‘A Sale’

23:44 Fri 13 Jul 2007. Updated: 21:03 15 Jul 2007
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“Burnt her out, have you?”
So spoke the eponymous proprietor of Mr. Dreyson’s Shop, a small and rotund man..

My irritation must have shown, because he quickly followed up.
“I meant no offense, I didn’t mean to cast any suggestion of blame. These things happen all the time. Why if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be in business! Let us start over, I’ll have a look to ascertain condition, and we’ll discuss no more the origins of said condition.”

Grudgingly placated, I let him do his tawdry inspection.
“Yes, not the worst condition I’ve seen, but certainly not the best. Not by a long way, no, but I’m sure you know that already.”
I nodded.

“More or less good for nothing, we’re agreed, so shall we get down to price?”
“If she’s good for nothing, why are you buying at all?”
“Sometimes, sir, sometimes, under the correct touch, these things can be set right. Not that I’d say undone, but almost, and sometimes in the long run the change is for the better.”
“Undone? You mean, you can restore—”
“This isn’t a restoration establishment. And I don’t know of any restoration establishments either. So I’d let go of that right now, I were you.” I glared at him, but his avuncular manner didn’t waver. I hadn’t heard of any ‘restoration establishments’ myself. I stayed where I was and nodded slightly.
“Or did I mistake your intent in coming? Do you wish to buy?”
I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps that would do it. Yes, that could make everything better. “How much?”
“That depends, of course. Do you have any gold?”
“No. No, I don’t, no gold, and I’m quite broke. But—”
“No credit here, sir. None of that.”
“All right. All right, yes, I’m here to sell.”
“Six hundred.”
“Well, how much would it cost to buy one?”
“All depends, like I said, but I’ll tell you that the absolute rock bottom, worst condition, bottom-of-the-barrel goes for one thousand.”
“One thousand!”
“I’m not in this business for charity, you know. Buy cheap and sell dear, that’s the way the world works—least that part of it that wants to get by.”
“What about trade-in?”
“Absolutely not. No trade, no barter, no credit, no installments, no fancy derivative instruments. I accept gold, and I pay gold, and that’s the extent of it.”
“So when someone… buys… how—”
“Now lad, I wouldn’t think about that too much, it’ll drive you around the bend, it will. The hard facts are that sometimes they recover, wake up, do it all again. Not always the same, sometimes better, sometimes worse, sometimes entirely different. No way of predicting, neither. Sometimes nothing happens, and they’re brought back. No guarantees. But like I say, sometimes they recover, and that’s what the customers pay for.”
“Ah now, that’s what’ll push you over the edge. But different people have different ways, that’s all there is to it.”
“And what can I buy with the gold you’ll give me?”
“What a question! It’s gold! None of your made-up stuff there, just purest gold that’s recognized by all who know what’s what. And them that know what’s what have plenty worth selling, as I’m sure you can imagine. No joke at all, none at all, when I tell you that six hundred can buy many things the like of which you’d never—well, you’ve never seen.”
“Eight hundred.”
“We come to it. Perhaps you have another buyer, willing to pay so much?”
“Maybe another merchant like myself, operating unbeknownst to me in my patch?”
I had nothing to say, so followed a course of refraining from speech.
“That’s right. But I admire the attempt to bargain, you don’t see much of it these days. Six hundred and ten.”
“Six hundred and twenty.”

And so I left Mr. Dreyson’s shop, gold in hand, still weary but feeling somehow lighter, having sold my Muse.

2 Responses to “‘A Sale’”

  1. NiallM Says:

    I’d say you were done.

    Go back with some heavies you hired for 310 gold.

  2. Tadhg Says:

    NiallM: Hmm, somehow I suspect that plan wouldn’t work out well. And I suspect the shop might be one of those places that you can’t find in circumstances like that.

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