Donald Humphries tried his hardest to keep a poker face as he picked his way through the final shed full of forgotten items. He didn’t often do road trips, preferring people brought their saleable items into his shop, but occasionally the cherry on offer was too tempting to ignore and this was one of those times.
Donald was an antiques and collectables dealer who operated a shop in the small seaside town of Devil’s Hand, aptly named after the rock formation which sat sixty meters off the coast line and looked eerily like a right hand with crippled and distorted fingers reaching up from below the water.
“How much you want for this?” Donald asked poking his head through the cobweb adorned rafters of the mezzanine floor holding an old ‘Life Savers – The Candy with the Hole in the Middle’ advertising sign.
“Gotta be worth 50 bucks,” Clem Davidson replied from the ground.
“Argh Clem ya killing me, I’ve gotta sell it for that. How ‘bout 25?”
Clem knew the sign would sell for at least $150 but inviting Donald out for a second pick through his shed was all about baiting the hook and losing a little money on a sign he had no connection to was part of that bait.
“40!” Clem replied, not wanting to make the game too easy.
Donald agreed half heartedly but wasn’t really listening to the conversation, instead he was letting his eyes wander not particularly focussing on anything but taking everything in. It was at that moment he spotted what at first glance appeared to be a Native American warrior statue sticking out from under a dirty sheet in the corner of the mezzanine. Trying hard not to appear too anxious but unable to stop himself moving like someone had lit a firecracker under his arse Donald was off.
The statue was brass, stood over just over sixty centimetres tall and depicted an angry Indian warrior with a scowling face, adorned in full battle dress and carrying a long handled axe. It was dusty, it was old and once uncovered Donald knew it was time to reassess his last offer.
“Ok Clem you’re not leaving enough meat on the bone with that sign but I tell you what, I’ll give you $150 for both the sign and this Indian statue up here. Watcha think?”
Clem knew that the value of the statue was way beyond any monetary value Donald would offer and the fact that he’d travelled to America and picked up the special item assured he’d never get his money back. But monetary gain was not Donald’s end goal, what he really wanted was revenge on Donald and the statue was that revenge.
Twelve months earlier Clem had invited Donald to rummage around his property and buy some of the stuff he no longer wanted. At that time Donald had been able to convince Clem that his family heirlooms were worth a fraction over $5000. Clem, who didn’t realise just how naive he was when it came to antiques, later found out that Donald had sold the entire collection for well over $100,000. It was at that time that Clem had vowed that he would make Donald pay.
After a lot of searching and many an hour spent chasing dead ends through the heartlands of America Clem was finally able to make contact with a Native American Medicine Man. The medicine man who simply went by the name of Ag was renowned and feared by those who knew him because his practises fell upon the darker side of the art. Unlike a traditional a Indian with morals, ethics and a sense of heritage Ag was easy influenced with cash and without much trouble Clem was able to offer a sizable donation to the tribal elder in return for the cursed statue. Calling Donald in for a second go at his place and laying the statue where he would find it was the next step in that quest.
“What statue?” Clem called out as he heard Donald shuffling around above him.
“Aahhh, doesn’t look like much. I’ll bring it down and have a closer look but it just looks like some cheap holiday memento, but I like it and think it will look good in the shop.” Donald said as he dragged the statue to the ladder thinking that he had Clem on the rails for a second time.
Once on the ground Donald placed the statue and the Live Savers sign on the ground together and looked at them as if he was studying them intently. Clem slowly circled the two items with a quizzical look on his face, he then scratched his chin as if in deep thought and said.
“Hmmm. Ya know I don’t ever remember seeing that thing before. $150 for both you say?”
“Yeah,” Donald said trying to add some reluctance to his voice to complete the act of the conman. “I doubt the statue is worth much but you’ve been good to me, we’ve done some good deals and I want to see you happy.”
Oh I’ll be happy Clem though, happy when you get that statue home.
“Umm, how about $200, it’s a pretty good looking statue?” Clem countered, in an effort to not seem too keen to be rid of the items.
“Mate, you drive a hard bargain, how about we meet in the middle? $175?”
Figuring he had Donald on the hook and all he had to do was set it Clem agreed and the two men shook hands to seal the deal.