The Mouldy Ferret

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Mr. Parker's usually peaceful antique store is shaken up when a man comes in looking to sell a number of items.

Submitted: January 10, 2018

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Submitted: January 10, 2018

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Mr. Parker sat alone; his only company was the soft jazz music and the vast collection of vintage treasures in his antique store. Not many people visited the store, but it made enough to pay the bills and Mr. Parker was quite content to sit alone most of the day. It gave him time to pursue some of his other interests such as reading, writing, and painting. He was well into the eighth chapter of The Catcher in the Rye, a book he’d read several times when loud footsteps broke his concentration.

“Morning!” An enthusiastic masculine voice called out from the store entrance. Mr. Parker sighed internally, even though he needed customers, he liked to be left alone. His favourite type of customers were those who simply walked in, picked something up and paid for it without uttering a word.

“Good morning.” Mr. Parker mumbled back as he glimpsed away from his book. The man who’d just entered didn’t look like his usual clientele, it was a poorly groomed man in grey overalls and a big black bag over his shoulder. He kept staring at Mr. Parker as if waiting for something, the disinterested antique dealer had no choice but to put his book down. “How can I help you?”

“Do you ever buy stuff from people?” The ragged man asked as he approached the till, as he came closer, Mr. Parker noticed the overalls were, in fact, a mechanic’s uniform, and he wore a nametag that read “Calvin.”

“Sometimes,” Mr. Parker stood up, “It depends really.”

“Well, I have a bunch of stuff I’m looking sell.” Calvin dumped his black bag on the counter, startling the neurotic Mr. Parker.

“Alright, let’s have a look.” The antique dealer sighed.

The mechanic pulled the first item out of the bag; a typewriter. “I notice you have some typewriters here for 80 quid each, this one is missing a few keys so I’ll take 60.”

“Well those typewriters are much older and I can’t sell something with missing pieces.” Mr. Parker tried to be polite but firm.

“Would you take it for 50?”

“I’m afraid not.”

Calvin shook his head in disbelief as pulled out a VHS player. “What about this? It still works.”

The antique dealer did well to hide his frustration; this man clearly didn’t have anything of value. “It’s not really old enough, I only deal in antiques.”

“But it is old; I’ve had it since 1996.”

“Everything in my shop is from the 1960s or older, so I won’t buy anything newer than that.”

“I see…” The mechanic scratched his chin, but his face lit up as he remembered something in his seemingly bottomless black bag, “There you go!” He slapped down a Beatles album- on compact disk.

“No, that isn’t old enough either.” Mr. Parker grew more impatient by the second.

“But it’s the Beatles, their music is from the 60s.” Calvin seemed slightly offended.

“If it was on vinyl, yes. But CDs only came out much later.” Mr. Parker wished for nothing more than this ignorant man to leave, but he wouldn’t give up:

“That’s too bad; let me show you what else I have.”  He proceeded to pull out several more items, all of them too modern or in poor condition, and every item was rejected by the peeved Mr. Parker until he finally pulled out the last item in the bag; a taxidermy ferret with several clumps of fur missing and prominent patches of mould.

“This is quite a nice piece, isn’t it?” Calvin proudly held up his weathered polecat.

“Well condition is obviously an issue,” Normally Mr. Parker wouldn’t be interested in such a damaged piece, but at this point, he was desperate to get rid of the man, “I’ll give you £10 for it.”

“Would you give me £20?” The mechanic put on his best negotiator face.

“No, £10 would be my highest.” Mr. Parker’s displeasure was now noticeable even to the oblivious Calvin.

“Ok, you’ve got yourself a deal.” The mechanic held out his grease-stained hand and the germaphobic Mr. Parker reluctantly shook it.

After being paid, Calvin gathered all his junk and put it back in the black bag, leaving Mr. Parker alone with his latest purchase. The deadpan expression on the long deceased creature’s face was an accurate reflection of how Mr. Parker felt inside at the very moment. Perhaps one of his more eccentric customers would buy it out of amusement. The irked antique dealer found a place for the ferret on a shelf and marked it at £15.

Mr. Parker sat back into his chair with a content hum, he could finally get back to reading, soon he was back in the world of J.D. Salinger’s  classic novel. The antique dealer felt the stress melt away as he listened to soft jazz playing from one of his old gramophones, but his relaxation was short lived. The melodic sound of music was drowned out by a loud crash. The racket almost made Mr. Parker fall over backwards, but he quickly got up to investigate. To his horror, he found one of his most expensive 24 piece tea sets had been smashed into several hundred pieces. The culprit- the moldy ferret, which had somehow fallen off the shelf and onto the tea set below. The usually calm Mr. Parker trembled with rage. His whole day, his whole week had been ruined by that wretched stuffed ferret. He scooped up the taxidermy animal and threw it in the bin in a fit of rage. It had cost him more than £10; it had cost him a £500 tea set as well, now he’d have to spend the rest of the day cleaning up broken bits of fine china. 

It several days and dozens of cups of tea for Mr. Parker to get over his ferret ordeal, but sales had been good over the last few days and he’d almost made up for the broken tea set. He’d finished The Catcher in the Rye and had now moved on to reading a John Grisham novel when he heard a booming voice:

“Morning!”

Panic began to set in as the antique dealer recognised the voice; he slowly lifted his head from the safety of his book to see Calvin standing before him. He had a black bag again, but this time it was much emptier.

“G-good morning.” Mr. Parker stuttered as he tried to hold back his anger.

“I’ve got something for you,” the mechanic grinned, “I took all the stuff you didn’t want to buy to the dump the other day and you wouldn’t believe what I found…” he pulled something out of the black bag, “Another ferret, almost the same as the other one.”

 It wasn’t almost the same, it was the exact same mouldy ferret that had already caused Mr. Parker so much suffering.

“Would you take this one for a tenner too?”


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