The Ornament Maker

There was once a common man who sought health and pleasure. He, Mark Grim, thought himself ‘common,’ anyway. A simple enough life and story he lived for his first twenty five years, as a college student, he decided to take a break and work for a while. With over three years of education, he had not slept well during those times and was classically ‘burned out.’ He worked a job and made ornaments, studied occult texts. The ornaments came to life, and occurrences ensued… (Sally solves a complicated mystery, Grim not the… ).

“Good morning, Mr. Grim,” said Sally Witherspoon. “Good Morning, Sally,” said he, “You are early?” “I knew I was cutting it close and did not want to take my chances.” “You make your own schedule to work here, and you worry for being on time?” “I like to be on time, to be here when you want, and I appreciate the flexibility.” “Your current art project?” “In the works. Coming along fine. Other students don’t seem to ‘get it,’ short one or two of twenty or so.” “Their sculptures may compete?” “Already do. We have separate work areas at the University, yet a few students have shown me their projects. One or two of them will surely promote some form of thought.” “And yours is of a kind of waterfall?” “The assignment is meant to convey some meaning; I went with a kind of ‘cycle of life, rolling stones travel mossless,’ kind of an idea.” “Well, I am sure it will work out. I am going to step out for a bite to eat; I should be back in a few hours.” “Okay.”

Mr. Grim left and Sally exhaled. An interesting man, she dared never to curiously seek his creative motivations. “Always for goodness,” he once said. “I am an artist,” thought Sally on more than one occasion, and during those thoughts she would look upon the various shelves of Christmas ornaments, some lifelike and some decorative or ‘geometric.’ She would think, “And as an artist, most things seem to present a notion of sorts, yet these things present some mysterious element of fear.”

And, of course, time then seemed to stop. She relaxed, took in the rest of her familiar surroundings and walked to behind the cash register to settle her belongings. Usually, business was slow enough for her to study some while the occasional pedestrian waltzing non-nonchalantly flittered through the doorway to inspect never-seen-before, or at least rare, curiosities. Sales were usually most promising with parents who enjoyed Christmas shopping.

Caught up with her studies, for then, anyhow, Sally gazed upon the hundreds of figurines, wondering if she simply did nothing at all time would continue to stand still. There for a short while, she was ‘nearly’ convinced that, so long as nothing moved, time must have stopped. A small part of her knew full well; however, that time moves as objects fall within the laws of physics, that nothing so peaceful lasts forever.

With minimal surprise, the front door to the small sales place opened in common fashion, and a seemingly intelligible man walked in, cautiously, wearing a full-brimmed hat that somehow nearly masked him. He stood in the doorway for a moment, as if, depending on his welcome, he could flee. “How may I help you?” asked Sally. “What, may I ask, sort of business is conducted here?” “We sell Christmas ornaments. They are made by hand and some deem them magical.” “Magic?” “‘Some.'” “I  see.” “How much are they?” Sally, feeling like she could have been more hospitable, carefully got up to better greet a person some part of her did fear, somehow.

“Well, let me show you,” she said, politely guiding the pedestrian from the light of the front window to the shadows of the ornament shelves. The man’s site returned from the change in light after a brief moment, and he was impressed with the ambient yet colorful and fading lighting, the ornaments, and the obvious attention to detail that must have gone into their making.

“These front shelves are for mostly anyone and display items that are less intricate and more affordable, for most. They are eighteen plus tax.” “Any of them?” “All eight of these shelves.” “I see their value; even of these that are ‘more affordable;’ mind if I take a look around?” “Nope. I will be behind the register if you need assistance.” The man noticed the small signs that said, “No touching, please,” and meandered throughout the small store.

Sally attempted to not keep an eye on him, yet he was seemingly intrigued with nearly each ornament. How, given the time he was there, was a seeming perplexity. “I see this one shelf is set aside, there, in a glass case, and a little harder to reach than the rest of the items.” “Sure. Those are special.” “Why?” “Supposed reasons. Those are the most intricate, made of the most costly materials, and possess the most meaning, magical force or depth or whatever.” “Interesting. There is no price on them; the most expensive shelf lists each item for eighty nine.” “Usually, if someone wants an ornament out of the glass shelf, they work a deal with my manager.” “I see. Is that by appointment?” “Sometimes.” “I may return to inquire further of one of those,” said the man, taking one last look at one of the ornaments in the case. It looked like the figurine of a Christmas ninja, and for one small instance, the customer wondered if the figurine was watching the front door.

The man walked to one of the shelves and asked about one of the more expensive ornaments, one he liked yet one that he chose nearly at random. Sally carefully packaged it for him; he paid in cash, left the change, and politely departed with such grace that Sally wondered if she had even seen him. She counted her drawer and it was accurate, and Mr. Grim returned a few moments later.

( 2 b continued, eventually 🙂 )

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