“And? Which one meets your fancy?” said the vendor to his valuable customer.
Ann skeptically eyed the salesman who was now gesturing at a number of photos behind him as well as holding a rather large black binder with clear plastic sleeves holding several other photos, or were they drawings? She couldn’t tell. What was a man doing on the street corner selling photos or drawings of not very good pictures of whatever he was selling? They almost look like pictures of creatures from the book she just bought from the bookstore.
“Hellooo!” The salesman waved his free hand in front of Anna’s face. “You still with me?” He asked with a bit of sarcasm mixed with annoyance.
Taking a step back, Ann blinked wildly from his incessant waving.
“Good.” said the vendor not wasting any time waiting for his special client to respond. He had business to conduct that night and she was only the first of many. At least he had hoped.
“Well then, why don’t I make some suggestions for you? Let’s see…” the rather tall, well-built man began flipping through the pages of the binder while Ann just stood there watching, bewildered.
She stared at the attractive blonde haired man, watched as he effortlessly handled the large, heavy-looking binder. Ann caught herself staring and quickly looked away. She was oddly attracted to the stranger she somehow found herself standing before on this dark, street corner. She was trying to think of something to do while he flipped through that binder. But what could she do?
Ann realized she had her book that she had just purchased, A Guide to Demons and Other Mythical Creatures. As she opened her book, the vendor startled her.
“Aha!” The vendor cried out. Ann jumped almost dropping her book. “How ‘bout this one?” The vendor turned the binder around and pointed to the left hand photo. It was a black and white picture of a short, pudgy, bearded man, or at least it looked like a man.
“Bes, a rare, old creature you can use to protect yourself.” The Vendor circled the picture with this hand like one of those models on TV would to show off a fabulous prize you could win. “Don’t be fooled by his size. He may look small but his ability to fight off enemies is a sight to see.”
When he got no immediate reaction, “Ok, let’s see what else will interest you.” Once again, the man began flipping through the binder. “Maybe something with more, talents perhaps?” He said as he looked up at her and smiled. But that smile wasn’t one to show friendliness or to try to put her at ease. It was an uncomfortable smile. Ann couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
“Sir,” Ann said trying to hide the nervousness in her voice.
“What about a Djinn? One that could grant your deepest wishes and desires.” The vendor once again flipped around the binder to show her. Again, the photo was in black and white.
“No, I am not interested in any of your pictures or art work.” Ann was turning to leave. “I’m sorry, but thank you.”
“Pictures?” The man gave a throaty laugh. “Oh, my dear I am not selling pictures. I am selling services or opportunities.”
“Services or opportunities?” Ann repeated as if she heard incorrectly. Her instincts were telling her to leave and she wasn’t about to argue with herself. “Whatever you’re selling, pal, I’m not interested.” Ann turned to leave and was right about to run into none other than the vendor. Shocked, she turned around to see the stand vacant. She turned back around to the vendor who was blocking her path. How the hell did he move that quickly?
“One of our most popular items is the Kitsune. One that can change into anything you want it to or possess anyone you want it to. It could be quite useful.” The vendor continued his sales pitch. “Think about it. You could spy on friends, humiliate enemies or just about anything you want it to do.”
“A Kitsune?” Ann said bewildered “is a fox demon from Japanese lore. It doesn’t really exist. No demons exist.”
“Of course they do.” The vendor said with great assurance.
“No, they don’t.” Ann snapped back.
“So you don’t believe in them?” He looked at her puzzled.
“No I don’t.”
“What about that book you just purchased?” The man pointed to the book Ann held in her hand.
“So, why did you buy that book on demons?”
“Because, because I am interested in the subject. Why am I even talking to you about this? What I do is none of your business!” Ann began to walk away but the vendor jumped in front of her forcing her to go in the other direction and again the man blocked her path.
“Ok,” Ann started digging in her purse and took out her wallet. “What would it take to let me leave?” She pulled out her cash.
“Oh, no.” The vendor put his hand out to stop her. “I don’t accept cash.”
“Ok, here.” Ann put the cash away and held out a plastic card.
The vendor shook his head. “No credit cards either.”
“Don’t tell me you only take checks?”
“No. I deal in bartering. You have something I want, I have something you want.” He smiled; she didn’t know how to react.
“Don’t be nervous. I am only here to help you fulfill your inner-most desires.”
“My inner-most desire right now is to get away from you.”
The man laughed. He walked passed Ann and back to his booth. Ann followed him with her eyes.
“Perhaps if one of those I mentioned isn’t to your liking you can tell me what you’re looking for and we can go from there.”
“But I’m not looking for anything. What are you selling anyway?”
“I told you,” the vendor said “services and opportunities.”
“What kind of services and opportunities?”
“The kind you can’t find anywhere else in your limited world.” The vendor smiled that smile again that made Ann shutter.
“The creatures you named are all types of demons so I gather you’re selling demons?” Ann said trying to understand the unreal situation she’s somehow got herself into.
“I wouldn’t say selling demons. I am selling what they can do for you.”
“You mean like if I wanted to have someone killed? If I wanted to do that wouldn’t I just summon a demon myself and cut out the middle man?” Ann threw her hand up indicating the vendor.
“There are….incentives for doing it this way. Is there someone you wish to be killed?” The man began flipping through the binder once again. “I can find a demon that will assist in that endeavor. Let’s see…
“No, I don’t want to have someone killed!” Ann raised her voice. She was getting tired. The hour was late and all she wanted to do was go home.
“I see you still have your doubts about me.”
Ann sighed. “Do you blame me?”
The vendor closed the binder.
“No, I guess I don’t. Everyone today is so desensitized to the supernatural. I thought all those movies and TV shows would’ve been free advertising for me. Times certainly have changed.”
The vendor turned his back to Ann.
Ann couldn’t believe it. She was actually starting to feel a little bad for this guy. It didn’t take much for her to feel this way. A little kid crying would just break her apart whether the kid was spoiled or not. She wanted to do something to help the poor guy out. Maybe she could buy one of those pictures from him. They couldn’t be that much. Besides, he was pretty cute and his voice was quite sexy even though he did have that creepy element about him; if she put that aside he’d be the perfect guy.
“An Incubus.” The vendor cried out.” That’s what you need.” The vendor turned around quickly pointing a finger at her.
Shocked at the suggestion of an Incubus, Ann couldn’t believe she felt bad for him even for a brief moment.
“Now you’ve gone too far.”
“You are certainly a challenge. What is it you want?” The vendor approached her slowly continually looking into her eyes. “Perhaps my skills of reading humans has rusted a bit over the years.”
Ann became mesmerized by his crystal, blue eyes. Huh. A blonde haired, blue-eyed, muscular man with an odd profession. It’s too bad really. Under different circumstances I would’ve loved to go out with him. Ann noticed him smile at her. Unconsciously, Ann smiled back.
“Yes.” The attractive blonde whispered.
“I believe an Incubus is exactly what you’re looking for. A night of hot, passionate sex will certainly satisfy your needs.”
So this is his sick game. A pimp looking to sell her one of his whores.“Go to hell!” Ann slapped the man across the face hard. Then she ran away as fast as she could. This time though he didn’t stop her. He just stood there and sighed.
“What do you think I’m trying to do?” He turned back to his small stand and began straightening it up.