The sky was as clear as my future is not. I thought of Marty Feldman as Igor in the movie Young Frankenstein, and his classic line: “It could be worse; it could be raining.” With that thought, the sky opened up and I was standing in the Niagara Falls, instantly soaked to the bone. If I’d had an umbrella with me, I wouldn’t have been able to unsheathe it in time to save myself from that baptismal ablution. The downpour came out of nowhere.
That morning had been a complete wasted effort, not to mention the time expelled updating my resume, the cost a of taxi, the years of study. That man was beyond rude. No job would be worth the misery of working for him… Jack Smart. I wondered if his middle name is Ass. I would figure something else out. My savings were not completely depleted, yet.
With my back against the brick walls of the buildings I clung to, I crab walked into the first business I found. The bell rang when I push the door open. I could see the floating dust particles reflected in a dim ray of light that the open door sent into the sepulchral abyss. I bent to avoid hitting my head as I descend the four steps into the dark establishment.
The smell of old books filled the air, and I breathed deep. That smell is one I appreciate. I love my old books. It appeared that I had entered an antique shop with quite a collection of books. I could happily spend some time perusing those shelves, as well as the furniture and other items in the store, while I waited for an improvement in the weather.
“Young woman, you are soaking wet! You have left a puddle on my floor, and don’t think about touching those books!” This booming voice made me jump. I turned in time to see Methuselah ingress the catacomb of the establishment. My eyes gradually adjusted to the dim light and his decrepit visage came into full view.
“Oh, I haven’t touched anything. I was just looking.” I looked at my feet and saw that he was correct, I had left a puddle on his lovely cracked concrete floor. “I am sorry about the water.” He was holding a stick and for a minute I thought he was going to straddle it and fly away. Then I realized that it was a mop. He handed it to me. I took it and proceeded to mop up my puddle.
That is how I came to work at Mathias Antiques three months ago. It turns out his name is Mathias, not Methuselah. He’s actually not scary at all. He has become the paternal figure that had been missing in my life. I organize the books on his shelves and help him research their value.
The furniture and other trinkets are equally valuable and also need research into their origins to ensure that their value is appropriated when sold. This is a job close to my heart. I get lost in the research of these items. I imagine who the original owners were, and what the times were like back when the relics were new. I day dream almost constantly while I work.
For this, I blame my mother… and those villainous fiends the Grimm’s…Wilhelm and Jacob. Those 19h century romanticism pushers, the authors of all those fairy tales that are my excuse for being single, and alone. They set an impossibly high standard for men. They are why my future is set.
I am to be an old woman in a tiny apartment, with countless cats, reading romance novels, and watching BBC adaptations of the Austen and Bronte novels. Thank you mom for repeatedly reading all those stories to me in my most formative years. My personal life may be pathetic, but at least I love my job.
The bell on the door of the store jingles and I look to see who has entered. It appears my customer is Jack (Ass) Smart.
To be continued…
New post on The Daily Post:
by Ben Huberman
It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!