I wandered through the dusty isle of the junk shop, pausing here and there to look at an item. Gus was already besotted by the collection of moving comics at the front of the shop, refusing to budge an inch from the basket that held them. I walked aimlessly through the store, unsure of what exactly I wanted. That was the beauty of junk shops; people never know what kind of treasure they’ll stumble upon. Seeing a box full of scarves and gloves, I sat down to sift through the lot. There were a million different styles of scarves in here, from fabric-changing ones to mood scarves. After some patience I fished out the perfect one, a chameleon scarf that changed colour to match whatever outfit I was wearing. Standing up and stretching the cramp out of my legs I completed my trip around the shop and came back to the counter. Nothing was of interest that day, there were a lot of broken garbage and cheap tourist toys. Burying my hands in the silky fabric of the scarf, I walked over to Gus.
“Bookworm, are you quite done?” I said, my eyes gliding through the titles of the comics.
“Not in a million years!” she told me, “They have so many amazing comics here, I just want to stay forever!”
“Well I need to be back in ten minutes, so unless if you want to walk back by yourself, by no means continue reading,” I said.
“Fine Miss Bossy-Boots,” she pouted, scooping up a massive pile of comics in her hands.
“We’d like to pay please,” I announced to the stout woman at the counter.
“Your scarf would be one knut, thank you,” she told me.
Perfect! I thought as I handed her the money. I have just enough left to get us both ice-creams before meeting up with Ma.
“These comics are three knuts, Miss,” she told Gus.
As Gus fished around her purse for the money, I glanced around the shop once more. As my eyes slide over the shelf behind the counter, something glittered. Pushing my glasses further up my nose, I focused hard on the shining object. It was an amazing statuette of an angel holding an hourglass, her delicate form perching on a cloud. The smile on her tiny alabaster face called me invitingly. It was as though she was silently beckoning to me, whispering that I needed to buy the statuette.
“How much is that statuette?” I asked the woman, deciding suddenly that I needed to have the little angel and her hourglass.
“Two knuts, Miss,” she said as she wrapped Gus’ comics in brown paper.
“How about one?” I asked, “I’ll exchange the scarf for the statuette.”
“No, Miss,” she said stubbornly, “That hourglass there has a good frame of silver, I ain’t going to reduce the price for anyone.”
Reluctantly I reached into my bag to take out the scarf and an extra knut. Laying both on the counter, I waited as the woman gingerly took down the statuette. Catching Gus’ gaze, I murmured an apology about the ice-creams that we’ll never have.
“Thank you,” we said in unison as we left the store.
“Sorry about the ice-cream, Gus,” I said, showing her the statuette, “But isn’t she pretty?”
“Sure, but was it worth two knuts?” she said doubtfully, “I think that woman tricked you with her silver-frame speech.”
I said nothing in reply and clutched the statuette closer to my breast. I could almost hear a soft hum coming from the hourglass.