Helen T. made my eggplant parmesan panini, and it is yummy! I’ve been hearing excellent things about this deli for weeks, so today, I decided to come during my lunch hour. I can’t understand why I’m the only one eating here. It should be crowded considering how delicious the food is, but it’s not. And of course, I plan to check out the room full of antiques out back. I’ve heard people have found some lovely treasures. I feel I should tell you a little about Helen. She seems brilliant. She’s been sitting at my table across from me, and we’ve been chatting about the Greek philosophers. Socrates in particular. And she’s absolutely gorgeous. She could be in Vogue or Elle. No idea why she’s working in a deli. Her name tag and apron don’t suit her. I can picture her in a long flowing deep blue gown. Yes, blue is definitely her color, and I tell her so. I say.. why on EARTH are you working here? She laughs.. Even her laugh is magnificent.. and she says, well, thank you. I just do this part time. I was able to retire early. I work here for fun. I love to cook, and my commute from home isn’t far. I live quite close by. We chat awhile longer while I finish my lunch, and I ask if I can have a look at the possible treasures out back. She says sure.. go for it!
So I head out back, and I catch my breath. It’s a wonderland of antique goodies! I look in a jewelry case and see a pair of dangly gold earrings with some kind of a red stone. I go out front and find Helen behind the counter, and I say, those can’t be real rubies? And she hesitates for a couple of seconds. She says no.. those are costume jewelry. i only want $15.00 for them. And I think, well, I’m definitely getting them. Helen opens the case for me. Then I spot, out of the corner of my eye, the most splendid golden apple. It’s sitting way in the back of the case, practically hidden. I go to pick it up to look it over. It’s close to glowing, and she starts a little. I say, oh.. is this not for sale? She hesitates again, and says.. oh it’s for sale. I’ve heard rumors that it’s cursed though. … Cursed? Now it’s my turn to laugh. I don’t believe in curses, magic, prophesy or any of that stuff. I ask her how much she wants for it. She says $40.00. .. Wow! Well, this is definitely going home with me too. We go back out front so I can pay her. I like to pay for these kinds of things in cash. The old fashioned way. Helen reaches into a drawer and takes out a pad of lavender scented paper. … I’ll make out a sales slip. .. And I think, well, I guess they like the old fashioned way here too! I give her my name and address.. Delia Mina, 1138 Gemini Lane, North Portland, OR. 88808.
I leave happy and pleased with myself, except I’m startled a little by an African Gray Parrot perched by the exit. I hadn’t noticed him. Did he just show up? And he says.. Delia.. Delia! Bad apple! Bad apple! And just as the door closes behind me, I hear Helen whisper, sshhh.. quiet, Hermes! She’ll find out soon enough…
By M. Raynes