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Monster Come Home
Interesting? Yes! Pretty? No, was my initial reaction to the decorative item the customer ahead of me held in her hand.
The box was unusual. A purple ceramic dragon sat on a book, whose gilded pages had been stonewashed to give the appearance of aged parchment.
“Can you come down in price? The filigree is chipped in several places.” She asked. Her voice was soft and gentle, her blunt haircut envious as she swung her head side to side.
The cashier smiled an unfriendly smile. “What’s the color of the sticker?”
The purple dragon glared with hatred and its blood red tongue stuck out. I anticipated the mythical creature breathing fire in her direction any minute. The reptile had a crusty head and shiny gold scales decorated its back.
The customer raised the dragon box high to view the only flat surface a price tag might adhere, and said, “Red.”
“Red means it has already been marked down fifty percent.”
Putting the trinket box on the counter she responded, “Is that really the best you can do?”
I positioned myself counter side and joined the conversation. “It’s unique, only appeals to a niche market unless something of value is inside.” The shop was one that invited patron participation, more a second hand or consignment rather than antique.
The cashier studied the item with consideration, “No can do, that red sticker has the final say, that’s the price. Twenty-five dollars, if you want it.”
“I’ll think about it, perhaps come back.” She returned the box to the spot in which she had found it.
The elaborate details appeared to confine the dragon in ways I had not noticed before. Was he breaking out or settling in?
I studied the disappointed on her face. Her eyes were hazel and when she closed them, thick black lashes sealed the lids. Opening them, she swallowed hard pressing her lips. I put my hand on her arm and said, “Why don’t you open it?”
We have been friends since.