The Mysterious Matt Barnes travels the world, visiting the largest cities to the tiny villages in distant jungles. Going all these places, he still sends postcards and strange gifts to me. They are certainly unique.
One year, Matt Barnes sent a package that I could tell it was from far away because it was wrapped in rough, brown packaging that had been torn and taped back together. Inside was a coconut with a pirate’s face carved deeply into the brown husk. A seashell was the pirate’s eye patch. The scowling pirate forever frozen into the side of the coconut sits on a shelf in my room. The gift was an odd one, exactly the curious kind anyone would expect from an adventurer. And Matt Barnes himself had sent the pirate package. Addressed to me.
Occasionally, and completely without pattern or rhythm, Matt Barnes sent postcards. Sometimes we couldn’t read the quickly scribbled words because the ink was smeared. I carefully added each missive to my collection of Matt Barnes postcards and pretended they were secret messages just for me.
“Matt Barnes has come out of hiding for a while,” Dad would say when our family received a package or postcard. “He’s in Irian Jaya these days.” Or, “Looks like he’s enjoying the beach near the Cape of Gibraltar.” I would run to our globe and hunt for the place where Matt Barnes was. Sometimes, I could find the location easily. I found Rome. But locating Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada was tougher.
Nevertheless, I hunted—hunted hard—until I found the place.