As a way to motivate myself, I chose to write a story in a Self Writing Challenge: 30 minutes to write a story (with occasional "throttle a toddler" moments).
Story Card ideas (drawn from a box of them my wife bought me):
monsters! (yes, exclamation mark)
person about to pawn an heirloom
Here you go:
Beckett's Pawn was a sprawling necropolis of toasters, engagement rings, numerous incarnations of movies and tv shows in different formats, as well as the nostalgic standbys of fendered guitars and other musical instruments.
Each toaster had it's own junky ghost, hanging around on jittery feet dancing and waiting for the next fix. Tools carried with it the hopes of hobbyists who had lost their jobs. Star crossed gold sat waiting for a new host, discarded by broken hearts and late rent dues. They also had Western Union, because, you know, some people needed to be paid without a paper trail.
Soren was not one of these penny pinched visitors. Being forced here, to Becketts, was an act of desperation not related to addiction or the electric bill being turned off. Although being alone in the dark was certainly a worry. If everything went right, she would get the final amount of money she needed to start a new life.
Beckett himself was at the counter. He was thin to the point of being an ectomorph, with a wizened face that sat perpetually on a turtleneck. No one was ever sure if they had ever seen his throat, and it was a topic of late night discussion as to what lay underneath. Almost as talked about was his shock of black hair that ran back from his forehead on an otherwise gray head of hair.
Beckett watched Soren approach the counter, slowly bringing his wire frame glasses down from his forehead onto his pointed nose: a vulture waiting with baited breath.
Soren placed a large cardboard box on the scratched glass counter. There was a long pause as Beckett regarded Soren. She was an unassuming figure: quiet, plain in her faded jeans and brown corduroy jacket. Her black hair was pulled away from her face in a severe bun, with thick strands that fell out and framed her face. The moments turned into actual minutes before Beckett scoffed and opened up the box. He reached inside and pulled out the heavy object on the counter.
“Well. This seems to be an artifact that could be placed here, if it wasn't actually valuable.” Reedy and condescending, he nodded his head up and down rapidly changing perspectives, looking through his glasses, then using his own squinting eyes. “Worth quiet a bit of money. You could get more for this on eBay than here.”
“I need the money without a paper trail.” She said, defiant. She realized her error right away, but recovered. “It's mine. I inherited it, but if I get rid of it outright the family will be pissed off. This way, there's always a chance that I can get it back. Online, all sales are final.”
Beckett arched an eyebrow, incredulous. The sound of internal clockwork mechanisms seemed to emanate from his skull, calculating time and space.
“This is quiet the family possession. You have an Ericsson Eiffeltower telephone from the eighteen-eighties. Rare. I would place the value somewhere at fifteen thousand dollars.”
“You can have it for ten. Money order. Here's my I.d.” She flung a set of cards across the counter. In less than a week it wouldn't matter whose names were on those cards, or even the face on it. This cash flow was going to pay for a plastic surgeon, and she already had a name chosen for herself. She was going to disappear, and never have to deal with anything related to the phone again.
Greed whet it's lips, but Beckett wiped its mouth and held it back. Just as he was about to ask further questions the shops phone rang. Both Beckett and Soren jumped at the sudden noise; Soren glaring at the Ericsson, Beckett staring at Soren. Without taking his eyes from her he reached below the counter and prattled off a very bored shop announcement.
“Wrong number.” He hung up the phone. “Were you expecting a call?”
“Do you want the phone or not?” She demanded, crossing her arms and looking away.
“We have a deal. Just give me a few moments to write up some receipts, and check to see if this is stolen.” He walked away from the counter and busied himself in the backroom.
Soren stared at the Ericsson. Her eyes traced the ornate cast iron legs, the twisting black wire. She scoffed at how texting on this monstrosity would be a horror story.
It rang. Soren knocked the receiver off the cradle. From it she could hear a voice, rich and menacing.
“You look so pretty, Soren. I see you. I always see you. I'll always remember your face.”
She hung up the phone just as Beckett returned. He reached across the counter and dropped a money order onto the counter. She snatched it up right away as she turned on her heal, making for the door.
“You forgot your drivers license. What's the hurry?” Beckett called after her.
“Monsters!” Soren called back as she hurled herself through the door and into the sunlight.
The Ericsson began to ring.
Why "Failed Daily"?
Because I fail to update daily.