by Mark Enlow
Cecil Bean knew the tarnished goose that warmed in his hands did not belong in his brass animal collection nor anyone else’s. The thought, ‘put it back down, now!’ came from so deep a place in his mind that he thought a passing antique store clerk had said it.
“Sir is everything alright, you’re shaking?” clerk Amanda Whigham stopped to ask.
“Quite alright, I think,” Cecil replied. “How much is this goose? There’s no price, but it’s the best-looking goose I’ve seen in the Brooklyn Borough.” Cecil handed it over to her for inspection.
Amanda turned it upside down and they both eye-balled it for a sticker. Cecil spied a dime-sized screw-in plug on its bottom.
“Sorry sir, no price, but if you’re interested, I’ll look it up in our book upfront.” She handed it back to Cecil. “Meet you upfront?”
“Okay,” he acknowledged. The goose was now heating up like a hot stove. He trotted up to the front counter with it and sat it down.
Amanda paged through the store’s inventory. Unable to find it, she phoned the store’s manager, Thomas Bright.
“Listen, Amanda,” Thomas declared, “do what you have to do to sell it at any price! Just get it out of the store! It’s been returned three times, and it’s been sitting there now for six months.” He hung up.
“Sir, how does seventy-five dollars sound?” Amanda questioned.
“Fabulous, I’ll take it!” Cecil replied with a grin and handed her the cash.
“Thank you, sir,” Amanda stated. “Enjoy your goose! I’m sure others have.”
“What? What do you mean by others…?” Cecil questioned.
“Oh, nothing, sir. I was just rambling to myself. Have a good day!”
Cecil darted out the door with his goose, jumped in his car, and sped home.
Just before sunset, Cecil removed the plug on the bottom of the goose and, with tweezers, he excavated a small scroll.
He unrolled the note and read: ‘Aunt Nellie’s Unique Antiques stocks treasures that will change your life forever—20 percent off your next three purchases.’
“Well… that’s a crazy way to advertise, but I like that discount!”
Cecil sat and admired his giraffe collection on his study’s display shelf. He muttered, “I’m going to go see Aunt Nellie first thing tomorrow and use my first discount on that porcelain giraffe I admired today.”
The next day, the store clerk, Amanda, scratched one red marker line on the back of Cecil’s discount scroll and handed it back to him. “Thank you,” Amanda smiled. “I hope you enjoy your purchase!”
Cecil arrived back home, placed his new giraffe on a picnic table outback then took an afternoon nap. Upon awakening, he watched as evening silhouettes of trees, swayed by the wind, appeared across the closed curtain of the second-floor backyard window. Something else cast a shadow there, too.
He rubbed his eyes and refocused on the curtain. It was still there—a life-sized giraffe’s silhouette. He hurried outside to find a 16-foot-tall giraffe munching on his treetops. The HOA isn’t going to like this! He thought. I can’t hide this guy either! He is cute though!
A crowd soon formed to watch the spectacle, followed by the city police department, animal control, and the city’s zoo officials who arrived with their transport truck.
Cecil posted bail after his arrest for violating the Animal Welfare Act and other city ordinances and drove straight to Aunt Nellies. Amanda wasn’t there, but Aunt Nellie was.
As Cecil wandered aimlessly around, an epiphany moment dawned on him. He reasoned; I’m not getting any younger. Maybe it’s time to settle down, perhaps raise a family.
“Now where was that pigeonhole section I discovered earlier with the Hollywood starlet statues in it?” he asked himself.
“Ah… found it!” he whispered. He looked the miniature starlet statues over carefully and chose Marilyn Monroe.
At the register, Nellie saw the one red stripe on Cecil’s discount scroll. She smiled and asked? “How did you like your first purchase, sir?”
“Oh… it was quite a large value for the money, but I couldn’t keep it,” he said contritely. It has a new home, perhaps for the better.”
“I see… well… enjoy your new purchase,” she replied, still smiling. She put the second red stripe on the back of his discount paper and handed it back.
Cecil arrived home and set Marilyn on the kitchen table, watched a little TV, and went to bed early.
The world was still dark when Cecil awoke. He didn’t see Marilyn towering over him as he lay in bed.
“Who are you, and what am I doing here?” Marilyn demanded to know.
“Oh… thank you goose… amazing…!” Cecil muttered, then exclaimed, “Now we can head to Las Vegas and get married, Marilyn, just as I planned!”
“Hold it, buster!” she exclaimed. “I’m not going anywhere with you, cause you’re crazy! Drop me at the airport or I’m calling the police now!”
“But… the plans…” Cecil pouted.
“Your plans! Last chance!” she stated louder.
“Alright…” he sighed.
When he returned home, he moped around the house the rest of the day, but the next day he hatched a new plan. “I’ll use my last antique discount to buy the United States Bullion Depository… Fort Knox statue—the little statue that shines!”
“The gold will get me anything I want. It’s the… the… answer,” he stuttered. “Genius, pure genius!” He applauded himself.
Upon his return home from Aunt Nellie’s Antiques, he admired the little Fort Knox and placed it on his top trophy shelf.
Cecil awoke the next day in a place he didn’t recognize. “Whoa… the Fort Knox vault and it’s filled with gold bars!” he exclaimed.
The vault door opened. “Okay, buddy, show me your hands!” The U.S. Mint officer shouted, as he leveled his gun at Cecil.
Days drag by at the federal prison where Cecil Bean now hangs his hat. The best days are when Cecil’s only sister, Rose, comes to visit.
On Rose’s last visit, Cecil asked her, “So, Sis, what have you been doing lately?”
“Not much. I bought another antique yesterday. It’s a shiny goose,” she answered. “Found it at a place you’d probably like. It’s called Aunt Nellie’s.”
The guards arrived and carried Cecil to the prison’s infirmary.
Buy Mark’s book, The King of Zu Island- https://www.amazon.com/King-Zu-Island-Mark-Enlow/dp/1735793205/ref=sr_1_3?crid=VWO31378X619&keywords=mark+enlow&qid=1661895398&s=books&sprefix=mark+enlow%2Cstripbooks%2C166&sr=1-3