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Abalone Jewelry

Bill and Harriet never spoke again about the huge suitcase they had found that night, stuffed full of silver picture frames and abalone jewelry. They figured somebody must have robbed some kind of upscale beachside trinket shop and then suddenly had to ditch the evidence when they suspected they were about to be pulled over in a routine traffic stop, or maybe they were on foot and it just became too heavy for them to be worth the effort. Harriet wanted to keep at least one piece of the abalone jewelry, and then turn in the rest of the suitcase to local police. Bill was of a slightly different opinion, however, and reasoned that now that it was in their hands, they might as well start parceling out bits of it through small, discreet sales of individual pieces and matched sets. He admired her desire to try and do the right thing, but he pointed out their current economic situation, and the years of struggle that surely lay ahead of them to escape it. They were in a moral dilemma.

The truth is they had always dreamed of owning and running their own abalone jewelry store. Bill's grandparents had been independent abalone fishermen who turned to the abalone jewelry business when huge international corporate abalone fishing fleets depleted local fisheries so drastically that it caused federal bans and Fish and Game restrictions to be enforced on the entire coastline, virtually drying up the legal abalone market. Not being the kind of people who were inclined to risk everything they had to embark on a new career in black market abalone sales, they had instead opened up an abalone jewelry store with a healthy head start on materials from a half a lifetime of shells collected while fishing the local coves and reef areas. One night after discovering the suitcase Bill and Harriet both had the same dream. Everything around them shimmered aqua green and blue, speared with bright crimsons and brilliant swirling yellow blossoms. Bill's grandparents were standing in front of them, holding out large dazzling shards of shell and calling to them. After recounting the dream to each other, they set plans in motion to sell everything they owned except the suitcase. One day they disappeared from town, and no one heard from them again.