For @inventrix’s commissioned continuation of
“Lemonade sounds nice, thanks,” Jordan said, and stepped out of my way, finally letting me see the shop. Shop? This place was a space-time warp. This place was unbelievable. This place was…
Okay. Imagine the estate sale of the most obsessive hoarder you can picture. Then imagine this being curated by the most OCD guy you know. There was everything on those shelves, shelves filling up all but the center of the store, and every single thing was labeled. Everything.
There were labels in English, labels in foreign languages, labels in foreign ALPHABETS, labels in bar-code and a few in what I think was binary. There were labels over totally ordinary things – crock pot, circa 1970. Boom Boox, Magnivox, 1980. There were labels over things that belonged in a museum, and over things I’d never heard of or seen before. And, in the center of this archive of… junk. Stuff, we’ll say, because most of it looked useful. In the center of this stuff, there was a table with a ruffled tablecloth, four chairs, and an icy pitcher of lemonade.
“Lemonade sounds great,” I agreed, with feeling. It looked like the best stuff in the world right about then, even with the strange dress-up dance.
“Then come in, sit down, and enjoy some while you wait,” she encouraged us. “I’m Mrs. Gent, by the way, pleased to meet you.”
“I’m Jordan, and this is J.J.,” Jordan took charge again. “Pleased to meet you as well, Mrs. Gent.” I trailed along behind them, reading the labels, looking at the things on the shelf, trying not to be rude but wow, this place was a treasure trove.
Canned SPAM, 1937-1997, about a cubic foot of the stuff, in at least seven languages that I could see, and, yes, one of them looked like the original can (don’t ask me how I know, okay? I have some weird hobbies).
Radios, small was right next to Radios, tiny but three shelves above Radios, large (no mediums). The small ones looked mostly like antiques, although I’m not sure a 1991 Sony Walkman should count. (I had one of those, damnit. Nothing I owned as a kid should count as an antique yet!) On the other hand, the “tiny” category, I might have needed a magnifying glass to really see properly.
“Here, you sit here, and you, dear, sit here.” That set us with our backs to the door, Jordan facing – I checked – Teapots, unusual, which included one shaped like a rooster and another one I would have pegged as a bong, and me facing документы, which appeared to be stacks and stacks of ledger books. Mrs. Gent, in turn, sat facing the front door and poured us lemonade as if it was a high Japanese tea.
“This seems like a very interesting store,” I tried, yes, after saying thank you, I’m not a total jerk.
“Oh, Mr. Ting handles all of the business,” she pooh-poohed. “I just watch the store while he’s out. And make the lemonade.”
That was a hint even I could pick up. “It’s very good lemonade, thanks. It’s just what we needed.”
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