She moves through the little shop slowly, taking her time to look over each of the items with old, experienced eyes, until finally she comes across one that grabs her attention. She picks up the small musical box and gives it the once over before she opens it, the box begins to play a soft little song and she places a hand on her chest and smiles.
“You, you are coming home with me today,” she says softly as she closes the lid and makes her way to the counter. The young man smiles as she places the musical box down and pulls out her purse.
“It’s a fine choice,” he says.
“It is,” she replies as she pulls out a hundred dollar note. “I’m sorry, this is the smallest I have.”
The young man leans across the counter and looks the woman in the eyes, his deep blue eyes shimmer in the light, showing more age than his face.
“I can see you’ve got a fine eye for true beauty, I’ve got an item that just arrived that you may be interested in.”
“I just want the music box, I allow myself one reward each week, and today it’s that little treasure,” she says as she slowly caresses the music box.
“What if I told you this item, the one I have underneath the counter, will change everything, your whole life?”
“I’m not interested young man, I don’t have many days left in these old bones, and short of making me young again, nothing will change my life from what it is now, so please, the music box,” she says as she places the one hundred dollar note in his hands.
“What if I told you, it could?”
She laughs, “I admire your courageous fight, but I’ve been around long enough to know there is no such thing.”
“Maybe you have, maybe you’ve seen everything there was ever meant to be seen, or maybe, just maybe I’m telling you the truth, and underneath this desk I have something, that will tighten your skin, pull in your bottom, colour up your hair and give you the energy you once had fifty years ago, now wouldn’t that be something to marvel over?”
“I said I’m not interested, the music box is all I need, nothing else.”
The man pulls a red glowing egg shaped object from the shelf beneath the counter and places it in front of her. Her eyes grow wide with wonderment.
“How old do you think I am?” he asks.
“I said, how old do you think I am? Go on take a guess?”
“This is ridiculous, I will not ask such a question.”
“I’m seventy five,” he says as he leans back from the counter and smile.
“I don’t believe you?”
“Scouts honour,” he says as he raises two fingers in the air, mimicking the scout’s call sign. “I can even prove it,” he says as he pulls out his wallet and shuffles through its contents until finally pulling out a photo of two old men and holds it up before her. “This is a photo of my brother Randolph and me on his sixty-seventh birthday, I’m the one on the right,” he says proudly.
“Poppy cock, it proves nothing,” she says as she squints at the photograph.
“Look at my left arm, I was born with a birth mark and you can clearly see it in this photo,” he says pointing out the red blur on the man’s arm and then he pulls up his left sleeve and revels the same red blur, the woman’s mouth drops open and she clutches her chest.
“Impossible,” she says.
“Is it, or is it just that you choose to believe it’s impossible?” he says with a smile.
“How does it work?”
“You place it under your bed at night and over the course of a week or more, depending of course on how young you wish to be, and it slowly sucks the age from you as you sleep.”
“That seems awfully cheap for something so wonderful,”
“Call it a gift, of a sort, you see it only works once for every person, so its worth to me now is nothing.”
She quickly grabs another hundred dollar bill from her purse and places it in his hands and grabs the object from the counter and heads towards the exit.
“Miss, did you still want th…..” but he soon realise she cares little for the music box now and is out the door and gone, almost knocking over an elderly gentleman who storms into the shop and slams a bag down onto the counter.
“Where the young girl who works here?”
“Yes are you deaf, a you girl was working here when I can in last month to buy a present for my wife’s eightieth birthday and she convinced me to buy this shoddy piece of crap.”
“I’m sorry sir, but only my grandfather and I work in this shop, is there a chance you could be confused about the location of the shop?”
“I’m bloody certain it was here, she sold me this piece of garbage for five hundred dollars, promised me miracles, promised me it would make us young again and all it did was sweet fuck all,” he says as he pulls out a red glowing egg shaped object from the bag.
The challenge was to have an old lady walking around a shop, that was it, bang, done.