Not A Penny More

 In Permanence of Wings, Today's Feed

Written by: Leni Sosa; Permanence of Wings

Excuse me.

(Pause)

Excuse me.

Yes?

How much is that?

This one?

No, that one.

This, my boy, is worth far more than what you can afford.

How much?

You want a number?

Yes.

(Pause) It’s not for sale.

What? What do you mean it’s not for sale? It doesn’t say ‘sold’ on it.

Why do you want it?

Why does it matter?

Why?

There’s a girl.

There’s always a girl.

She’s not just any girl.

She never is.

She’s a special girl.

Of course she is.

She says I can’t meet her family’s expectations or give her the life she deserves. She says I don’t know how the world works. This ring…it would impress her…I know it would. Something like this would blow Jonathan Danver’s class ring out of the water. I know it’s not cheap… probably have to put a few month’s pay aside. (Pause) So are you going to tell me or should I find a friendlier place to go? Maybe you don’t want my kind in your fancy store.

Am I not being friendly? Well, you should know you’re exactly the kind we want.

What? Look, I just want to know how much.

Let me offer you some advice. I don’t offer it often, you understand. (Pause) Sometimes it’s a girl. It used to be the Blues…now it’s often rock and roll. Sometimes it’s the bat or ball. They’re all filled with dreams and without me they’ll never fulfill their heart’s desire. Now it all ends the same way, but at least the guitar or the bat can give you a few good years…perhaps a decade or two. Let me reassure you that the girl…that special girl will wear out her ‘special’ very quickly. So, choose wisely. Think about what it is you really want if you could have it all. You may as well indulge in all the delicious things this life has to offer until it’s your time. What’s your heart’s desire?

I’m not sure what you’re going on about Mister, but I just want the girl.

Alright, you just want the girl. (Laughs) Let us discuss the price. (Pauses, closes his eyes and inhales, opens his eyes) What is that around your neck?

This? This was my mother’s.

And she is dead.

Yes.

She is dead, but it hasn’t been so long. She was a God-fearing woman. A ‘good’ woman.

Look, are you going to give me a price.

She was…

I don’t want to talk about my mother.

But why not, Christopher? You need to let it out.

Let what out. My mother died. End of story.

No, Christopher, the story’s just beginning. The rage…unleash that rage. You’ll feel much better. (Pause) The ring would sell for over $80,000 on the market. We sell it for $666,666.

Wait, did you say $600,000? You enjoy messing with me. Thanks for wasting my time.

No, I said $666,666. Not a penny less or a penny more. Well, I suppose the days of pennies are almost obsolete everywhere, certainly here. I don’t take cash, only credit – not a penny less or more. I still remember salt, shells, human bone. Metals came along. Now…

What are you talking about?

(Pause) I’m just an old one sharing the past, but your generation cares little for the past, doesn’t it? I suppose that falls in my favour.

Thanks for nothing.

Wait. You have a way to pay for the ring.

Short of robbing a bank…

Your locket.

Excuse me?

Your mother’s locket. I will give you the ring for your mother’s locket. No pricking of your thumb for a drop of blood…your locket…the locket of a good woman…a dead mother…given voluntarily by her son for a ring. That should do it. What do you say?

No.

No? Nooo? Do you know what that ring is worth, you foolish child? A stupid locket for a remarkable ring…and when you place it on her finger she will only see you. Is that not what you wanted?

There has to be something else you want…I can get you something…

No! Take it or leave it…the locket for the ring or stop wasting my time.

Okay. Okay. I’ll give you the locket.

What is it?

I…wait. (Pause)

What is it? Give it here.

Wait. I can’t. (Pause) “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold. All that you need is in your soul.” The inscription…I haven’t opened it since her funeral when they gave it to me, but it feels like I’d be spitting on her grave if I gave you my mother’s locket for some ring.

You can. Christopher, I know how lonely you are. I know you desire the girl and I can make it happen. Are you really going to pass up a fortune for a measly locket with absolutely no value? It’s just a silly inscription. A platitude, nothing more. So…

It’s SIMPLE MAN. It’s not stupid, it’s SIMPLE MAN. It’s a song. And it’s got the Lord’s Prayer on the back.

Lord. Lord. Who’s Lord? Where was the Lord when your mother died? Christopher let’s talk about this…

I can’t. I won’t. (Pause) Wait, how did you know my name? I didn’t give it to you.

Of course you did.

No. No, I didn’t. (Puts the locket around his neck) She told me to remember…the heart’s desire is not worth one’s soul. I remember, the heart’s desire is not the heart…so sometimes…many times…it can be its weakness. She told me the heart can lead one astray, she never wanted me to forget that.

We can’t seem to come to an agreement…so we won’t finalize a contract. Good bye. You can leave from where you came. If you ever change your mind…

I won’t.

Yes, I reckon you won’t. That’s too bad. I liked you. Yes, I liked you. (Pause) I can smell the rage from here. You would have been useful. (Pause) Go join the sheep. Leave while you can.

(Starts walking out but stops) You’re him aren’t you? She told me you have many faces. You’re the…

It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Christopher. Perhaps someday we will meet again.

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