I was with Uncle Bill that first time he tried to buy it. I’d begged him to let me go into town with him that day. He tried to warn me off, saying it would be a pretty boring trip, but I wouldn’t give up. Eventually he gave in.
He hadn’t been lying. Ever since that time he came home from college planning to sell some of his old comics only to find out grandma had tossed them in the garbage Uncle Bill had been searching for something. We must of spent hours in that pawn shop while he hunted for some overlooked treasure.
After a while I wandered off, and I sort of stumbled into the thing. Some sort of dark grey marble two-headed troll statue. It was big. Not big big, but bigger that you’d expect one of those lawn statues to be. I was about six then, and it was almost as tall as me. On it’s base was carved “Sometimes you get more than you bargain for.”
“Hey, Uncle Bill, check this out,” I called. And he did check it out. There wasn’t much else around worth looking at anyhow, and I think by then he knew it.
“Wow, look at that thing. Boy is it ugly.” He flicked the big nose on the left head, which was twisted like the creature was crying out. “Still, there’s something about it.” He read the inscription and shook his head. “I don’t get it.” Then he got that look in his eyes. The one that said he’d found something special. A bargain he could turn into a treasure. “Hey, how much for this?”, he yelled out.
Old Jim, the shop owner, didn’t look up from behind the counter, where he’d been reading a magazine pretty much the whole time we’d been there. “What’s it say on the tag?”
“It’s not tagged, Jim, or I wouldn’t be asking.”
“Not…” Old Jim put his magazine down, and sort of glared at us. “What you talking about?”
“This… thing here.”
“The two headed statue,” I called out, hoping to move things along.
Jim looked from me to my uncle, then picked up his magazine. “Nope.”
“What do you mean?” Uncle Bill sounded mad.
“I mean I’m not selling it to you.”
“I’ll give you a hundred bucks.”
Jim didn’t flinch.
“Five?” Bill pulled out his wallet and counted. “Eight hundred, cash on the spot.”
Without looking back our way, Old Jim got up and headed towards the beaded curtain in the back. “We’re closed. You can see yourselves out.”
Uncle Bill looked like he might try and follow him, but I pulled at his sleeve. “Come on, we should go.”
For the next few weeks I kept having dreams about the statue. Well, not really about the statue, most times, but the statue was always there. Sometimes, I dreamed I was the statue, just standing there in the shop. Then one day Uncle Bill stopped by. “Jesse! Come see what I got in the back of my truck.”
I rushed out, and there it was, standing in the back of Bill’s old junker pickup.
Uncle Bill slapped me on the back. “Isn’t it great, Jess?”
“I thought Old Jim wouldn’t sell it.”
“He wouldn’t, but his son was minding the shop today. Young Jim understands the value of a dollar.”
I nodded. The statue was somehow more sinister in the broad daylight. I think it’s because I expected it to be less dark, but if anything it seemed even closer to black in the light. “Won’t Old Jim be mad?”
“Maybe.” Bill shrugged. “Listen, I gotta go unload this at home. Tell you mom I’ll see you for dinner on Sunday.” With that he hopped in the truck and drove off.
He never came to dinner on Sunday, of course, because of the accident. They said he was fixing a shutter or something upstairs, by leaning out the window, and he slipped. Broke his neck on the spot. I wish I’d known I’d never get another chance to…
Anyway, that was fifteen years ago now, but a few months back the statue started showing up again in my dreams. That’s why I’m here today. Imagine my surprise at seeing it again, in he same pawn shop. The thing is the statue has four heads now. One than looks a bit like Old Jim, and another that looks a lot like Uncle Bill. I tried to tell No-longer-young Jim about it, but it was like he couldn’t even understand me.
I wasn’t even trying to buy it.
“I’m not selling it to you.”