I had walked down that street a million times. I knew every nook, every cranny of that street, or at least I thought I did. It was no wonder that I had never noticed the shoppe; it was a shabby, unremarkable thing.
Milligan's Fine Arts and Crafts read the faint, yellow sign that hung in the grungy window shoppe. Displayed underneath, were random assortments of stationary, an old pair of boots, and several boxes of paint brushes labeled fifty cents each.
My interest was piqued. I peered through the shoppe window and inspected the paint brushes. There had to be at least fifty brushes in each box!
I walked into the store and immediately collided into an ancient standing lamp. Dust sprayed from the lampshade and I coughed trying to get the dust out of my mouth. Disoriented, I steadied the lamp and took in the shoppe.
It certainly did not look like an arts and crafts store. Junk was littered just about everywhere. There were shelves overflowing with old fashioned dolls and tool boxes. There was a refrigerator in the corner and multiple cardboard boxes of things. Tall stacks of books were spread out all over the floor forming zigzagging pathways for walking.
Milligan's craft store looked more like a pawnbrokers shoppe from the eighteenth century than like an arts and crafts store located in twenty first century in D.C. Nevertheless, I just had to buy some paint brushes.
Picking up the nearest box of brushes I sorted through them. They were in all different sizes and shapes and there were even a few sponges thrown in there. Perfect, just what I needed to do a few touch ups in my studio. Satisfied, I turned to find the register only to notice something strange.
It appeared that all the books I had pushed over and bumped into had somehow rearranged itself into its original position. It was almost as if I had never existed.
My hand tightened on the box of brushes in disbelief. It was nothing. I am tired and I am hallucinating. God, I really need to stay away from tea.
Shaking my head I tried to make my way to check out desk. I stumbled along the awkwardly set aisles, the dim light making it hard to see where I was going. But no matter how hard I tried to get to the counter, some obstacle barred my way. This was becoming ridiculous. Finally out of frustration I climbed over a pile of books knocking over a few in the process.
"Hey, those are very valuable and old books. If there is any damage, you will pay double for them," a shrill voice rang out. I jumped in surprise.
The voice belonged to a small, crinkly man with astonishingly orange hair. His thick accent plainly revealed that he was not from the city.
"You, clumsy fool, you! Coming into my shoppe and disrespecting my books," the old man continued to shriek, his face getting redder with every passing second.
"I know people like you-young scoundrels with no respect. Well you can tell the rest if them they want to try another trick on me, I won't stand for it. In fact-"
I cut him off. "Look, I am not here to cause any trouble. I just want to buy these, and I will be on my way," I said holding out the brushes.
This seemed to calm the old man down and in gruff voice he asked, "You're not here to steal my books?"
I shook my head as my forehead wrinkled in confusion. The man stared at me.
Then the man beamed and clapped his hands. In a high pitched squeal he said, "Oh my oh my! A customer! Welcome, welcome, welcome. Please do take a good look around. Oh, and I'm so sorry about the earlier episode, I really did think one of the rats had sent you. Melvin from the other art store has been trying to mess with my business. Please do forgive me-"
YOU ARE READING
The Genie's PossessionShort Story
"Don't you know me Nora," the strange man leered. Even though my heart was pounding uncontrollably, I refused to show fear. "If you come near me, I will call the police. I have 911 on speed dial," I threatened. He just laughed and took another step...