My Search for a Boyhood Friend Led to a Dark Discovery

Petey and I spent hours debating what to put in the tin. The treasure had to be something valuable enough that our grown-up selves would be glad to have it back. We gathered our best things and laid them out on my bed for inspection. Most of them struck us as childish junk, but a few stood out as objects with adult gravitas. I chose a Morgan silver dollar, a coiled-up trilobite fossil, and my finest arrowhead—an ancient beauty flaked out of petrified wood in which you could still see the tree rings. Among Petey's treasures were a squirrel skull, a miniature brass cannon from the USS Constitution's gift shop, and an intricate blob of lead he had made by …