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Grandad and the Lockbox

by Andrew Hansen Grandad was a carpenter. Ollie knew this before he was old enough to pronounce the word, but intuitive enough to appreciate its incantation. Its syllables never galloped off Grandad’s lips; they sang. The work was its own music. Mahogany. Cedar. Poplar. Teak. Ollie could tell the difference between woods before he could read most books, though he would always contend the vocabulary was too tender, too melodious, for the Roman alphabet. Grandad had adopted the craft and converted his basement into a workshop not long after Grandma passed, the Grandma Ollie never met. More than once, Ollie wanted to ask if Grandma had known of Grandad’s magic, but that was before Ollie learned most carpenters didn’t deal in world-smithing like his did. Ollie didn’t remember the first time Grandad had shown him the Lockbox. The dim image of Grandad’s taut frame curled over it, stroking the sides with paper, like an ancient artist sinewing King David or some Mediterranean god from marb

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