The Crown

by Angela Wright

The shop bell chimed. The moment I set one tentative foot through the door an obsequious manager swooped down on me. He was elderly, running to fat, and squeezed into a tight suit. I noticed that his neck overhung his collar. He soon assessed me as being too shabby and poor-looking for his establishment. His creepy smile gave way to pursed lips and a suspicious frown. Was I there to pinch something?

The shop sold very expensive jewellery and watches. Nothing that would interest me in the slightest.

The fat manager asked if he could help me.

‘I don’t want to buy, I want to sell.’ I held my head proudly, trying to fake a confidence I didn’t feel.

I saw by his flared nostrils and the sigh that he did not believe I could possess anything he would think worth buying. I pulled the cardboard box out of my tattered shopping bag. The gold crown nestled snugly in the box, shimmering and glinting in the shop lights.

‘I must warn you to be very careful, and not to touch it without wearing gloves,’ I admonished.

My advice fell on deaf ears. Breathing heavily the manager leant forward and picked up the crown in trembling, podgy hands. He screamed and dropped it back into the box. Almost immediately his hands turned gold, and in seconds the gold had spread, transforming his body into a solid statue. I thought he resembled a somewhat tacky, large garden gnome.

I thrust the box containing the crown back into my bag and made a swift exit, to the accompaniment of piercing screams from the young shop assistant who had witnessed her manager’s downfall.

The curse of the Midas Crown. I would try to dispose of it on eBay.

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