You wouldn't be considered a local of Gatsburg if you hadn't swapped tales with Jeffrey Cross at his Bar and Antiques Shop, The Barnickle—first known as an old-timey bar in town, it only became a sort of tradeshop when Mr. Cross' now dead wife came along with some vintage pieces worth quite a value.
And the only thing stopping Mr. Cross from making a fortune out of the stuff? Well, it was his insistence that his mother-in-law's ghost was “preventing” him from selling her family's heirlooms in the first place—to the point of haunting.
“What was the reason again why Mr. Cross didn't want that painting?” I asked, glancing up at Noel as we stood outside The Barnickle after work.
“He said it brought bad luck? No, he actually used the word 'karma'. Yeah something about bad karma and stuff I'm sure you've heard from that mystic friend of yours.” He said, grinning back at me as he held open the door to the shop. “Probably best you heard everything about it straight from the horse's mouth.”
Stepping right through the door, I saw that the place was left mostly like it was back when we were teens who sneaked around with a shot or two, though now a couple of booths were moved aside to make way for the antiques for sale. I gotta admit, it did add a little flair to the place.
You couldn't miss Mr. Cross—not with that signature tinfoil hat on his head, as he stood at the bar counter striking up a sales pitch to the few who came in for a little drink in the middle of the week. Though he abruptly stopped midsentence and raised both his hands as he saw me and Noel approach,
“You didn't bring that cursed portrait again, did you?!” His tone was more accusatory than a question.
Noel gave me a look expressing that he told me so and that prompted me to speak up, “No actually... Mr. Cross, I was hoping you'd probably know of someone who'd be interested in that piece..?”
“Over Lee's experimented body would I get myself involved with that cursed object, yah hear?!” Mr. Cross was aghast at what I was trying to suggest.
“Oi Jeff! Ya haven't heard the news that Lee's been found?” One of the bar patrons had butted in.
“Naaw.. They probably saw a clone of him that one! He was abducted by aliens, I'm tellin' yah! Saw it with me own two eyes back then in high school! They'll be back for the rest of us!”
The bar was then filled with heated debate over Mr. Cross' statement and Noel had to put an arm around me to safely get us out of the place.
“Phew! And that's even worse on the weekends!” Noel huffed as we stepped out into the darkening sky. Just then, my phone started ringing, “Roe..?” I answered, curious as to why she was calling out of the blue when I thought she was buried away in her readings.
“Uh hey, Cole.. You mind picking me up here at the station?”