Fiction Friday – 9 January 2009 Literati & Son, Metaphysical Pawnbrokers

This Week’s Theme: With ten days until payday your character discovers they are overdrafted (adjust as necessary to fit your timeline or world)

“It’s really quite simple, if you don’t have the money to redeem the pawn, then you can’t have Mr Samsa back… Well it’s not really my problem that you need him for a story… To be honest Mr Kafka, I don’t care if all you’ve got at home are cockroaches, why don’t you write about them… Yeah, same to you jerk!”

Giuseppe Literati put the phone down and looked up at the man waiting at the counter. “Mr Shakespeare, back so soon? Do you have money, or is this a social visit?”

“Prithee good sir! I hast promised mine patron a performance of the Scottish Play this very evening, but regrettably find that you possess my fifth act!”

“Nobody made you put the whole of Birnam Wood into hock Mr Shakespeare…” Giuseppe drummed his fingers on the desk. Old Billy was constantly in and out, always finding himself a little short before payday, offering characters, plots, locations, all for a little scratch “to see him through”.

All very standard for the unusual pawnbrokerage that Giuseppe’s father had started so long ago. Billy’s problem was that come payday he was usually far too drunk to redeem his pawned items. Literati & Son had so many unredeemed Shakespeare tickets that Giuseppe considered cobbling together a new play – Romeo and Julius Caesar, the Merry Moors of Venice – Part II.

Shakespeare thumped his fist down on the table. “Sir, I have not the money to pay you now, but my patron will reward me for the performance. Perchance to allow me to take Birnam now, and pay later?”

“Perchance to dream Billy – money now, or no Birnam Wood.”

He pinched at his own belly and shouted “Woulds’t thou have me cut off a pound of my own flesh, thou rude-growing mammet!”

Giuseppe sighed. “Well I didn’t accept it last month Billy, so I won’t accept it this month will I? Oh, and that reminds me, I’ve had to sell your Shylock.”

“Sold him? Sold sir? To whom?”

Giuseppe pointed to the shifty figure trying to exit the shop unseen. “Him.”

Shakespeare turned. “Marlowe? That whoreson swine!” He turned back to the counter with a resigned look. “I am ruined, ruined sir.” Then, a brief flicker of hope. “Thou would perhaps take an exchange?”

Guiseppe scratched his chin. “What you got?”

Shakespeare mumbled. “Polonius?”

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be, eh? You should take his advice Billy. Still, he’s in good nick. Yeah, OK. Polonius for Birnam Wood it is.” Giuseppe pulled out some sheets of paper and a quill. “Fill in the paperwork and I’ll get it brought round for you.”

Shakespeare grinned. “Good sir, thou art a prince amongst men!”

Giuseppe gestured to the man waiting in line. “Yes sir, how can I help?”

He moved forward hesitantly. “It appears I find myself a little short before my next salary payment, and I have a few expenses. I wonder if I could give you this as security against a salary advance?”

Giuseppe leafed through the pages before him. “Christmas… watch… hair… watch chain… combs…” He passed the pages back. “Sorry Mr Henry, we don’t do irony here.”

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9 thoughts on “Fiction Friday – 9 January 2009 Literati & Son, Metaphysical Pawnbrokers”

  1. Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I could see the whole scene laid out in my head and could imagine Giuseppe dealing with this each month.

    Excellent work!

  2. This is brilliant Paul!

    I just love the idea of writers going in and pawning parts of their creations. What a brilliant concept.

    Very very witty ๐Ÿ™‚

    This is definitely a keeper for that 2009 Anthology you’ll be thinking of compiling next year ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Thanks guys, this one was fun to write.

    Dale, I haven’t read The Eyre Affair, but I am vaguely aware of it. I think I may have to go check it out!

  4. What a small world! I was planning to do this fiction Friday, but real life intervened. Then I read others works and stumble upon yours! I’ll blogroll you, but unsure which of my categories to pigeonhole you with now…. Let me know if you wish to be moved from one to other!

  5. I really enjoyed this piece – the concept is excellent. Like Dale, I too immediately thought of The Eyre Affair, what you’ve written would fit perfectly in that universe!

  6. Paul – it is a small world! I recognised your blog URL and was trying to remember how I knew it, until I saw your twitter name and made the connection! As far as categories, the NaNo one suits me fine, although I feel a little bit of a fraud this year since I didn’t complete it.

    ~willow~ – I think I definitely need to grab a copy of The Eyre Affair now!

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