“X marks the spot. Well, if that isn’t cliche,” Sarah rolled her eyes at her boyfriend as she studied the map that was poorly made to look like a pirate’s treasure map.
“C’mon, it’ll be fun. Treasure hunts are all the rage right now. And I got a deal on GroupOn. You always say we do the same things. I wanted to shake it up.”
“I’m sorry. This will be fun and I’m assuming there’ll be drinks and lunch at the end. Let’s do this!”
Glenn unfolded the instructions and read Clue #1:
It’s been said that there is no there there. But here you will find your first and last chance to sip a hot beverage. Ask Tom for your next clue.
Sarah laughed, “That’s an easy one. Gertrude Stein’s quote about Oakland and our favorite place for Irish coffee at Jack London Square.”
Sitting on barstools in the tiny little wooden saloon overlooking the estuary, Glenn read Clue #2:
Feeling crabby? Skip across the waves and a famous pirate will give you the next clue.
“Hmmmmm. Crabby has to be Fisherman’s Wharf. But we don’t have a boat. Who’s a famous pirate?” Sarah asked.
“Captain Kidd? Jack Sparrow? Captain Bligh?” Glenn pondered. “I’ve got it! Sinbad’s! The restaurant next to the Ferry Terminal! We take the Ferry there!”
They nabbed Clue #3 off the tip of the pirate statue’s sword and slurped a dozen oysters, considering their next course.
Meet Red and GO winding down the street to leave your heart at my Gate.
“Red has to be Red’s Java Hut and the windy street is Lombard and obviously the Gate is the Golden Gate Bridge. But how do we get there?” Sarah asked.
Red handed them two helmets and a key to a three-wheel GoCar with the GPS course set for Vista Point. They laughed as they zipped their way down the “Crookedest Street,” through ChinaTown and along the Marina Green, finally arriving at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The GoCar attendant traded their little vehicle for a pair of bicycles and Clue #4:
Congratulations, you’re almost there! Follow the map to the treasure where X will mark the spot and a hidden message.
They stopped several times as they pedaled across the bridge, taking in the views of sailboats dotting the Bay and the majestic expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The map took them along a trail leading to Kirby Cove, the little beach made famous by Thomas Kinkade’s luministic painting.
“Wow! GroupOn goes all out! Who knew?” said Sarah, impressed with the picnic blanket and feast spread out on the sand.
Glenn pointed, “Look! Those pieces of driftwood form an X! That must be the treasure!”
They sprinted to the spot and dug in the soft sand. Sarah squealed with delight when she uncovered a box.
Dusting off the wooden chest, she eagerly lifted the lid, revealing a ring.
Glenn was on one knee.
“Sarah, you are my treasure. Will you …”
She flew into his arms, covering his face with kisses, before he could finish the question.
Written for the To Live and Write in Alameda 2019 “Flash Lit February” Challenge #5. We had three days to write a poem or short story (of 500 words or less) or draw a piece of art to the theme “The Hidden Message” and submit.
You might notice a link in the story … I’m adding my own stretch goal into each of these challenges by incorporating a link to one of my #TinyKitchen recipes posted on VivoOSonho.com in the storyline. This one is my Creamy Potato Salad … perfect for a picnic!
4 thoughts on “Hidden Message”
Charming short story with local SF color.
Keep on writing!
My kind of story! Nice.
Nathan AM Smith
Thanks for sharing this!