The Incense Salesman
The Keeper’s Finds (Part 2)
A Cursed Object
“Good lord, that guy couldn’t spell for shit,” Cyrus says as he does the ol’ lean back in his chair to stare at his reflection in the screen. “Oh well. At least I’ll have some face-to-face interaction, right?”
The air conditioner hums as a cool breeze flows out the dusty air ducts in answer. Cyrus looks over to the paintings hanging on the back wall – the good paintings, not the garish pieces of shit he should never have taken but did because Hey, maybe someone’ll want ‘em for five bucks, who cares if I only get a dollar and fifty-six cents if-and-when they sell? Every penny counts in retail, so said my dad, who was a mason by trade – and their eyes aren’t looking back at him. He gets up to turn off some of the lights early so he can scoot right after this incense dude comes through, and purposefully takes the long way around the front so he can pass the paintings. The eyes don’t even follow him across the room. As he steps down into the back-back, Cyrus fights back tears.
“All I want is some human company, God. Is that so much to Goddamn ask for?!”
Cyrus doesn’t get an answer. He’s surrounded by inanimate objects.
Well, that’s not strictly true; here in the back-back of his store is a massive collection of inventory that Cyrus doesn’t necessarily want the town’s police officers to see if they stop in for a look-around when they’re supposed to be patrolling the streets. Among this collection there are bongs, firearms, blades far longer than the legal five inch maximum if they were going to be sold to minors, some taxidermy animals from distant continents that were stuffed before it became illegal to do so, and a whole display case full of allegedly cursed objects. According to the man who brought them in – he was really kindhearted but definitely a weird one; he wore a hooded cloak that was black on the outside and purple on the inside, and he spoke in a terrible monotone that made Cyrus want to brain himself – the cursed objects (and the display case in which they reside) are not inanimate at all; quite the opposite, to tell you the truth. They’re all imbued with the spirit of a once living being; the cursed objects all have a perception, a certain awareness about them, they all have quirks of character that will manifest in ways to change the life of whoever decides to use them. The cloaked man also said the objects were all extremely dangerous and should not exist at all, let alone be left in a shop where mortals could easily access them; Cyrus asked the man why he was trying to sell them if that was the case, but the cloaked man merely shrugged his shoulders and left the shop without another word. No contact information, no organized list detailing what the curses will do to their victims, nothing. Cyrus almost threw the whole lot out, but then he figured Well, they’ll probably move fast, there’s nothing like rumors of a curse to get stuff out the door. But yet here they stay, all these cursed animate objects sitting inside their cursed display case that Cyrus uses so his shoppers can look at what’s inside but never buy.
And what a coincidence it is that Cyrus hasn’t made a single sale in his shop since the day he got that case of cursed stuff. What a coincidence indeed.
Hey, that may change today though. If there’s anything Cyrus knows about internet folk who communicate through Omingle, especially those who make a living selling incense supplies, it’s that they just love to exchange money for worthless shit, especially worthless shit with a story they can tell to make them feel superior to those they’re telling it to. This is Cyrus’s chance; this Smells guy might be coming here to unload some free incense boards, but he’s going to leave with something from this display case. Even if it’s something small, like that little jadeite smoking pipe or the mickey mouse watch with the hands that cover the mouse’s eyes, Smells is buying a cursed object today.
Decidedly leaving the lights on, Cyrus walks back up the three stairs from the back-back into the back and then up into the front. He stops at the lounge area and, with his back to the door, makes himself a hot cup of coffee to fuel his upcoming social interaction. With a steaming Styrofoam cup of sludge in his hand, Cyrus turns around and starts towards his laptop with the shameless intention of performing some more Omingling while he waits for his client to arrive.
And that’s when he sees the djincense salesman.
Hello Commons, this has been the fourth subchapter of the tenth 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~