HE PAWN SHOPPE IS MY OWN. I added in the extra “pe” at the end to make like it's authentic. Even though it is. This place is dark and dusty as it should be. I often think about cleaning up around here: plaster that exposed grey wall that looks like old elephant hide, repair the broken tiles at the front, fix the spastic broken blind that has been tangled up in itself for years, put in industrial carpet instead of the shoddy lino around the counter area, but what's the point? People expect places like this to be dirty, musty. And if it saves me work, well then.
To be honest this place is more of a junk shop than a pawn shop. People just dump stuff on me rather than agree to come and collect it at a later stage. It's a funny old business. Not in a laughing giggly way, just odd. Like, first of all, everything is old. Nothing is ever mint, shiny. You get people's cast offs, things they can do without, unwanted things, neither beautiful nor useful. I get laden with people's shit in other words. You have to have the humour for a life like that. Think of it like this, 'slike putting on the TV and only ever seeing repeats, never a new series, never a new drama, just the stuff that you have seen countless times before. Same old shit coming back to you. On the tickets you can write descriptions of the stuff yourself, from memory, because you've done it so many times before:
Leather bound diary case: slightly marked on spine, gold watch: date inscribed on back, needle pin break on glass surface, blah de blah
Think of it like this, 'slike putting on the TV and only ever seeing repeats, never a new series, never a new drama, just the stuff that you have seen countless times before.
But like I say, people don't really pawn anymore, they just dump their load on me.
I inherited all this from an old guy I used to work with when I was a kid and needed extra cash to get cigarettes and take cheap girls to expensive movies. I stole from him quite a bit, took things that I thought might be worth something and sold them off in the schoolyard. Must have been my first showing of this keen entrepreneurial spirit! Maybe he knew I was stealing and let me get away with it. Dunno. Never worked it out. When I say “inherited” I mean only that no one else came to claim this place and I was the only one who knew anything about it, so I just stuck it out.
He passed on. Freddy. I went to the funeral and all. Even felt a bit guilty and shed a few tears. I had a few silent whiskeys in one of his old haunts and raised my glass repeatedly to him in my solitary hours. He deserved that much.
an old guy now. Sort of. Not last legs or anything, but getting there. I still remember him and all the advice he gave me. Much of it wasn't very good. I'm still here, sitting by the counter, looking out the window at people strutting off to offices, stores, skyscrapers. Freddy sat and did the same thing too. I don't know if what I do is success or not. I could be elsewhere. But that could go either way, sewer or millionaire. Ah, it doesn't matter, this place is actually quite warm in winter, tucked away from the winds that blow in from the east and the cars that slush the curbs outside and you don't want to be anywhere near those puddles in the shoes that you got.
Five-stringed banjo: slight scratches on body, black stain on fifth fret, white circular electrical fan: silver necklace with cross: some links slightly bent.
The word “slightly” comes up a lot. You can sell stuff with that word. People accept it.
So one day this guy, who even had a face like Freddy, the same beard and hooked nose, strolls in. Things had been a bit on the slow side, so to see anybody come in suddenly brought out my smile, which wasn't fake for once. And he says:
“I wonder if you'd be interested in this box.”
People often do this to me. As if I'm supposed to guess exactly what's in it. People expect games. Even strangers. Like I have time to play ga...Actually I do.
“Do you mean the box sir, or what it might contain?” My talk and all gets better when I have customers. 'Slike I've been really educated. Like my “shoppe” is a reputable antique store or something.
“Aha!” he guffaws, with a big grin, and he starts tugging his little beard like Freddy used to do when a situation caught his amusement, his other hand rubbing the lid of the box, which is like a hat box, only maybe slightly smaller, like it was for a tiara or something.