Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 -


by Jon Thorn
Published: Nov 07, 2013
Words: 23,776
Category: fantasy
Orientation: M/F
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The salesman held up the battered lantern. "Hard to tell when it was made, exactly," he said. "This model was patented in 1880, but they kept selling them right up until rural electrification in the 1920s."

"Doesn't look like it gives much light," Darcy said. Darcy was interested in light.

"Unless you were used to candles," the salesman said. "This was brighter, cleaner, lasted longer, and was more economical to operate."

An old thing. A Victorian thing. The shop was filled with junk antiques, inexpertly set out on shelves, overflowing into aisles. Someone who needed cleanliness and order would hate this place, but it allowed a feel for the old. "I would need to be able to operate it," Darcy said. "There is no lamp wick. There is no kerosene."

"Right this way," the salesman said. Darcy followed him deeper into the maze, and opened up her purse.


The goblet in the window spoke to her, the soft glow of silver, the subtlety of shape. This wasn't the kind of store she could afford, but maybe she could just go look. She entered and went up to it.

"You have a good eye," the salesman said.

Darcy knew that. She also knew that flattery was de rigueur for a place like this. "It doesn't look Victorian," she said. "This lets the shape tell the story without embellishment."

"One can only imagine," the salesman said. "Bunches of grapes and angels blowing trumpets and all sorts of clutter. This is quite a bit earlier. Georgian. George IV, actually. But a Victorian would have used it proudly, glad to show his family were well off that far back."

A thing glowing with possibilities. "I want to see it in lamplight," Darcy said.

The salesman smiled. "$2,100," he said. "Will that be cash or charge?"

Too much, of course. She knew that. "How much just to borrow it for a week? I want to sketch it. Take photographs."

"Or take it to get a second opinion on the appraisal," the salesman said. "Tell you what. Give me 10% down and take it. Bring it back in a week for a refund, or pay the balance at that time. Fair?"

Yes. She needed to see what the lamp did to it. How it might have looked to those who used it. "Fair," she said. She handed him her debit card and held her breath while it validated, because she knew she was getting close to empty. Time to see her accountant and get a refill.


The accountant looked somehow pained. "I was going to call you," he said. "It's better doing it this way. In person. You're done, Darcy. The money's gone."

There was this feeling of dizziness, of coming unmoored. "All gone?" she asked. She knew she had been getting low, but she put off the inevitable need for change.

"You live modestly," the accountant said. "You spent $22,000 last year. But sales of your art only netted $2,600. As your principal dwindled, you agreed to accept more risk. A decision which seemed sensible at the time, but then the market tanked. It's gone."