Today’s Writing 101 challenge is an interesting way to finish off our little three-part series on “lost and found”. Whereas the first two installments were based on real-life experiences, this one will be a fabrication based on a prompt.
Imagine you had a job in which you had to shift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you can upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile. Today’s twist: if you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.
You find the most random assortments of things left behind in hotel rooms. There are the usual things that lots of people forget to grab when they’re packing, like toothbrushes and half-eaten snacks; these we throw out immediately. But there are lots of other forgotten items that we put aside in case their owner returns. There are mundane things, like a pair of shoes or a piece of clothing that made its way under the bed, and there are odd ones, like dishes obviously brought from home and, in one case, several unopened boxes of Ritz crackers. Every so often we even find a sex toy…these are handled very carefully with rubber gloves and kept in double-sealed bags for no more than one week. No one has ever come back to claim one yet.
On this particular day I was looking for something specific, though I didn’t yet know what that something was.
I hoisted the tote where we kept our forgotten finds up on the table in the staff room and began rifling through it. I placed each item on the table as I examined and rejected them. A phone case without a phone…nope. A single fuzzy slipper…nope. What appeared to be the remote control to a video camera…interesting, but nope. The list of discarded items went on and on, none of them what I was looking for. A pencil case, an almost-full bag of paper plates, a necklace, a travel hairdryer, a horror novel with the bookmark still in it. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.
And then, there it was. I knew it the moment I saw it. I picked up the small, oval-shaped electronic toy and couldn’t help but smile at it. I hadn’t even known these things still existed. I’d been in junior high school the last time I’d seen a Tamogotchi digital pet.
I removed the folded letter from my pocket and read through the words again, words that had been written in pencil by a child.
Dear Miss Hotel Lady,
My family was at your hotel last week. I lost my pet and would you mind looking for him there? My big brother gave him to me before he left for big-people school and I miss him very much. Please look for him? Thank you so much!
I smiled down at the letter before snatching up a pen and some paper to write my own.
Good news! I found your pet and he is just fine! I have sent him along with this letter. I’m sure he will be very glad to see you. Please take good care of him in the future. He is a very rare breed!
Sincerely, Miss Hotel Lady