On a Quest

O

medieval – derive – molten – oar – rhythm
ears – antique – corn – daughter – yammer

“No sir, if you’re looking for a specific item, it’s best just to come into the store.” Then a reply unheard, followed by: “I don’t know if we have that oar sir, we have lots of watercraft pieces.” Ridley’s Antiques was where Harv Bishop was visiting on a Tuesday morning. He stood waiting at the counter; the store clerk, a woman maybe five years younger than Harv, if he had to guess, spoke on the phone in the back room. There was a rhythm to the way she dealt with the customers yammering on, asking about items sold in a shop that had no two the same and no website — a repetitiveness you could tell she was familiar with. Harv had his ears honed to the open doorway from which the one-sided dialogue came.

“Thank you sir, really, I’d be more than happy to help anytime here in the store. Okay, okay, goodbye.” Harv snapped to attention as the clerk came back out to the counter. “I’m sorry about that; hard to get them to hang up sometimes. How can I help you? You said a medieval…?”

“A medieval helmet. It’s for my daughter; she’s going to a serious costume party. So perhaps one that isn’t too big. Would you have something like that?” Harv said.
“Surprisingly enough, I do. Follow me, I’ll show you.” And the clerk guided Harv deep into the warehouse. They entered a section that became increasingly clustered with items and props out of the middle-ages. They had fake swords, real silverware — worn and tarnished, wreathes of vines and corn husks, chests, wicker baskets, a ladle for pouring molten metal, and many things which Harv could not at a glance derive the purpose of.
“Here we are,” the clerk said, highlighting a shelf with a number of soldier’s helmets of varying size and quality. “Do you mind if I just take a look around first?” Harv asked.
“Sure thing,” the clerk said, turning, “If you need me, I’ll be up front.”

Once the woman left, Harv took a helmet from the shelf, put it on his head, grabbed a silver goblet, a wooden sceptre, and began walking the aisles while talking to himself in an old english accent. He played there for nearly an hour, until a call of “Sir?” came from the front of the store. He then returned all the items to their places and left the shop, telling the clerk his daughter had changed her mind and he might have to return another day. 

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Benny Greeno

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