The Incense Salesman
The Keeper’s Finds (Part 1)
A Phone Call
Like Cyrus’s fifteen minute car ride here, the morning and early afternoon drag on with an end that doesn’t seem to get any closer no matter how much time passes; unlike Cyrus’s fifteen minute car ride here, the morning and early afternoon last four grueling, polytonous hours, hours Cyrus spends listening to men who once had long hair like humans back in the days called primal scream and shout as to let that mother out (Get it? Primal Scream? It’s an old Mötley Crüe song!… good lord Cyrus is getting old). There are no customers, no cars come occupy any spaces in the parking lot – not even to get off the road for a bit and make a phone call! Crazy distracted Jersey drivers – and nobody calls in to the shop to ask about the auctions or the consignment rate. Not until Cyrus is about to leave for lunch, of course, because when else would it happen?
“Hello, you’ve found The Keeper’s Finds, Treeburg’s premier auction hall. This is Cyrus speaking, how can I help ya?”
“Yeah, uh, hi. I live in town and I’ve driven past your store a million times but never gone in. You guys buy old shit?”
Rolling his eyes, Cyrus says, “On occasion I will, but I’m much more likely to sell on consignment. Usually works better for everyone that way.”
“A’ight. What’s the cut?”
“Thirty-three to me, the rest goes your way. What kind of stuff do you have?”
“A couple wooden incense burners. Some dude messaged me on Facebook claiming to be an incense salesman and offered me a free sample, so I was like Hey, why not, right? I dig me some incense. Well he sent me the sample all right, and guess what!”
If there’s anything Cyrus loves more than potential consignors telling him their whole redundant story about where they got their worthless junk, ‘It just has to be incense burners, doesn’t it? That stank hippie shit,’ it’s being forced to participate in the telling of said stories… but still, he plays along. “What’s that?”
“He sent me incense cones, not sticks. Like, what in the fuck, right? Who in their right mind burns incense cones? I mean, it’s so low class; they all smell the same and the fuckin’ pyramid of ashes spill all over the fuckin’ place when you try to move it into the garbage after it’s burned. Plus, get a load of this, Cyrus – dude sent me two boxes of incense cones, and each only had a single cone in it.”
Cyrus doesn’t say a word, but he does debate hanging up the phone and going over to the Montane Deli and getting himself a frikadellan sandwich.
“Well, long story short…”
‘Yeah fucking right, guy.’
“…I wound up tossin’ the cones out, and now I’m stuck with the pair burners. I’d’a tossed them, too, but they’re not too shitty – made of wood, got some gold tone stars and crescent moons on ‘em. Got a big hole for cones and four little holes for sticks – those are gold tone, too – but nothin’ to catch the ashes fallin’ from the sticks. I got a few boards I carved outta beechwood anyway, I’m all good on these… so uh, you want ‘em?”
No, no Cyrus doesn’t, not even a little bit, but they’ll probably move fast in this backwoods town where the folk burn shit for the sake of watching the flames dance, plus, free consignor money is free consignor money. “Sure, I’ll take ‘em. When can you come by the shop?”
“I’m actually rolling through the industrial park right now, I live over in Cupsaw. I’m on my way out of town for a few weeks. Got a family matter to attend to down in Boca. I’m supposed to be bringing my nephew back with me, but we’ll see. He always came off as a little chickenshit to me… or maybe that was his brother. I don’t know, I don’t see either of ‘em too much. Brother’s dead now though. Sad. Anyway, you gon’ be there in five minutes?”
“I’m actually out getting lunch right now, uh, this is my cell phone… I’ll tell you what though, if you text me your name and address and just leave the burners in the mailbox back by the side door, I’ll fill out the paperwork when I get back and we’ll call it square. You’ll get a check in the mail when they sell. Deal?”
“Sounds like a plan, Cyrus my man. Thanks a ton!”
The call ends without the nameless caller saying goodbye. Normally Cyrus would be peeved, but considering the trial he just went through with that story, he thinks he’ll let it slide. Racing against the clock, Cyrus flips the front lights off and locks up, then takes off across the plaza to get his sandwich. And guess what! He’ll even eat it at the deli, too.
Hello Commons, this has been the fourth subchapter of the sixth story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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Be well Commons~