Simlog #22, recorded by Babsie, Pawn Shop
She was walking down the steps of a subterranean entry, the walls of corroded brick that were eaten by acid rain and stained by black smut. An in deep blue enameled, on the edges rusted metal sign “Antiques and Oddities” and smaller below it “Owner: Tirion Shortings”. A red “Open” sign behind the barred showscreen where people had pawned their last possessions in exchange for some meager cash and never had the money to get them back.
As she enters the door into the bad lit cellar room that might have been used as a coal cellar maybe ages ago or something similar, the air is damp and smells of earth and wet rain. She shakes herself and drops of water fly around like from a wet alley cat. It’s comparable warm, so she unzips her parka, turns down her hood and starts to look around.
A simple bell is still ringing above her from the door opening. She sneezes. “Anybody there?” But silence answers. The whole shop is more like a miniature version of a warehouse, full of nooks and crannies, dead ends, mirrors on the ceiling that must be from a time when in super markets there were no cameras installed, but just these convex things, that make everyone look fat and small. “Hello?” Still nobody answers, but she can hear somewhere way back someone moving through a bead curtain, that is making a soft tingling noise.
On the shelves that go from the floor up the the ceiling there are all kinds of stuff. Old clocks, boxes with stuff, some things tied with chains to the shelf, some things behind locked glass showcases. Things hang from the ceiling, instruments, guitars, a pair of ski, some stuffed animal heads up on the wall. More clocks, some small and round like those in old flicks, some simple tools, knifes, ancient looking weapons, an old wooden chair in one of the dead ends, books of paper.
She again asks, “hello?”, but just a bit dust comes down from one of the shelves when she passes. “I can hear you loud and clear, girl. I’m not deaf.” She turns to the low rumbling and grumpy sounding voice. It’s coming from a barred counter around an other corner. Nobody to see. Then something scrubs over the floor and she hears feet step on wood. A large head on a short, massive body comes up behind the counter. A dwarf. He’s standing on a foot-ladder behind the counter, just his head and shoulders going over it. On his head a headlamp like a doctor and mechanical googles, that he has put up, wearing it on his forehead. He’s looking like middle-aged with a big red beard. Like you would imagine a dwarf.
“Hello”, and she feels smiling and a bit nervous from the shop. “Are you Tirion?” He flinches by the name. “Friends don’t call me that. Fucking elven name. Devil shall fuck my mother for that.” Now she laughs. “No shit! I hate elven names.” “But you are an elf. My fucking mother didn’t know shit. She just saw pointy ears and this got me this fucking name. The devil shall fuck her for eternity. So what’s your fucking elven name?” “Never tell. Really. Gut me, but I won’t tell you my name. Call me Babsie. How’d I call you?” “Mister Shortings is not much better. People call me Ticks.” “That’s not much better, is it?” “I imagine it’s about my clocks. And I can live better with that than with ‘Tirion’.”
But he is just making a grimace of pain. “What do you want? Sell, buy or pawn? I don’t deal in fucking electronics. Shit is worthless. I buy it today, tomorrow it’s outdated and I sit on it forever. Keep your electronic shit for yourself. Wanna have a wheelbarrow full of that shit for cheap?” “No thanks.” “No trids no commlinks, too. They are all nicked anyway. Just gives me trouble with the cops. It’s not worth it. So, what do you have? You don’t look like a buyer, litte girl with a fucking elven name. What’s it?” “I won’t tell.” “I give you discount on a watch. What’s it?” “Gut me. I won’t tell.”
He stares at her for a while. Then he smiles. “Okay. Just because you suffer from the same sickness of fashion doesn’t mean I like you. You smell of electronics. And the only electronics I accept are checksticks. And you don’t look like you have them to spare. So you are just a fucking junkie who wants ten creds for her next shot and offer me some junk in return that I have lying around for months and that won’t give me any income. Or you are a cutpurse and try to get the hot warez off your pockets and put it on me. Or you…”, and he closes his eyes to slits, “…or are you some snitch for the pigs that regularly come to try to fuck me over? I’m no fucking fixer. Kapiert?”
She is standing a bit uneasy. “I’m no snitch. I’m just looking for a friend of mine.” “I have no friends around here, little fey”, he said grumpily and she flinches at the word ‘fey’. “No, she’s dead now. I try to find out what happened.” “A friend, eh? Who?” “A black Orc girl. This size. She might have been here to day before yesterday. Selling something, trying to get money for a fix.” “And why should I help you, little elven snitch?” “I’m no snitch. I’m a friend of hers.” “Ha! You are recording this, are you?” “What?” “I asked you, you are recording this, are you? Don’t fucking lie to me or this conversation is over and if you get out of here in one piece, little fey, would be really interesting to see and against all odds.”
She started to sweat under her woolen cap and it’s dripping down on the side of her head. “Ja. I’m recording this. How do you know?” “Ha! This jacket of yours. Turn right.” She turns. “The flag. You know what that is?” “German.” “You are German?” “No. At least not very much. Ich spreche. Ein bisschen.” “You got an awful accent, little fey.” “I’ve been reading not speaking so much.” His beetle brows lift. “Reading? What?” “A few books. Got them cheap.” “Which one?” “A comic book by a man named Busch. And Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. A few others. But I liked those two best.” “I give you some creds for those two.” “I won’t sell the Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo.” “The Busch?” “Maybe. But it’s shabby.” “I give you a decent price for it. Even if you only got single pages.” “Is it of value?” “No. It’s sentimental for me. And now empty your pockets. If you want information, you have to pay.” “What? But I don’t own much. I need all my stuff. I have some creds, if that helps you.” “Open your pockets and I see if there’s something I want.”
She puts out a switchblade knife and hands it over the counter. He flaps down his goggles and starts to examine it. He snaps it open. “Nice thing. No rust on the blade. Stainless. Fucking American replica, not worth it’s weight. If they do stainless it means they are lazy. Too soft to make sure it’s really really stainless and fuck to the sharpness. Bayonett style stiletto. The handle it good. It’s an old blade. Somewhere last century, I guess. Real ivory handles. No plastic. Like from the movies. Where’d you find it?” “Dumpster diving, I guess. It was a present.” He handles it back. “What else?” She puts the stuff she found in the dumpster on the counter. The bracelett, earring and collar.
“Ah.” He looks at the stuff. “The earring. I take it for giving you the intel, little girl.” He is looking up, into her eyes. “If you like.” “It’s…” “Yes. I got the other one.” He turns and opens a drawer behind the counter, gets out a similar earring. “She has sold it to me.” “How much?” He smiles. “Ten bucks of course. I kinda robbed her. The collar is crap, I don’t need to see it, just glitz, the bracelet is nice. It’s not hot?” She shakes her head. “No. I just fished it from a dumpster.” “Dumpster, eh?” He’s checking it. “Okay. I give you twenty for the bracelet, if you promise to bring me the books.” “The book. I don’t sell the Kinder.” “Just bring the books and we see how much you can get for that. I pay real money. Not just the crap here.”
“Did she sell anything else?” He looked up from the ware. “Else?” “Yes, I mean she isn’t coming all this way just for pity ten bucks, or what?” “No. She said she needed money for medicine. Tried to pawn her commlink. I didn’t want it. Told her to try somewhere else. So, do we have a deal?” He takes the earring from the counter and puts it back to the drawer with the other one.
“Deal?” “Twenty for the bracelet.” “It’s looking much more expensive. There is gold in it.” “It’s fucking brass. I try to do you a favor, girl.” “Why didn’t you buy the thing from her, when she was here?” “She didn’t wear that thing.” “It’s her blood on it.” “She hadn’t on it. You call me a liar, little girl? I started to like you.” “No, I don’t call you anything. Just… Ya know.” He stares at her for a moment. “Then just get the fuck out of my shop. I wasted too much time already.” “But…” “What didn’t you understand from ‘out’? Raus!” “Okay, okay! Thank you for your help. Danke Ticks.” “Come back when you have the books.”
She leaves the shop fast, with the feeling he could do something nasty if she stayed. Outside she is standing in the rain again. “Fuck. Well. She got money. Next stop Raven”, she mumbles more to herself than for the record.