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The Antique Dealer

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Adam Carr, a fifty-year-old antique dealer stood in the middle of his emporium and watched shoppers as they examined his unusual antiques. Collectors from all over the world came to buy his statues, artwork, jewelry, books, and hundreds more antiques that no other antique dealer could offer. Sir Eric Morgan, holding a gold necklace and a dagger, worked his way through the crowd to Adam. “Adam, my good man, my catalog shows this necklace to be one worn by Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt, circa 3600 BC,” he said and showed Adam the picture in the catalog. “An amazing resemblance, wouldn’t you say, old chap? Was it made for you? If so, shouldn’t you label it a replica?”

“Sir Morgan, suppose I told you that it is not a replica. What would you say?”

“Well, Adam, I would say…I would say, well how could it be? If it were the real thing, the archeological world would have broadcast its find. I don’t understand.”

“Sir Morgan, we’ve known each other for many years. I would never lie to you. Tell you what. Take the necklace to anyone you want to have it examined. I’m sure you have an expert on your payroll who can tell a replica from the authentic piece.”

“That is very generous of you. I will take you up on your offer. Now, I would like to know about this,” he said holding up the dagger.

“My friend, what you’re holding is an ancient Roman dagger used by Brutus to kill Caesar.”

“Come, now, this can’t be the real thing. I mean something like this would surely have been lost. Where did you get it?”

“My friend, let me just say I got it. You may take both to your expert if you wish.”

“May I keep them for a week? I’ll have to fly my man in ­from London.”

“Of course. Take your time. If you will excuse me, I believe I have a customer,” he said and went to a woman who was holding a painting in one hand and her check book in the other.”

After everyone had left, Adam tallied his sales. “$100,000 thousand. Not bad. I will have to acquire some more antiques,” he said, went to his office, pressed some buttons on the lock, and the door opened. He entered, locked the door behind him and went to a sliding door in the wall and entered a walk-in closet. He removed a black jump suit, a black head covering, black gloves, and black, sneaker-like shoes. Standing in front of an ornate, full-length mirror, he put on the clothes. The head-covering, which was lined with Velcro at the neck, stuck smoothly to the Velcro that lined the turtle-neck collar of the jump suit. The front of the mask was made with material that he could see through and allowed him to breath as though there was nothing covering his face. When he finished dressing, he turned to see that no skin could be seen. Every inch of him was covered. Next, he took a black back pack that was made out of the same material as his clothes, and slung it on his back.  He looked in the mirror, and, after several moments he became invisible. “There. Now I’m ready for a shopping trip.” He turned toward his office door, opened it and saw a man trying to get into a show case in which there was jewelry.  He locked his office door and walked slowly toward the man, who heard him and turned. “What the hell. I thought I heard someone. Must be my imagination,” he said and returned to the show case.  Adam walked up to the case and slapped the man in the face. “What the *^%$,” he swore and put his hand to his face. Adam hit him again, knocking the man to the floor. “Jeez, this place is haunted,” he gasped and ran out of the building.

“Being invisible has its advantages,” Adam said, returned to his office, and went to the mirror.  “Mirror, I want to see Nero watching Rome burn.”

“Yes, Master. Look.” a voice said and Adam looked in the mirror and saw a city in flames. The vision showed a man standing on a roof top apparently singing and playing an instrument.

“He’s playing a cithara. If I don’t get it, it will be lost in the flames,” he said,   stepped into the mirror and set foot on the roof. Nero was a few yards away.  Adam hurried to Nero and pulled the Cithara out of his hands startling him.

“Mirror, make a portal for me, and an opening appeared. Nero stared as Adam went through the opening and stepped out of the mirror into his office. “This is a treasure,” he said holding the Cithara up. “Imagine, this was in Nero’s hands. Wait ‘til the collectors see this, especially Sir Morgan.”

A week of brisk business went by and Sir Morgan returned. “Adam. How do you do it? How do you get these? My expert said they are authentic. How much do you want for them?”

“One million for each.”

“Sold. And, Adam, I’ll give you anything you want if you will tell me how you got these.”

“I’m sorry, my friend, I can’t tell you.”

“Alright. If you won’t tell me how, may I ask you to get something for me?”

“Yes. What do you want?”

“Nero’s fiddle. The fiddle he played while Rome burned.”

“He didn’t play a fiddle. The fiddle or violin wasn’t invented until the 16th century. Nero played an instrument called a cithara, it’s like a lyre. Come with me,” Adam said and went to the cithara that he put in a show case. “There it is.”

“My God, Adam,” Sir Morgan said looking closely at the cithara. “Anyone else would say you’re a charlatan, but I know you are not. I believe you. I must have it. How much?”

“Two million. It wasn’t easy getting this.”

“Sold. Now, tell me, can you get anything?”

“I doubt that I can get anything. Why? What do you want?”

“Don’t laugh. I want the forbidden fruit. You know, Adam and Eve and the serpent.”

“You’re joking. The story of Adam and Eve is just a story. Not too many people believe it’s true.”

“I know, but if it’s true, then you would know.”

“Alright. I’ll try.”

“Great,” he said, he shook Adam’s hand and he left.

That night, Adam prepared himself and faced the mirror. “Mirror, I want to go to the Garden of Eden when Eve encountered the snake,” he said, and an image of a garden and a woman talking to a snake that was coiled around a tree branch. “Oh, my God, it’s true,” he thought, stepped into the mirror and stood in the garden. As he did, his clothes disappeared and he stood naked. Eve turned to him.

“Adam, come see what the snake has for us to eat,” she said and reached for the apple.

Nobody knew what happened to Adam. Sir Morgan thought he knew, but never shared his thoughts with anyone.

 

The End

 

Bio: While teaching communication skills and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. Since retiring in 2000, he has written short stories and novellas.

 

 

 





 

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