So I was pretty bored the other day and decided to go for a walk. I do that quite often, as it helps me clear my mind. What’s best is when I go walking places I’ve never been to, or rarely go. I found myself walking down a small street with a lot of shop, shops I’d never seen before. Before I knew what I was doing, my gaze had been drawn to this window of a little knick-knack shop.
The kind with small metal ornaments and kitchen tools that would look good on the shelf, but you wouldn’t ever use them. While I was gazing at this small solid copper iron, almost like the Monopoly game piece, an old woman came out and started talking to me. At first I thought she was bored and just wanted a conversation, but what she said seemed to make much more sense now that I’ve had time to think about it.
“That iron can work magic, like you may be wanting,” she said.
To be honest, half the time my mind is off in la-la land, and I was indeed at the time wondering what would happen if I found some kind of magic device from some Stephen King novel. I decided to play along. I figured it was some kind of obscure sales technique.
“Yea?” I said. “What kind of magic?”
“Take it home and find out, if you like it, you can come back and pay for it,” she said.
I smelled a rat. This was the old puppy dog close. Let somebody take something home, they get used to it, and then they can’t part with it so they have to buy it. But this was an iron. It just sat there. I looked at her skeptically.
“Does it come with like an owners manual or something?” I asked.
“It’s easy. Think of a problem. Pretend it’s an object in front of you, set the iron on top of it, and it will present a solution to your problem,” she said.
Now, on the one hand, that sounds pretty cool. A good idea. A good sales gimmick. I think of a problem, I put the iron down, and forget about it. But that’s what they tell you to do anyway. Think about a problem and forget about it, and the solution will come. So she figures I try that, and it works. Then I figure I can’t get rid of the iron, because then I won’t be able to solve my problems. Suddenly I’m thinking this old woman is pretty shrewd. Like maybe she’s got a whole box of irons in the back she keeps. And sells.
How much do these cost? I know copper’s pretty cheap, maybe two or three bucks? If she sells one for ten bucks that a three hundred percent mark up. OK lady. I’ll bite.
So I get home, I need to figure out a problem. Ah! What to have for dinner. I don’t want to solve a real problem, then that old woman will have snookered me. I project my problem onto my kitchen table. Put the iron on top. Nothing. No ideas. No vivid visions of cooking up some Thai cuisine.
I’ve been robbed. Well, not really, I haven’t paid for it yet.
The doorbell rings. WTF? I answer it. It’s my neighbor. He’s got a pizza.
“Dude, can you help me with this, I just ordered this, paid for it, then my girlfriend calls and says I promised to take her out to dinner tonight,” he looks at me.
“And you decided you’d rather give it to me instead of keep it in the fridge because…” I asked.
“What if I bring her back and she sees it in the fridge! She’ll kill me, she’s a nurse and is always yelling at me about my cholesterol, dude just take it, it’s not poison or anything,” he said. Handing me the pizza.
I Need Beer
OK Mr. Magic Iron. You got lucky. How’s about this problem? I focused on the fact that I don’t have any beer to drink with it. I put THAT problem on the table. Wait. Nothing. I go open the door, just in case. Nothing. I open my fridge.
I got back inside, turn on the TV. I’m about to put a slice in my mouth and the first thing I see is a beer commercial. No fucking way. I turn the channel. Another beer commercial. Serious? I turn the channel. Yep. Another beer commercial. The bikini girls are dancing. Eating pizza and drinking beer.
The one in the middle looks at me, and says, “Where’s your beer?” Seriously? Ok fine Mr. Iron, you win. I put down the slice. I pick it up and take two big bites, then put it down again. Jump on my scooter and ride down to the liquor store.
I’m buying a twelver, about to tell my story to the Korean lady behind the counter, and some guy with a ski mask comes in. No shit. He’s got a gun, waving it around like a methed out lunatic. Now I get it. The fucking Monkey’s Paw. I pray to Jesus not to get killed. The Korean lady pulls out a shotgun from who knows where, and blasts the fuck out of ski mask meth man.
“Take it!” she says, motioning to the beer. I grab it, ride home. Drink all twelve, and feel zero effect. Goddamn Iron.
Next morning I take the Magic Iron back.
“Here,” I said. I don’t want it.
“Very well, but you still must pay for it like we agreed,” she said, looking much more evil and sinister than I remembered.
“What? I said I don’t want it!” I said, backing up. The door shut behind me. I looked at her. She smiled.
“Pay for it,” she said.
“How? With what? How much? Just lemme get rid of it, OK?” I emptied my wallet on the floor. All the change in my pocket. All about $17.
“You may go. But when I need something, I will come. You still owe me,” she said, smiling.
The door opened behind me. I ran.
What have I done?
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A boomtown on the edge of economic liftoff. An evil lawyer with inescapably psychotic power. When Marcus Canfield, an underachieving bartender realizes his gift has been reawakened, only to have the girl of his dreams snatched away, he knows he must stop the horrific threat to both her and the entire United States before it's too late.