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Rated: E · Poetry · Fantasy · #2177383
for the cup. Life is funny, sometimes...
Theme: Shopping for the perfect Christmas Present, you meander in to an old antique store you've never noticed before. Time has no meaning here and you wander, entranced, by the items you see artfully displayed in old trunks or balanced precariously on dusty shelves. Antique furniture, jewelry piled as if in Aladdin's cave, musty old books, elegant hats of some long forgotten era. What do you find? Why is the cat (?)watching you? Why does the proprietor seem oddly familiar? Do you venture up the stairs to the second floor? Why do the wide wooden floorboards creak sounding like an old carol? Do you look out through the fogged windows to see outside and if so, does it look the same? Using some of these details, and more you come up with on your own as you wander in your mind's eye, take us on a descriptive journey to your finding that ultimate gift. Will it be as intended?

Words to use: piquant, befuddle, ring, set, cobweb, feather, gloss, spectacles, at least a four syllable word starting with the letter E.
Forbidden words: shop, store, buy, gift
Additional parameters: details, descriptive phrasings, find more than a simple gift. At least 48 lines, rhyming or not.


Winter winds blew snow sideways as
I wandered down Old Mulberry Street
bypassing establishments with windows
filled with stuff I'd seen before.
I was looking for something unique,
unusual: what does one get, afterall,
for someone who already has everything
anyone could need or want?

Sign declared Yu Musthavit's Emporium:
Open Nine days a week, except
for alternate Thursdays, the month of April
and every sixteenth blue moon.
Intrigued, I stepped around
an ice-edged puddle ringed with rainbows,
and looked through the door.
Fogged, hadn't been washed in a decade.

Brass-filigreed doorknob squeaked as I turned it, entered.
Piquant dragon's breath and lemon verbena scents
swirled inthe damp warmth.
Could see dust motes swirling like snowflakes
in the bright sun beaming through the windows.
But it was snowing... had been. Hadn't it?
I felt oddly befuddled, bemused and yet,
and yet, entranced. I felt pulled inward.

Black-walnut coat rack covered in carved unicorns
had a sign dangling from a hook--
In delicate tourquoise script it requested I:
Hang my coat here. It was warm.
Shrugging out of coat, scarf and gloves,
I hung them, noticed it seemed as if
they'd hung there forever.
I was puzzled but drawn deeper within.

A labyrinth, no clear pathways through Byzantium.
A long-haired and immense tortious-shell cat
blocked my path, oversized eyes peering at me
through a pair of golden spectacles.
Purring, (or was it growling?) long tail
swishing back and forth,
back and forth until it (apparently)
decided I was fit to enter.

Turning her back on me, she lept
up on an impossibly old schoolmaster's desk
that I immediatly wanted, needed, yearned for.
Cubbyholes, myriad tiny drawers, glossy patina
like maple syrup. Feathered quills fulled
a Toulouse LaTrek coffe mug. Leather journals
piled haphazardly near a two volume set of
The Man Who Laughs.

Impossible to find set of books
just sitting here, awaiting the discerning reader.
Not here for me: the mantra repeated itself.
Regardless, I lusted after them.
Three steps inside and I'd mentally emptied
my savings account for the next six years.
No prices to be seen. If you need to ask; you can't afford.
Story of my life.

'Can I help you find something?'
A smallish woman, looking altogether not unlike
the feline of a moment ago, who now seems
to have vanished from the desk,
and wearing glasses exactly the same, only larger,
spoke in little more than a sly whisper.
'What might you desire?'
Desire. Want. Yearn. Need.

This place is dangerous, I think.
'It can be, to the unwary,' she hissed.
"But then again,' now in rumbling purr,
'doesn't everyone deserve their heart's desire?'
I'm desiring everything I'm seeing but
the mantra reasserts: Not here for me.
'But for whom then? They that already
have everything? I have nothing here for them.'

Determined, I pressed onward,
past red felt hats the Queen might wear,
stained-glass Tiffany lamps with
brass bases shaped like castles,
around marble-topped table layered
in precariously piled blown glass orbs
awash in sea greens and molton crimsen.
Delicate lace hung overhead complimented by flashing crystals

Wooden, circular staircase beckoned,
yet slim gold chain blocked the way upwards.
'Nothing for you up there,' the whisper murmured.
Pulled inexorably back and back,
to velvet and heavily brocaided capes,
a painting of an angry ocean. Perched in front
a three-foot long model of the USS Constitution,
rigging delicate as cobwebs, as if braving rough seas.

I paused, knowing my husband would love ...
then a sparkle flashed. Open-topped pirate's chest
piled with golden chains, glittery jewels that spoke
of Djinn's caves. Oh, but wouldn't my friend
be in 7th heaven over anything in front of me.
Not here for her or my spouse, not for me, or my house.
A yowl at my feet, a caterwaul of indignation.
No time like the present echoed in my head.

'There are secret drawers in the desk, m'dear.'
My writer's mind surged. How perfect would that be?
I could see it so clearly, envision me writing there.
Worse, rereading a story again in books I'd searched for
for close to forty years. The two-volume original set was practically unattainable--
last I knew there were only four anywhere in the world.
'Three. One burned in that fire years back.'
I looked for her, saw only indolent cat sprawled on leather chair.

My soul craved both desk and books.
Knowing I couldn't afford either, I asked,
expecting the exorbitant, yet knowing their worth.
'Nothing. A boon, your bounty. You came in seeking
the unusual for someone who has all: these
I present to you. In the overall scheme of things
they are but a piitance. Archimedes likes you
therefor this is your Eureka day.

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