I found an antique typewriter yesterday. It was lying next to a beat-up square case at the end of Duke Ellington Bridge in Adams Morgan. I almost ignored it. (Rationalization: I did not need a third broken antique typewriter.) But then I slowed down. And I stopped. And then I stood there, next to it, like I was guarding it until further assistance came along, just casually waiting for a tow.

After about five minutes with no sight of an owner, I declared it to be abandoned. As I scooped it up, the ribbon came loose and unspooled into the road. I bent down and gathered the ribbon (“Nuthin’ to see here folks, my crazy typewriter is misbehaving again.”). Then I draped my sweatshirt over the machine and cradled it in my arms. As I walked, the broken carriage slid back and forth under the sweatshirt like a live thing, dinging sometimes.

I rode the Metro back, thinking this would be a good beginning to some kind of story. Girl finds mysterious broken typewriter on sidewalk. Writes murder mystery. Then the story starts coming true.

It is an Underwood Finger Flite Champion. It says “Underwood” in that crisp, clear font on the front of its metal body. It looks elegant even though it’s broken. All the keys are coated in some white chalky substance. Cleanable. Fixable?

Sometimes finding something really cool can make you feel like some benevolent force in the universe is watching, taking notes and dropping down bits of comfort when necessary.

The last time I found something especially cool.

See also: Found Magazine.

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