Friday, 5 August 2011

The Market Price

      Friday's come around once again, and there's a new flashfiction challenge over at Chuck Wendig's terribleminds blog.This week's challenge is about flea market's and the kinds of stuff you can get from there. I tried to mix it up, and tell a story from the vendor's perspective. Somehow, though, the story kind of took off from there and went, well, let's just say 'left of center'. As always, comments are always appreciated and please to enjoy.
               The most important part of this business, kid, is finding the right mark. A lot of sellers at the market’ll play the numbers game, try to get as many people as possible. And yeah, I suppose that’s not a bad way to go. If you’re starting out or just don’t fucking know anything.

                How do I do it? Hey that’s a good question.  I like that. Shows you’re a lot smarter than you look. So my way’s a little more…selective. Where other vendors go for quantity, I go for quality. Only the special ones for me. Oh sure, I guess you could say that they’re all pretty special; you don’t get an invitation to this flea market unless you fit the special mark and you can’t get find us here if you don’t have an invitation. Them’s the rules and there’s no way in hell you can break’em.

                What? How the hell should I know who sends out the invitations? I’m just a vendor . I ain’t got nothing to do with that part. It’s management that handles that. You wanna know you take that up with them and you can find them right at the back in the dark shadow next to the boiler room. Yeah, that’s what I thought. So sit down and watch me do my thing. You’ll learn more that way.
 As I was saying the best way to get ahead at the market is to look for the best marks and you can find them by checking out their -- Yeah that’s right. I guess you could call it that. I like the term flavour myself but aura works just as good. You can read a mark like a book if you pay attention to their aura. For example…yeah, that one. You see her, the chubby one in the black t-shirt? Just take a look, a good look at the aura around her, the twists and whirls it gives off. What does it tell you? What was it that drew her to us, that made management send an invitation?

Yes that’s right; loss. She lost something very valuable to him…looks to be her… wedding ring. She’s not here to find it though. Which is good cause we don’t know where it is. She’s here for something else. Don’t call her over though. We’ll leave her for one of the other vendors.
                Now then, look what we got here. Tall guy in the glasses to your left. Take a good look. He’s prime. What’s his aura screaming out, hmmmm? Yeah, that right:
                ‘I should have been there when she died.’

                And that kid is a mark worth pursuing.

Excuse me sir, might I interest you some of the wares we have on display? Please have a good look; I’m sure that you’ll find something that catches your eye. How about this little ceramic unicorn statue or maybe this lampshade. Yeah, yes, it is a very diverse selection at this table. Take your time ...oh I see you’ve already found something. I have to say you have very good taste. Yes, it’s a very cute plush cat toy. It reminds you of your daughter? You don’t say? Well, if you want it I’m certainly willing to sell it to you… oh sir, no no no. Please put your wallet away. We don’t deal with money at the market here. It said so on the invitation you received. Oh course, I’m sure that slipped your mind. Now if you want it, please, just…yes, that’s it. Whatever you have in your pocket is fine. Some lint and old carnival tokens? You don’t say. I think we can make a deal. Kid, make yourself useful and bag the nice cat toy for the gentleman. Now if you could sir, just hand me the payment…Ah-ha.

                Hmmmm? No sir, I didn’t notice it get cold in here. Most likely a gust of wind I’d guess. This old warehouse isn’t exactly the most draft proof place in the city. Oh course, you have a lovely day as well sir.

                Now kid, take a look at this. This here’s the real deal. No, not the crap he gave me from his pockets, look beyond that. See that flickering light around it, the small glimmer that matches the guy’s aura? Yeah, that’s the stuff. A small piece of a soul in genuine, despairing pain. There’s nothing else in the world like it. You don’t see a whole lot of these at the market, and not too many other vendors know what to look for. But yours truly here can spot’em a mile away, and their worth their weight in…well, souls.

You see kid, that’s what we do here at the market. Every transaction gives the vendors a little tiny piece of the buyer’s soul and the more pain that soul’s suffered through the better the exchange. Hey, don’t look at me like that. I ain’t no necromancer, stealing souls like some kind of petty thief. Each buyer knows exactly what they’re getting into, what they’re giving up even if it’s only a partial understandin’.  And I know why they do it to, why they give up a little piece of themselves with each buy. It’s cause everyone here’s lost something or had something terrible done to them. And they’ve had to live with that hurt, that soul ache for so long that they just don’t want to deal with it anymore. They just want it to stop, period, and they don’t care how whether that’s through healing the wounds or just plain having it ripped out like we do here. I’m not sure what side we’re on in this, whether we work for angels or devils and I don’t give a shit either way. There’s nothing better in this world then collecting soul pieces from the marks and the …rush that you get when you get your hands on a new one.

Now you may think the whole thing's disgusting, but then again, you’re still here. I’ll give you one chance to walk away, forget all this and … oh, okay then. Good. Now that we got that out of the way, I want you to keep an eye out for any good ones. I have a feeling we’re gonna see a lot of business today. A lot of business.


  1. Love the idea of bits of the soul clinging to the money--love the whole creepy setup of this very special flea market.

  2. Very good story! : )
    Louise Sorensen