This week marks the 10th entry in Coast Weekend’s fiction writing series. Here is “The Diary,” a story by Tom Hallman Jr., a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at The Oregonian.
I’m sending this to the Chinook Observer from a motel room. Take it as a warning not to pick up a diary you may find in the bushes on Sandridge Road.
I found the diary in an antique store in Long Beach. The clerk told me another customer had a hold on it but had not come back to pay for it.
I began reading it that night. The previous owner, who lived on the peninsula in the 1950s, had learned about a man who pulled off a heist in Portland in the 1940s, and came to Ocean Park to hide. He brought with him $300,000, now worth about $3.2 million.
My diary writer learned the money was buried under a specific headstone in the Oysterville Pioneer Cemetery. He planned to get it, but had to wait until the thief’s son, who’d been poking around town, returned to Portland.
That night, my phone rang.
“That diary is my father’s,” a man said. “The clerk gave me your number. I’m coming to get it, and you.”
I left town, throwing the diary out the window on Sandridge Road. I’m the only person alive who knows the name of the headstone. If you read the diary, you will be the second.
Sometimes, too much information is a terrible thing.
Excuse me, I hear a knock at the door.
I’ll be right back.
Maybe it’s best hit “send” in case something happens to me.