“ED KEEPERS — DO NOT THROW AWAY!!!!” written in huge, ungainly block letters on the top lid, I peeled off  the old tape and pried open the box, having not the slightest clue what might be inside. What I found were 2 half-filled sketchbooks, 3 journals, each with only two filled pages, a stamp collection (when did I ever collect stamps??!) hundreds of 80’s & 90’s baseball cards, karate trophies, postcards from Japan, a “Canada” pin, a signed harlem globetrotters program, and a locked box with big heavy stuff rattling around inside it. I pried open the box with a screwdriver and found a bunch of junk gems, thunder-eggs, a wizard figurine, a necklace of a serpent coiled around a skull and sword, 10 egyptian pounds, a dollar coin, and two cigarettes that were at least 12 years old. There was also a folder of CDs which contained the following:

Aerosmith, “Big Ones”
Aerosmith, “Pump”
Aerosmith, “Permanent Vacation”
Hootie and the Blowfish, “Fairweather Johnson”
Green Day, “Dookie”
Alanis Morrisette, “Jagged Little Pill”
The Proclaimers, “Sunshine on Leith”
Various Artists, “Mortal Kombat – The Official Motion Picture Soundtrack”
Coolio, “1,2,3,4 Sumpin’ New” [promo single]
Korn, “Korn”
Queen, “A Night at the Opera”
There were also about 50 empty jewel cases, commemorative Portland Rockies program, 6 Electronic Gaming Monthly magazines, baseballs signed by old little-league teams, etc. 
This is the sum of what I considered absolutely essential at 14. I took one of the cigarettes outside and lit it. After the third pull I felt woozy and lightheaded, and stuffed it out. Inside, staring at the enormous pile of junk, I started to feel slightly sick. Maybe it was the gravity of the task ahead of me – emptying the entire house of a hundred more boxes like this one – becoming horribly real, maybe it was just plain terrifying to see my entire youth reduced to this kind of mundane, meaningless junk… Or maybe it was the lingering nausea of the decade stale Kamel Red. How is it that everything I once found so important was so hopelessly meaningless to me now? How is it that everything I once found so important was so hopelessly meaningless to me now? How is it that everything I once found so important was so hopelessly meaningless to me now? How is it that everything I once found so important was so hopelessly meaningless to me now? How is it that everything I once found so important was so hopelessly meaningless to me now? 
In another 12 years, I will unload an identical box, full of all the absolutely essential relics from our Albemarle move. Everything I consider worth saving from the vultures. Then, too, I’ll be unable to piece together just what anything meant at the time. I’ll have nothing but my own skewed memories, and some familiar furniture. Here, even now, I’m unable to compose the narrative, unable to reconstruct the sequence of events that led to the fall of Thanhouser.

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