle with his fingers until it began to laugh and cough out paper money. Many folks in the village discussed the phenomena in low tones, being very careful to never let the man hear them.
Also stored in the wallet were important data about the man, the location of his home, and even the type of blood that pulsed through his veins. Definitely not the kind of stuff he’d want to fall into the wrong hands!
The magic wallet was always kept near the man. Normally he would secure it in the left rear pocket of his trousers in order to be able to retrieve it in a moments notice. He would also regularly wear a long flannel cloak that served to both keep him warm and to help thwart attempts by pickpockets to lift the wallet. During the evenings, the wallet was always placed on a shrine next to the man’s pocket dagger and ointment that prevented his lips from becoming chapped by the harsh winds that regularly sandblasted the less vegetated regions of the kingdom. Okay, sometimes the man would be so weary from his day’s adventure that he would forget to remove the wallet from his pocket before climbing into bed, but in those cases his pants were normally on the floor at the foot of the bed.
This odd relationship between the man and the wallet continued uninterrupted literally for years- many years. Then one day out of the blue, evil spirits fell upon the man obscuring his ability to sleep comfortably and causing him to see visions of monstrous objects of all shapes, colors and sizes floating through the air. These shapes taunted the man with the fire of dragons while the evil spirits whipped up winds and rains and further distracted him by intermittently blocking out the sun and stars. It appeared to be either the end of times, or the beginning of something worse.
After nine days, the sky cleared and the shapes vanished as quickly as they had appeared. The man celebrated this fortunate turn of events by eating a spiced pork sandwich and slipping off into a deep sleep. When the man awoke, all seemed right in the land… until he reached for the magic wallet with his hand. Like the shapes and winds, it too had vanished! What luck!
In a panic, the man searched high and low, near and far, even to and fro- all in vain. The evil spirits had cast a cloaking spell over the wallet making it invisible to all who joined in the search. The man was devastated.
Rebounding as quickly as possible, he set about contacting the wizards who had issued the powerful cards and potions contained in the wallet to make sure they deactivated them before they could be used against him. One by one he had to admit his loss, and promise that he would do better if given another chance.
Following each successful conference, the man would again conduct a thorough search for the wallet sweeping his entire kingdom. He looked in drawers and cupboards, on the tops of books, under books, even inside books, under the bed, in his boots, under hats, in the stove, in boxes, and in spare pockets of other pants, jackets, and socks (yes, even in socks). Time after time, the searches proved fruitless. That isn’t to say that he didn’t discover some interesting things. He did… but no wallet.
Three complete sun cycles had passed since the man had dealt with the last of the card issuers when it struck him that he had forgotten one that he seldom used, and immediately set about dealing with the issue. In that meanwhile, he had struck a deal with the maker of the finest equipment used by the noble knights engaged in baseball, the grandest sport of all the land, for a replacement wallet. He figured that this magic would be more powerful than ever, given that the gods of baseball would be smiling on the Rawlings brand. Little did he know that the magic would begin working quickly, and in ways he never imagined.
The man was working in his den during the dark of night as the carriage containing his new wallet drew closer and closer, minute by minute. He remembered that the king’s men would arrive at first light to collect the weekly tax of household trash. While he grabbed the small, round receptacle adjacent to his writing desk, the man’s subconscious teased him by informing him that it was the one place he had failed to include in his searches. Dumping the contents of the container onto the floor, he began rummaging through the rummage like a kitten playing with tissue paper.
Unable to determine whether the man’s red face was the result of his labor, or his embarrassment of somehow having discarded the wallet into the trashcan, this author can only relate the fact that the jester and wallet had been reunited. No thieves had made off with it in the night. Nothing was missing. The fact that none of the magic cards still in his possession retained any powers was nobody’s fault but his own. A lesson had been learned, but its meaning was immediately lost upon the man.
Once upon a time, there lived a man who was VERY happy with the wallet he carried as a result of a silly mistake he had made.