While sorting through my late grandmother’s effects, my mother came across a piece which fills just about every detail of the MacGuffin cliche…

It’s a metal circle, a few inches across, with a bit of fluting and fooferaw along the edges. Taking up most of the surface is a design of flowing lines and angles that, if you tilt your head and squint at it, might be some sort of abstract bird. It came in a tooled leather pouch with some designs of its own, including a circle with a couple of tongue-sticking-out head profiles that remind me of one of those old Central/South American cultures. There’s a pin on the back, and a small circle on top – it might be a broach, or a pendant, or some sort of cloak-clasp.

And – we have /no/ idea where my grandmother acquired it. She’d never traveled anywhere near Central or South America, nor did she know anyone who did; and the object seems to have nothing to do with any of her other jewelry or possessions. And my mom said I could have it if I wanted it.

Now, Hitchcock said of MacGuffins, “In crook stories it is always the necklace and in spy stories it is always the papers.” So, should I start preparing for ninjas or the mob? Or should I, instead, expect one or more wandering adventurers to try to fetch it for their own purposes?

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