Mystery Package

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Corbett Redford is a starving artist who hits his absolute bottom in a spree of bad luck, until one day a mysterious package arrives at his warehouse. Corbett continues to tour the U.S with his band Bobby Joe Ebola and is still putting out records.

GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:

Now then, you can even ask singer-songwriter Sean Hayes, every artist hits their lean moments on the way to fame and fortune. Our next story - it starts with Corbett Redford. He's about to hit a new low and he's not sure he's going to survive.

CORBETT REDFORD: I am a notoriously unlucky person. I don't gamble because when I gamble, I always lose big. I don't win contests. I've had some waves of really bad luck in my life. Fifteen years ago, one particularly horrible - probably the worst wave of bad luck I've ever had, I was fired after coming home from tour with my band. And my friends who I run a record label with, they all let me stay on a couch. It was in a warehouse in the city. A couple weeks later, I was dumped on Valentine's Day, and while leaving my girlfriend's house and heading home, I got robbed at gunpoint. So it was a pretty bad day. I thought it couldn't get any worse, and then I went and I opened the door of the warehouse space. A sewage line had broke. My belongings were covered in filth. So I was like, I can't be here. I just have to get out of here. And I went to the communal space in the warehouse. And I saw this strange package that had just been delivered. I picked it up and I looked at the name. And it wasn't anybody who lived there. I knew that there had been a lot of people who lived there over the years so maybe it was somebody that used to live there. I looked at the address and the address wasn't the address that I was at. It was a different address. The next day, I picked it up and I gave it back to the postman.

A few days later, it came back. So at this point, it stayed around there for a few weeks. People would come home drunk from shows and stuff and kicking it around like a football, just for fun. And I remember a few times people kicking it so hard that it started to split. It was just beaten. So here I am, no job, no girlfriend, a lot of time on my hands. I look at the address. I'm like, that's just a street over. I'm going to go put this in the mailbox of whoever's house that it belongs at. I'm walking down the street and I don't see the numbers. The street ends, and it turns out this addresses just doesn't exist. So now I know why the postman was confused. I bring it back. I toss it back into the pile of mail. And one day, I see it laying in the hallway by itself, all dusty and beaten. I'm just going to open it. I went over. I picked it up, and I opened it. And inside was this magazine that was in a different language.

And the edges of the magazine were stapled shut. It was bulging too. The magazine was holding something inside of it. It felt like a T-shirt when I squeezed it. I cracked the top staples, and I saw a bunch a purple gift paper. I parted that paper. And there was a huge stack of money. I think I said, like, whoa. My friend, who was working on the computer for, like, the record label in the back room, heard me making this noise. I think he just sensed an urgency. Grabs his keys and goes, come on, dude. Let's go. I'm like, what are you talking about, man? This is stupid. This is crazy. He goes and parks at a park. He cranks his seat back, and kind of hunches over, grabs the envelope from me, takes the whole stack of money out. And he starts counting it on the floor underneath the steering wheel. I think every thousand he'd count, he'd say, like, 2,000, 3,000. There's $10,000 in it. I'm frozen.

So much is going through my mind. I made a decision. I said, I'm going to keep this money. There's the fear somebody's going to come for me, but I thought immediately right there, I was like, you know what? If you spend it, if you give this to people, you pay off your debts, if you put these records out, it will be gone. First thing I did, looked over to my friend. I was like I owe you money. He said, yeah. I said, how much? Take that, and take 500 more. Let's just do this. He takes it, and gives me back the envelope. He's like, what do you want to do now, dude? You just found $10,000. Go to the record store. So I went to the record store. I went and bought 200 records, paid a bunch of debts to a bunch of people who had been helping me. The next thing I did was put the money aside to put out four records for a record label. And I feel like that put so much steam behind us. It helped us carve even who we are today - put our mark on the world, if you will. Before I knew it, $10,000 that wasn't mine had been spent in less than a week. So a few months later, my friends and I were sitting on the stoop of the warehouse.

And this English guy comes up on a bicycle with one handlebar. He's wearing a tweed jacket, and he stops. And he's very whimsical. And he says, hi, my name is Blue. I conceived my seventh child on the middle stone at Stonehenge, and I'm an empath. I'm a seer. Bit of a psychic, he says. And he starts giving readings to a few of us that were sitting there. He was pretty spot on. He got to me and he said, you're the dreamer. You're a bright and loving man with a dark cloud that follows you, and you recently had a good fortune. And a bunch of my friends kind of laugh. He says, I'm on my way to gamble. And a friend of mine recently had a bunch of money go missing. And all the blood fell from my face. And I was like, that's a shame that that happened. He says, well, if you hear anything about it, I hang out at that card house down the block. And he rode his bicycle off.

So he leaves, and now I have this idea in my head that I know where this money came from. I had a lot of fear, like, you know, somebody is going to come break my legs. I'm telling the story now and I kind of still have that fear. But I feel like it changed everything. I mean, that money, it changed my life in the best possible way. It could even be said that it saved me and made me who I am. I know people win the lottery, but nobody finds a bag full of money. It actually happened to me. I'm not always that unlucky.

(MUSIC)

WASHINGTON: Corbett continues to tour the U.S. with his band Bobby Joe Ebola. That was their music you just heard. You can hear more of it and watch their videos that the mysterious package helped pay for at snapjudgment.org. That peace was produced by Jamie DeWolfe and Mark Ristich. You have found yourself at the end of the "Found" episode of SNAP JUDGMENT. Get it? You found yourself at the end of the "Found." If you did not find the whole thing, not to worry. Full episodes, pictures, movies, all that available right now for your pleasure at snapjudgment.org. And do we have Facebook? Facebook doesn't work without SNAP JUDGMENT.

That goes double for Twitter. Our handle is SnapJudgmentOrg. SNAP was produced by myself and an inveterate team of story trackers who have never been lost, only found. If you ever see yourself cruising down the road top speed, top down only to suddenly see flashing lights behind you? Well, don't worry. That's just the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They do not have the authority to make traffic stops. Petal to the metal baby. Many thanks to the CPB. PRX - the Public Radio Exchange, rolling the public in chocolate and peanut butter until the public taste delicious. PRX.org.

And finally, this is not the news. No way is this news. In fact, you can be chilling in your little home under the hill and have a bunch of strange people come knock on your door with a ridiculous story about some dragon. And you could follow these people. And just when you lose track of where they went, you could find a magic ring in a dark cave - my precious - and you would still not be as far away from the news as this is. But this is NPR.

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