Your friend Larry asks you to drive him to a Saturday morning flea market. Ordinarily, you hate things like that; you usually do all your shopping over the Internet. But Larry gave you a lift last week when your car was in the shop, so it’s an opportunity to return the favor. While he’s in the corner looking at colored glass bottle trees, something in a box underneath a table catches your eye. You lift out a quirky little vessel to examine it more closely. The metal object in your hands resembles a tarnished gravy boat, and you can’t imagine why you picked it up.
“How much for this thing?” you ask the merchant.
He smiles, revealing a wide gap where his two front teeth used to be. “It’s an oil lamp,” he replies. “That’ll be three drachmas.”
“I’m fresh out of drachmas,” you say. “I’ll give you five bucks.”
You pay the man and tuck the lamp under your arm, oddly pleased. On the way out of the flea market, you glance over your shoulder. The merchant and his table have disappeared. A shock runs through you, and you wish you’d settled for decaf that morning.
You meet Larry as he lugs a banyan tree sculpture made of wine corks toward the car. He gives your lamp a dubious look. “That’s a piece of junk,” he says.
You stifle a smile. “Likewise.”
He pauses. “Wanna trade?”
“Not on your life,” you say.
Return next Friday to see which way the story goes. Whichever wish gets the most votes controls the outcome!
– S.G. Rogers