us into August. I’ve chosen to share a fiction
story, and I beg forgiveness it’s a bit overlong.
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United
August 2, 2020
The box sat on the corner of his desk, as it had for all the years since he’d opened his law office. His grandfather had crafted the box for him when he was a child. It was made from the old walnut tree that had stood in the back yard of his grandfather’s home for years until it was struck by lightning. It was a simple box, corners carefully mitered, sanded and polished to a warm glow. On the front was a brass button which, if pushed, his grandfather had told him, would trigger the mechanism to spring open the lid. Joel Harmon sat lost in thought as he looked at it, remembering his grandfather’s words. This is a magic box, Joey. It holds a very special magic. There’ll be times you find things too hard to accomplish. When that happens, here’s what you do. On the night of a full moon, you rub the box three times, say “I can do it” three times, and you’ll find you can accomplish that thing that had you stumped. But remember, don’t open the box, Joey, or it’ll lose its magic.”
When he was a boy, the box sat on the stand by his bed . He remembered when he was six and got his first bike. Every time he tried to ride it, it wobbled and he fell. Every night he looked out the window of his bedroom at the moon. It seemed he took a hundred tumbles before finally the moon was full, and he turned to his magic box, rubbed it three times and said “I can do it” three times. Morning brought excitement, and he quickly gulped his Wheaties and ran outside. He’d rubbed the magic box, and he knew he would be able to ride without falling And he did.
Through the years there’d been other times he’d turned to the box, the last of which had been before he took his bar exams. Oh sure, he’d smiled when he rubbed it and thought of his grandfather; thought it really was meant for childish fancy; but somehow, as it had through the years, the box worked its magic and he felt a confidence that carried him through.
Now he had a successful law practice, and a six-year-old son of his own. It was time, he thought, to pass the box on to his son. But, before he did, just once, he wanted to push the button and spring the lid open to see the magic his grandfather had put inside. He drew the box to him, and pressed the brass button. The lid sprang open and he peered inside. The box was empty! But, on the underside of the lid, in the burnished wood of the old walnut tree, he saw the carefully carved word BELIEVE. “Grandpa”, he thought, “you sly old fox. You knew the secret to accomplishing something is to believe we can. You wisely gave me the most important gift of all.”