Sudden Downpour

“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.” You turn to him with a big, wet smile. You hold up a tarnished gold Aladdin’s Lamp. My golly, it looks like a genie would jump out at any moment. You stutter. “How much, much do you want…?” He doesn’t allow you to finish your sentence. He leans over and picks up a big dark grey cat. It’s not for sale. Never will be for sale.” Now you’re angry. “It’s out here on a table with items for sale. Is it that you don’t want to sell it to me? What, you don’t think college students have money?”

“If it were for sale, how much would you sell it for?”

He clears his throat as if he just drank bitter coffee and swallowed burnt, crunchy toast. “It’s not an antique. It’s a keepsake. You do know the difference, don’t you?”

“A keepsake is, well, a keepsake is…”I lean over and put the lamp back on the table. “Well, I don’t know the difference. Are you going to tell me?”



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