Life in the Past Lane: The Antique Man

In the late 80’s, I was co-editor of Renaissance Fan. The first issues were copy-lite, so I took to writing and publishing some of my own flash fiction under pen names. The Antique Man was published under my pen name, George Montgomery, and appeared February 89 in issue 5

The Antique Man

John Walker Shaddox carefully scraped his dishes and placed them into the dishwasher – plates on the bottom, saucers and cups on the top, silverware in the basket. The delicate crystal glasses he would wash by hand. John hated dirt and grime. While he worked he listened to KWIK on the radio and counted the number of words the D.J. said in a minute. Fun!

It had been a nice meal and he was glad his sister was able to visit. She really liked the red snapper with cream cheese sauce and mushrooms. The chocolate truffle cake she brought was delicious. They had talked for several hours about his divorce, and she understood why he couldn’t live with Marge anymore.

Too bad there weren’t more women like Sis, he thought

Ugh! His stomach cramped and then he started to shake.

Oh god! Food poisoning. He grabbed onto the dishwasher and passed out.

#

Homer looked at the transporter and whooped. “I’ve got something,” he shouted and then rushed over to see what he had caught in his net. What’s this! He looked at the form slumped over a large square brown enamel box. Oh no. He’d snatched a person, too.

#

When John woke he glanced around the room. He was lying on a white couch in a white room. Clean. Nice and Clean. An odd assortment of household appliances and furniture was arranged in rows. Strange.

“Would you like some tea?” a voice said.

John looked, felt his head and winced. A tall, emaciated man stared down at him. The man smiled.

“My apologies,” he said. “I was just fishing for interesting stuff. I didn’t know I could transport people. I’ll try to get you back to your time as soon as possible.” Homer smiled again. “Would you like a cookie?”

#

 “It’s been a month!” John shouted a Homer, “I can’t stand it any longer. I want to go home.”

“Please, please, calm down,” Homer tried to soothe the angry man. The last time John flipped out, he had smashed some of the valuable antiques to bits. Right now, John was getting twitchy again, and if any more merchandise was broken, he’d have a hard time covering this month’s rent on the store space.

John picked up an old Norelco coffee pot and waved it in the air.

“Get me home or this piece of junk is not an antique, but history.” He lifted it high.

“Okay, okay,” Homer pleaded. “I have someone coming from the museum. They have a bigger machine and a lot more experts. I think they can help you.

John glared at Homer and slammed the pot back down on an avocado colored washing machine. He flopped onto a fragile, wicker sun chair.

“Yah, and the check is in the mail,” he snarled.

#

“It’s a deal then. Here.” Homer shook the hand of the lady from the museum. “Thank you so much. I just know this will be so much better for the poor man.”

The woman smiled and motioned to a uniformed man to follow her over to where John slumped against an old U.S. mail box. As John stood to greet his saviors, the woman reached into her pocket and pulled out a can of anesthetic. Spiff! Right in his face. John collapsed into the guard’s arms.

#

Homer looked at the check again. It was his largest sale ever. The museum was ecstatic. Not everyone had a real ancient human to display. It looked like his luck was changing. And he was sure John would be happy. Why he even included the dishwasher and dishes in the sale. I would be just like home.

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