My practice from the Write Practice prompt: Take your character into a Wunderkammer and let him or her re-purpose an everyday item.
We uncovered the first wall in our second week of excavation. For not knowing where we were supposed to dig, or even what we were digging up, that was a surprising stroke of luck. When Barnes made the discovery we all chugged down our morning coffee and grabbed our brushes and tweezers, driving out as fast as possible to the site.
It turned out to be a house, the foundation of which was barely visible after all these centuries. We discovered the outline of four walls. Some were remarkably long for the Entorian period. Could this be from an even earlier time? Possible. We kept searching as the weeks dragged on. Interior rooms came to light, along with bits of broken plastic and metal. Ramsey found a computer chip and we filed it away with the most valuable items.
33 days into the excavation Austin, yelled for me to "come see something." I abandoned my square foot of ground and went over to where he had just dislodged a strange object. "Is it metal?" I asked. He nodded, turning it over and over in his hands.
The shape was peculiar, a shallow basin several inches wide surmounted by a stumpy pedestal, with a much smaller and deeper basin on top of that. Coming off of the top basin was a slender loop that struck me as a handle of sorts. But a handle for what?
"Umm, let me get Barnes onto it." I called Barnes over. He looked annoyed at first, but quickly changed his tune.
"Oh wow. An Unidentified Object. This looks like a handle, doesn't it? It's pretty ornate, probably not for everyday use. I'd guess it had some kind of ceremonial application."
"Religious ceremony perhaps?"
"There's no reason it couldn't be. Maybe you were supposed to burn incense in that top cup and carry it around by the handle."
"Why the lower basin then?" Austin asked.
I spoke up, "It could just be for decoration."
Barnes nodded. "Yes, that's true." I took the UO in my hands and turned it over. "We'll have to run a chemical analysis, of course. I could be wrong, but this seems to be a container for liquid."
"Awfully small amount of liquid."
"But haven't you seen how some people spill drink out of their teacups and let it cool in the saucer? Maybe this is like a really small teacup and saucer combined."
"What would you drink with something that small? Lighter fluid?"
I got a brainwave and ran back to my golf cart. It was a quick ride to my trailer and I came back with a small bottle of whisky. "I may have just solved the mystery, gentlemen." I unscrewed the top of the bottle and poured it into the top basin of the UO (still a little dirty), to screams from the boys.
"Chemical analysis, Jefferson! What about that?"
"Oh, hush, whiny babies." I gripped the handle and took a sip. "There you go--an Entorian shot glass."
Waffeneger walked up behind us just then. "Is this a party I didn't hear about?" He took one look at the object in my hands, still holding a few drops of whisky, and burst out laughing. He literally doubled over, gasping as the rest of us stood in shock. When he surfaced, wiping the tears from his eyes, he said, "Jefferson, what on earth are you doing with that candle holder?"