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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: October 21, 2020      Views: 82

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You are enjoying another piece of writing penned by the NUMBER 5 RANKED SCRIPT WRITER OF THE YEAR FOR 2019!!!

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Incident at Morton's Broken Hope Jewelry and Pawn Shoppe
"Diamond" by Brett Matthew West

It's happening tonight. I smile with glee and know that's when I'll tell the others about the delightful events today at the decayed Morton's Broken Hope Jewelry and Pawn Shoppe. The one found on the dim-lit corner of Little Elm and Hyacinth Street in the middle of Downtown Nowhere. Spider-webbed, the pane in the store's entrance door is as uninviting as the rest of the downtrodden structure. Fitting for what remains of a once vibrant neighborhood.

From my vantage point perusing the few iPods the establishment offers, I notice devastation brands into her soul. I know not who she is. Perhaps Methuselah? My gaze follows her as she struts to the ancient shopkeeper who perches himself behind the electronic cash register. Isn't hard to tell the manufacturer of the product.

Making nervous chit-chat, the lady gives her name as Diamond. She proclaims, "I've come to sell my most prized possession."

Intent on what I hear her tell the old coot, I meander to the end of the jewelry counter and notice a chunk chipped out of its dingy tempered glass corner. I observe the display's pedestal legs and listen closer to the despondent woman.

With disheartened puppy dog eyes, she says, "I pulled this ring out the other day, but the diamond had lost its sparkle, just like my marriage, which is on the rocks. Guess that's what happens when your man screws anything that'll spread their legs. Wasn't nuttin but a teeny weenie no how. Too bad he didn't catch a little fever to make his hen scratcher fall off."

I can tell Diamond has a story that will once again solidify my belief pride is the chief cause of the decline in the numbers of husbands and wives, as I've often heard that observation so eloquently stated. I wait to see if she will share her tale of woe.

Before long the words tumble out of her mouth. Choreographed, with each movement stylized, Diamond declares, "I picked him up off the trash heap at Tomasina's Dry Gulch Saloon, right after a broad who couldn't hold a candle to a worn out pair of crusty old sneakers dropped him. That's where sympathy gets you. Everyone told me the dirty hoity-toity was no good. But, would I believe them? No way. Not me. I just knew I could change him. We got hitched, and the first bun popped out of the oven. Two more followed. That was the beginning of his lowdown womanizing ways. But, like a damn fool, I forgave his infidelity and let his unfaithfulness slide right on past. However, this time, I simply can't do that no more. You see, I didn't know he liked both flavors. Who I thought was an Erica turned out to be an Eric. I'm done. I'm so over him. That's why I came in here, to rid myself of this noose dangling 'round my neck and get on with my life."

The simpleminded clerk seems aloof. He lacks interest in what Diamond declares. 'Twas almost like he couldn't be bothered. People like that dance on my last nerve, and I'm a chick with a bone to pick. Obviously, the eccentric codger needs a lesson in manners.

"Fifteen dollars and not one red cent more," he quotes her with a quick glance at the pristine two carat stone.

Crestfallen, and on the verge of crocodiles I didn't want to see spill, Diamond mouths, "Fifteen dollars? Is that all love is worth these days?"

A rumble emanates from the quirky storekeep. Probably caused by the Marlboro Reds he chain smokes, the noise sounds like the rattle of emphysema to me. His hand sweeps over the display case. Brusque with his reply, and irritation in his voice, he demands, "What? Are you blind you cock-eyed dingbat? Can't you see I have a smorgasbord full of the trinkets already?"

The jeweler's tone grabs my undivided attention. I sense the environment is about to get coyote ugly in a monstrous way.

"Your numbers aren't making sense," I interject into their conversation.

Undaunted, he scoffs and flashes me a jaunty high, hard, salute with his extended middle finger, "That's my final offer. She can take the more than generous deal or leave my store the way she found it, with you in tow, titmouse."

The belligerent comment terminally pisses me off. I register on his radar when I tell him, "I'm broke, homeless, strung out on meth, and have nothing to live for!"

Josiah, the name sewn on his shirt, breathes a heavy sigh. He rolls his narrow peepers in his gaunt face. My shiny pistol points at his egg-shaped head. The snub-nosed Glock's barrel presses tight against his grey temple.

I ask, "Do you? You pathetic pile of pig turds!"

The old man's withered hand trembles as he opens up his drawer. For that diamond ring he forks over five thousand more. A wise decision. Lucky for him the impertinent halfwit will live to see another sunrise. In haste, Diamond snatches the cash and scoots out the door.

With no place in particular to go, and all of eternity to get there, I stroll out of the pawn shop just in time to see Diamond frolic on the bus. She mouths a fond thank you in my direction then heads off riding the wind. I wish her well and saunter back to my resting spot in the Spring Hill Cemetery. Like the Artful Dodger of Dickens' fame, who I know well in another realm, a hard-working ghost's tasks are never done.

This Sentence Starts The Story contest entry


Author Notes
Phantom (XXVII), by Sean T Phelan, selected to complement my story.

So, thanks Sean T Phelan, for the use of your picture. It goes so nice with my story.

Sean T Phelan is not a nit. He did not place a . after the T so neither did I.

Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Sean T Phelan at

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