Buck was a strange old man, but he had the best collection of vintage science fiction and horror paperbacks and comics in Las Vegas. Every Saturday, I ride my Schwinn Sting-Ray to “The Fantasy Express” looking for rare or out-of-print books. I’m only twelve, so my budget is small, but one of the things about Buck is that he gives big discounts if he likes you.
“I see you’re staring at the Demon’s Cup. Interested?” Buck jerks his thumb up at the object of my interest on a shelf behind him. He takes it down and puts it on the counter.
“What is it?”
“Legends say it’s made from a pigmy skull sacrificed to demons.”
“How much?” I picked it up. It was really metal and maybe bone and it was heavy.
One of Buck’s special bargains. I had the money, but how would my folks react?
“Not today, Buck.”
“Your loss. Someone else will buy it soon.” He picked up the skull goblet and put it back on its shelf.
I finished shopping and felt relief as I walked out.
Buck had a week to sell the artifact before the curse of the Demon’s Cup claimed him.
When I was twelve years old, I really did ride my bike to a used comic book and paperback store in North Las Vegas every Saturday. I don’t remember the name of the place or the owner, but in retrospect, he wasn’t that old, maybe in his early 50s. He talked a lot about serving in the Navy during World War 2.
He didn’t sell cursed artifacts, which is lucky for me, but my comic book and paperback collections swelled thanks to my shopping there.
When I saw the photo, imagination collided with memory, and here we are. I just hope Buck makes it okay, but I feel sorry for the person who buys the cup. And to think my friend tried to foist it off on me.
The word count limit for this challenge is 200, and I just barely made it.