Pearl’s Junk Shop

Enduring Bones Halloween Challenge #2


On the corner of Franklin Street is a second hand store- oh wait they don’t call them that anymore do they?

The owners give their shops names  Like Sophia’s Faded Roses or Judy’s Attic.

As the saying goes, the first bite with the eye so Sophia would rather have your eye tell your brain you’re buying a sofa that  sat in a cabin by a lake surrounded by sweet smelling pine trees instead of the duplex two miles away and that the last person who sat on that little sofa ( covered in light blue fabric and stamped with tiny pink cornflowers) was someone from the coroner’s office who’s new shoes were pinching their feet like crazy and if they didn’t sit down they were going to fall down and have to be wheeled out on a stretcher after the woman who died in her bathroom a week ago.

My bus stop is right in front of  a little store called Pearl’s Place and Pearl, unlike the Sophias and Bessies of the world the   called her store, ” The Junk Store “like everyone else in the neighborhood

I’ve been catching my bus at the stop in front of the Junk Store for at least 20 years and it won’t surprise you to read that I’ve done a lot of window shopping at Pearl’s and I can say with absolute authority that in that 20 years most of the things in Pearl’s window have been in the same exact spots and have maybe been moved an inch or two in that entire time.

Last week I walked up to the window and among the dusty candy dishes, the chipped serving platter, the beaded purse and the ballet slippers that had been glued to a frame, a macabre trophy  of a happier time was a lamp.

The body of the lamp was sleek and painted silver, streaks of rust ran down it’s base. It was a tall floor lamp that  been hand crafted with someone with vision.

The body of the lamp was a mannequin and it was perfect as those forms usually are.

The socket for the bulb had been jammed into the top of the mannequin’s neck and perched atop the harp was a cheap paper lampshade.

I put my hand up to the window without touching the glass.

She had no head.

I found that to be very sad.

All of those smooth lines, graceful curves spoiled by that stupid shade and socket.

It was a crime and I decided to do something about it. I decided to buy the lamp in Pearl’s window.

Pearl’s cashier and sole employee is Barney.

Barney didn’t seem to surprised that I wanted to buy the lamp, actually he seemed more surprised to see what was written on  my ID card that was clipped to my Jacket Pocket.

I kept it there because the bus ride was free if you showed your employee ID to the bus driver.

” That’s going to be a heck of conversation piece. Where are you going to put it?  Living room? ” Barney asked me.

” I can’t put it in my living room like that. People will think I’m weird. I’m going to have to fix it. ”

” Yeah. I get it. A headless woman is sort of  messed up. Even she is just a department store dummy. You know, I have those wig heads, I even have some statue heads too. I don’t know if that’s what you want. It might not look perfect, but if you’re kind of going for the avant-garde thing-”

I looked up from the the little sold tag that I was writing my contact info on.

Barney said, ” I mean, unusual you like the unusual kind of thing, right? ”

I looked back down on the tag and said, ” No. Not really. ”

Barney cleared his throat and we finished our transaction. ” Besides. I can have my pick at work. There’s lots of bits and pieces I can choose from,”

” You know, I was afraid you were going to say that, ”

He laughed. I laughed.

My laugh though came as light and sweet as a Spring breeze but Barney’s light hearted chuckle  sounded like he had to force it up from his lungs to his mouth with a lot of effort.

And then I went to catch my bus to work-  where I  handle the day shift at the Phinney County Morgue.


2 thoughts on “Pearl’s Junk Shop

  1. I worked at a big city hospital in the late sixties. After midnight we’d answer the phone,” C——- City Morgue, you kill an we’ll chill ’em. The Medical Examiner thought it cute, but the hospital administrator made us stop.

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