If you haven’t read February 25 yet, you can do so here.
If you stumbled onto this post by accident and haven’t read any of the other stories, head over to this post to find out more about this project.
“Ruby, I only have two hours. Wherever we’re going better be good,” Lalannah complained the entire time they were waiting to get off the ship. If she didn’t meet Kara for their tour in a couple of hours, they’d likely have their contract cancelled. Two weeks trapped on the ship had done nothing for their ability to film.
“It is. You’ll want the camera too. It’ll be totally worth it.”
“You owe me like the biggest cookie you can find if it’s not. As big as my face.”
“As big as your face,” Ruby agreed.
Lalannah smiled as Ruby turned away from her. No morning spent with Ruby was ever wasted. Even if she couldn’t tell Ruby that.
“You ever going to tell me where we’re going?”
Ruby shook her head, the mischievous grin that overtook her face was answer enough.
“It’s not on your itinerary for this afternoon though. I checked.”
Twenty minutes later, Lalannah had to admit that Ruby was right. A canopy of red and blue umbrellas floated above them and locals bustled about as if it was normal. Stalls and shops lined the street selling everything from paintings to fruit and vegetables.
“Come on, there’s a shop I wanted to show you.” Ruby led her further down the street, deeper into the throng of people.
Ruby paused at a shop with a red door and a window so grimy that Lalannah had no idea what they were selling.
“Are you ready? I don’t want to talk this place up too much. But it’s something special.” Ruby paused at the entrance. Something in Lalannah reminded her they didn’t have time for so much nonsense but she nodded her agreement and waited for Ruby to push the door open.
Inside, the building stretched further than Lalannah would have guessed. So far that she couldn’t see the end of it. Every surface was covered with something. A strange collection of things that Lalannah could see no rhyme or reason to. Plants, both fake and real. Photos. Books. Jewelry. All of it piled around as if it had just been left there. Lalannah was immediately reminded of the room of lost things from Harry Potter. Discarded items, some broken, most dusty.
“What is this place?”
Ruby shrugged. “Nobody really knows. Last time I was here someone told me you can swap anything you have for anything else in here.”
“What?” Lalannah picked up a beautiful old necklace and turned it over in her hands.
“I swapped… let me see if I can find it…” Ruby wandered deeper into the store as some of the noise and bustle disappeared. Lalannah watched her searching the area for something.
“Here it is. I can’t believe it’s still here.” Ruby held up a rolled up piece of paper, slightly yellowed around the edges. As she unwrapped it, dust flew everywhere. It was unmistakably a poor caricature of Ruby.
“What did you swap it for?” Ruby shrugged.
“Can’t remember. It was a few years back.” She rolled the caricature back up and set it down on the table.
“Come on, I brought a few things we can swap in.”
Lalannah looked at the bag Ruby was carrying for the first time. She had her own day pack with her but there was nothing in it she wanted to swap.
Lalannah wandered the tight aisles picking up and putting things back every so often. An old hand woven doll, a scratched pair of sunglasses, a water bottle. Pushed to the back of a shelf at knee level she found something she couldn’t leave behind. Ruby would love it. She pushed aside a beautiful hand painted bowl and shimmied the item to the front of the shelf. It looked to be in perfect working condition, if a little dusty.
She swapped it for the elephant ornament Ruby had given her and hoisted it up. The damn thing weighed a ton.
They only had a couple of items each to swap, a few minutes later, Lalannah swapped her book of love poems for an unused cunt coloring book. She was about to head for the front entrance when she remembered the caricature of Ruby. It was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever seen and she had to have it. She searched her pack for anything she could give up and eventually found a keyring Kara had given her to swap for the caricature.
Ruby was already at the entrance though Lalannah couldn’t see what she’d swapped.
“Jesus, what is that thing?” she asked when she saw Lalannah carting the giant typewriter around.
“Oh, well…” A wave of nerves overcame her. “Igotitforyou,” she mumbled.
Ruby’s face lit up. “No way. Really?” Lalannah nodded and handed the typewriter over. Ruby was examining every key and every inch.
“This thing looks perfect. Looks barely used. I wonder how long it’s been here.”
“From the layer of dust I shook off… at least fifty years.”
“Wow. Well, I got you something too. Not as spectacular as this though.”
From a side pocket of her bag, Ruby pulled out something tiny. A silver chain with a tiny elephant dangling off it.
“It’s beautiful.” Lalannah turned so Ruby could put it on her. THe irony of having left an elephant for the typewriter and gaining an elephant was not lost on her. LIke some kind of cosmic twist of fate.
You can read February 27 here.
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