Jewelry Store

"Excuse me miss, can I try on this bracelet?"

"It won't fit your big fat arm, sorry," said Lily not looking up from her book. She laughed. At the book and at her own words.

"Is there someone else I can talk to?"

"I'm not talking to you," said Lily.


Lily sighed. "Ughhhhhhhhhhh, I'm trying to read my boooooooooooooooook..." she got up off her stool, picked it up, and took it into the back room.

The customer stood there for a moment. And then she walked out.

"Another loser," said Larry, looking on from the security room.

"Indeed," said The Manager. "Only one sale this week. At this rate, we'll have to close up shop."

"Does Lily need to go?" asked Larry.

"No. Lily isn't the problem. We need stronger customers. The rabble, the scum who've been trying to buy my jewelry don't deserve it. We won't lower our standards. We CAN'T. If they can't even deal with Lily, how in the name of God are they going to deal with what obstacles the jewelry will bring them?"

Larry didn't know the answer to that. The only customer he'd ever sold to, before being brought into the back room, had turned up dead a few days after getting his watch. "A robbery-gone-wrong" the papers called it. Ha. Larry didn't even need the Manager to tell him that wasn't the case. Robbers don't throw you off a building and then shoot you twice in the head. It was a classic Clinton hit job. The watch had turned up back at the shop the next day with a letter written in some gibberish Larry didn't understand.

A simple Skyking automatic pilot's watch. It now rested in the small PRE-OWNED section in the corner of the store. The Manager took Larry out of Sales into Security for not sufficiently vetting the customer.

"It's no good if they're killed," the Manager said. "Every life is precious. And every death costs me to cover up."

The Manager didn't get into details and Larry was too afraid to ask, but he learned that day that the Manager was some kind of sorcerer-businessman and all of the items in the store were some kind of monkey pawish danger-magnets.

"Magic is a powerful thing, Larry," the Manager said. "If someone can't handle a little sass, they have no business messing with magic. Everything in this store is maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagic, Larry. Do you understand? Huh?"

"No, I don't know what magic has to do with anything," said Larry. "That guy got thrown off a building."

"OK Larry. Well you're in Security now, so just watch Lily. Learn all you can from her, because she's the real deal."

Larry sat down and watched what was happening inside the store.

Lily was standing in front of the door preventing a man and woman from entering.

"You have to wear masks in the store to prevent the spread of the novel Gatesvid-27 tyrona virus."

"That's ridiculous, that's not even real."

"Ahh, a science denier, eh?" laughed Lily, taking out her phone and pointing it at them. "Say cheese, racists!"

"Are you being serious right now?" the woman asked.

"Did he pick you, sis?" laughed Lily. "Ever heard of the Handmaid's Tale?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" But Lily didn't even hear her because she was blowing her nose.

"Any other conspiracy theories you'd like to share with us?" Lily asked. "Or are you going to PUT. ON. YOUR. MASKS?" She clapped after each word.

"Are you going to let us i--"


The man grabbed the woman's hand and the two walked away.

"Weaklings!" cried Lily. Then she looked up at the security camera. "I'm going on my break."

The Manager smiled. "Another set of losers saved from themselves."

He turned to Larry. "Did you see that, Larry? Humans are drawn to muh jewelry like moths to a flame. But only FIREPROOF moths can wear muh jewelry. Every bracelet, every watch, every necklace in this store is DOOM. You feel me?"

Larry wasn't really listening. He was watching Lily tie up a large aggressive pit bull outside.