He felt the weight of it in his hands, and a thrill went into his very bones. He expected it to be lightweight. Like a pebble. Yet the Eye of Ra – a shimmering crystal no larger than a marble – had a gravity all its own, like a thousand stars packed into a tiny gem, that fit into the palm of his unworthy hand.
“That’ll be fifteen dollars.”
Ray reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He handed his favorite credit card – the one that earned him frequent flyer miles – over to the curios shop cashier.
The cashier, a short foreign man with a receding hairline and too much tacky jewelry, gave an impatient look. He pointed at the handwritten sign attached to the register: “$20 minimum for credit cards.”
“Right.” Hmm. Ray didn’t have any cash. He looked around. Something cheap. He just needed to add $5 to his total, and then he could finally have it. The Eye of Ra. Muwhahahah!
Or at least, that’s how he’d laugh, if he were some kind of mad scientist or evil villain. As legend had it, this little crystal had magical, mystical powers. Any person who owned it could manifest anything they wanted – riches, fame, love, luck, success, a free lifetime subscription to Netflix… In the wrong hands, it certainly could be used for great evil. In the right hands, it could create world peace, end poverty, or save the environment. In Ray’s hands, however, it wouldn’t do any of those things.
Ray wanted it for one thing. Finding love. He knew his soulmate was out there somewhere. But for some reason, he was well into his 30s, and they still hadn’t met. Ray was a sweet guy with brains, a big heart, and a good-paying job with benefits. Kinda sorta handsome too. So where was his special someone? What would it take for a guy like Ray to find love in the 21st Century?
He tried online dating. Speed dating. Asking friends to set him up. He took a salsa dancing class. He even tried “not looking,” because everyone said that’s when he’d find her. All failed in utter rejection, failure, disappointment, frustration, and heartache. Dating should not be this hard.
Then, by total chance and happenstance, while googling how to make actual salsa, he stumbled upon an article about the Eye of Ra – and just a few searches and a couple clicks later, he discovered that it currently resided in this very shop. If only finding a girlfriend were that easy. “Umm, here, add this,” he told the cashier, grabbing a handful of overpriced chocolate candies available next to the register.
“Twenty-two fifty,” he said. “You want a bag?” asked the cashier.
“Extra ten cents.”
And with that, their transaction was done, and Ray walked out of that little shop a happy man.
He reached into the bag and pulled out his prize: the Eye of Ra, a beautiful little spherical crystal, shimmering in rainbow light, glowing with an ethereal presence. Now, only one problem. He had no idea how it worked.
He took it to a busy public park. It was a beautiful summer day. Lots of people were out. Some jogging for fitness. Some having romantic picnics with their loved ones. Some playing Frisbee with their kids.
He held the crystal tightly in his palm. He closed his eyes. Focused. Felt his desire: love. True love. He imagined channeling that wish from his heart, to his hand, and into the magical gem. Maybe that was how it worked.
“Excuse me,” a gentle female voice said.
He opened his eyes. He looked over. Standing next to him was an incredibly beautiful woman – about his age, too!
“Is that seat taken?” she asked, inquiring about the open spot on the bench beside him.
“No, not at all. Please, have a seat.”
She sat down, holding a book in hand, ready to enjoy it on this nice day.
“I’m Ray, by the way.” He extended his hand.
She was about to respond, but then she got distracted by some kids walking their dog nearby. “Hey!” she yelled at them, “You better pick up after your mutt! If I step in one more pile of [censored], I don’t care who you are, I’m calling the police! [censored, censored, censored]. God [censored].” She turned back to Ray. “I swear, nothing pisses me off more than people who don’t clean up after their dogs.”
Okay… maybe she wasn’t the one either.