2019-01-12 10:00 fiction reel

ReeL Market

"There has to be more than one girl. It can't be the same one we saw here in the market years ago, she was so young," Taryn said.

Millr straightened some of the things on the shelves behind them. All of it antique. Radios, miscellaneous appliances, a few tools like drills and popular repair kits, manual typewriters, some cleaned up, early era electronics, eye glasses, and an array of worn, weathered boots. If you wanted a ReeL, which many people did, you had to ask, all of that was done in the back.

"I can't explain it, it's her though," Millr said.

"I'm not disagreeing with you," Taryn said.

"Maybe mothers and daughters? I'm at a loss to explain it. You remember her, at the market, with the bag, the what do you call it—"

"A seed fiddle. A newer kind of seed fiddle anyway," Taryn said.

"And there was a bounty on her," Millr said.

"I'm surprised she showed up here, everybody knew she was wanted," Taryn said, "maybe she needed to be seen."

"I'm even more surprised she showed up in a ReeL," Millr added.

"Where'd you get it from?" she asked.

"Usual place. That kid Willm. I guess he has a new source. He seemed excited about how much he could get for them," Millr said.

"There's more than one?" Taryn asked.

"Yeah, but I haven't brought it in yet, I wanted to see how the first one did to figure out if I could charge more," Millr said.

"And you haven't watched it yet?"

"Not yet," he said.

Millr and Taryn heard a large crash, then the descending clattering of objects settling. They stuck their heads out of the kiosk, looking down the lane which was crowded with shops on both sides. Deputies were hovering over the contents of several shelves of stuff from Mr Wlkrsun's place. The sheriff stood in front of Mr Wlkrsun, between him and the deputies, with his hands on his hips, his uniform a bit grubby, a bit ill fitting, his gun belt drooping drastically, held up perhaps only by stubbornness.

"They're early this month," Millr said.

Taryn groaned. "How much will it cost this time?" she said.

They could hear the sheriff progressing up the lane, small rustling, a few tense words but no more torn down shelves.

"Millr," the sheriff said as he and his deputies came to his kiosk, the last on the end, before they would proceed up the opposite lane.

"Dck," Millr said. He'd known Dck since high school. They didn't get along then, and they didn't now, however time and age siloed their dislike of each other into relatively moderate exchanges. Dck never addressed Taryn, this would've jeopardized this sufficiency.

"Governor's undies are in a twist," Dck said.

"Well ain't that sumptin," Millr said.

"There's a ReeL going around that has people worried. Inflammatory. Anti-Shrub," Dck declared.

"An illegal ReeL?" Millr said, mocking surprise.

"You wouldn't happen to know where something like that comes from, would you Millr?"

"No sir, I would not." Millr slid a billfold across the counter towards the sheriff. Dck reached out with familiarity and confidence, examining the contents of the wallet. A deputy behind him yawned.

"Good man. I can always count on you Millr," the sheriff said, removing the bills and stuffing them into his pocket. "But let's just say, if I was the kind of guy distributing stuff that gets the governor agitated, I'd probably try to avoid it and go back to selling Heckle."

"That's good advice," Millr said.

The sheriff gave Millr a final noncommittal glance then summoned his deputies with a lazy wave and moved around the corner.

"He's going to start asking for more," Taryn said.

"Yup," Millr said.

"Because of that ReeL," Taryn added.

Millr said, "If it wasn't that, it would be something else, he won't change."

That was it, he thought, people needed to see the ReeL because it would change them. He was sure of this, but without precisely understanding why. Instinct, he supposed.

"You're not going to stop selling them are you?"

"Nope," he said.