Bookworm, Flash-fiction

In the Antique Store

I never was in this antique store before. Truly, I never was in any of them. It’s hard to find a person less interested in the old dusty stuff that is pricy for reasons I don’t understand. But raining cats and dogs outside locked me in here.

“How are things?” I asked the seller staring at old lamps and plates and worn-out pieces of furniture.

“Fine,” he said. He looked like an antiquity himself. His suit was sewn a century ago, his face was scratched with deep wrinkles and his head was shaking. I almost heard how all his body squeaked when he ventured to make an insecure step.

“This rain…” I pointed at the window. “Do you have umbrellas?”

“These rains never come without a reason,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not a customer. You would never buy anything.”

“You’re right. I’m just hiding here. Why, should I pay for a ticket?”

“People like you have no respect for the past. You look around and see only dust.”

I shrugged my shoulders, “Am I wrong?” I took a book from the table in the middle of the shop and opened it. A couple of yellowed pages fell out on the floor. I picked them up and stuck back into the book, then closed it and dropped on the table. The dusty cloud it raised made me sneeze. “You see?”

“You didn’t read a line. You’re not curious enough to hear what the book was ready to tell you. You don’t see things that are right in front of you. You’re blind and deaf.”

I looked again at the dark-green cover. The title that used to be printed in gold was almost erased with time. I have an itch to pick the book up again, but couldn’t do it under the drilling stare of the old man.

“How much for the book?” I asked.

“I won’t sell it to you,” he said. “You don’t deserve it.”

“Is this how you run your business?” I grinned. “No surprise there’s nobody here, even with such a rain.” I came up to the window and looked outside. The downpour changed into a drizzle. “I think I can leave.” I turned to the seller, but he was gone, and everything else was gone. The store was empty and sank in the dark.

“What? How? Is it a trick?” I heard my own echo in the dead silence and rushed to the door. I pushed it with all my strength, but it didn’t open. “Let me out!” I cried.

“Pull it, idiot, don’t push.” I heard the old man’s voice. “Nobody holds you here. Or anywhere else.”

I pulled the door and stepped out to the street. The rain almost stopped. “What did I drink in the bar? What was the name of that green stuff?” I rubbed my temples. I looked at the light going through the antique store’s windows. I could see the old man standing next to the wall and readjusting one of the paintings. “I need to sleep it off,” I said to myself and stopped a cab.

“This rain,” I said to the driver.

“Yes,” he nodded. “Such a horrible weather. They say these rains never come without a reason.”

“Shut up and just bring me home! Enough of this shit for today.” I leaned back on the seat and closed my eyes. “Never again I come back to this neighborhood. But what was it that I drank in the bar?”


The Daily Post


20 thoughts on “In the Antique Store”

  1. A singular mini-story or is this part of something larger? I see you like/use a similar replay of words that I have in my own creative writing to give readers that little scare near the end, that haunting never-ending story feel.

    I presume you actually did enter an antique shop and ponder an old dusty book with loose pages. I’ve had this experience. But, the sales clerk did not speak to me.

    Your account describes the difference between a young, restless mind and that of one who is aware wisdom and knowledge can be found in old things. A child does not know why he/she should respect antiques. And, a lesson to anyone who goes out on a rainy day; bring your umbrella:P

    1. This is a mini-story written as a respond to a daily prompt, for me it’s like a creative writing excersize. You write just to see waht you can write.
      The idea of an old sales clerk comes from the prompt. I didn’t visit any antique shops lately, and the book is rather a memory of a libray or the used books store, but I don’t recall any particular place.
      It’s interesting that you saw a child when in my mind the character was definitley an adult, that’s why the bar was mentioned. As for the lesson, I didn’t keep any in mind, though I like your conclusion, the umbrella can always be useful 🙂

      1. Ah, a writing exercise. Got it. I do those without prompts. I just get in the mood to belt something out like a tune and hope I have time to get it all out on “paper.” I could do one of those monthly/year-long stints. But, I can’t commit to that presently. I don’t want to find myself cheating or disappointing myself when I can’t keep up if the internet or my PC fails me. The same happened before PCs when I was in a youth reading club. I fell behind, my family didn’t really work with me, and I felt bad when I was not up to speed with everyone else. Gosh, that was a long time ago…Velveteen Rabbit…

      2. Well, everyone has its own way to push themselves. For me, the prompts work because you have to do them right now and can’t postpone, and normally I am able to postpone everything and forever 🙂

      3. Prompts like that are fine when nothing can get in the way. But, I used to call those prompts school work and didn’t like it very much when one teacher prompted me to write a 20 page paper the same day another prompted me to write a 15 page one on a very different subject. I also didn’t like prompts at my first or last job when one boss prompted me to tackle one task before another presented a different one. Or, when I am trying to babysit when someone expects something else of me to get done. Funny how I can comment like this and suddenly find I have a blog post to make 😛

  2. Joan,
    A nice mysterious story, with a hint of some lessons- the reader is left to guess what the lessons are- they could be anything- that is why the stream of varying thoughts above.
    Surely a thought provoking story.
    To me the rains come to clean up the world; symbolically it can be taken as something to clean up the dirt in our lives and to see everything in a new light.
    Keep writing, prompt or not.

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