A bell echoed, a cloud of dust arose as I pushed open the door to the curio shop half-hidden down a grouty alley. Grimy, fly-specked front windows held a jumbled display of broken crockery, disemboweled appliances, and tottering stacks of ill-used paperbacks.

“Mr. Jenkins?” I called out the name etched in faded gold letters on the door. I expected an equally rundown elderly gentleman to shuffle out of the darkened room behind a makeshift display counter full of assorted glassware. Greet me in a thin wheezy voice, peer with rheumy eyes through smudgy bifocals and offer me gunpowder tea in cracked Spode china cups mismatched with their saucers.

I never expected this vigorous man, mid-fifties, a touch of grey at the temples of his wavy, dark hair, and wickedly sparking jade eyes. He wore a flannel checked shirt and blue jeans over his muscular frame. Smiling warmly, he addressed me in a deep, husky voice. “How can I be of assistance?”

I also did not expect to find myself gagged and bound next to the Mr. Jenkins in the back room of the shop. While the pseudo-Jenkins stole the valuable antique bottle collection from the battered display case. {198}

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction 5.2.17

© Lorraine

Photography: © J Hardy Carroll

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