Everything You Need
A short story by Michael R. Lockridge
“What is it?” asked Tommy. He held the old canvas bag up and looked at it. He gave it a sniff, and was pleased that it did not smell as musty as it looked. It smelled old, and somehow smelled a bit like the sea. It looked to be about three feet long, about two feet in diameter, and it had a braided chord drawstring.
“It is a family heirloom.” Said his father. “Look inside.”
The request seemed silly. The bag was empty. Tommy pulled the mouth of the bag open, and reached inside. He touched something. Tommy almost dropped the bag. He gripped the object, and pulled it out of the bag.
“A book.” He said. “An old book. Leather.”
“The letters on the cover stand for Thomas James Morse. Your great, great grandfather.”
Tommy turned the book in his hands.
“Dad, the bag was empty.” Tommy said.
“Yes.” Said his father. He left the room and closed the door.
Tommy came into the kitchen to get a glass of milk. His father was sitting at the table, reading the paper. He folded his paper, and set it down next to his coffee.
“Dad, why aren’t we rich?” Tommy asked.
“You have been reading the journal?” his father asked.
Tommy nodded, and sat down. He put his glass on the table, and waited for his answer.
“What part did you read?” asked his dad.
“Thomas Morse was lost at sea. His ship broke up on a reef near an island.” Tommy related.
His father nodded, and encouraged him to go on.
“There was a seagull feather stuck between the pages at that part. That’s why I started reading there.” Said Tommy. “He grabbed the bag as the ship broke up. He made it to shore.”
His father took a sip of coffee, and waited for Tommy to go on.
“When he made it to shore, he opened the bag. Inside were this journal, a pen and ink. There were also a hatchet, a knife, some string, a small pan, and a box containing tinder and flint.”
“Everything he needed.” His father said, quietly.
“But Dad, the bag could have given him food and stuff.” Tommy said.
“What did he do with the things he got?” Asked his father.
“Built a fire to get warm and dry.” Answered Tommy. “He then was able to make a shelter. He made snares and fishing spears. He was able to stay alive for months, until a ship finally picked him up.”
His father nodded.
“He could have been rich!” Tommy blurted out. “We could be rich, with a bag like this!”
His father just looked at Tommy.
“Where did it come from?” Asked Tommy. “It’s just too weird.”
“I don’t know. We have Thomas’ journal, but he never relates just where the bag came from. He may not have learned to write before he got it. He was a man of the sea, traveling far. Some far off port, I have always imagined.”
Tommy thought for a while.
“It doesn’t give you what you want, does it?” Asked Tommy. “That’s why we aren’t rich, isn’t it?”
“No Tommy. It just gives you everything you need.” His father said, quietly.
“Everything you need.” Tommy thought out loud.
His father nodded, looking a bit sad.
“Everything you need.” He repeated. “Use it carefully, Tommy.”
Tommy nodded. He got up and went to his room. He looked at the bag for a long time. He then picked it up, and folded it carefully. He found a dark place, deep in his closet. He put the bag there, and then closed the door.
“Everything you need.” He repeated, and walked away.