The sword was an antique piece. It wasn’t cared for all these year, that’s for sure, but underneath the thick layer of dust and cobwebs was a beautiful ornamented blade that’s destined for the museum. Its blade was straight and quite short with a hilt that had a big pummel. The pummel itself seemed to be gilded and ornamented with various jewels or gemstones. It also lacked a cross-guard which made it seem more and more like it was merely a ceremonial weapon, or one for show. Within the blade, there were minor signs of degradation, but that didn’t seem to faze the antique dealer who ogled the piece back and forth with utter enthusiasm.
“It is a special piece, and I’m willing to offer…” He bowed next to his client and whispered.
The owner of the sword, Robert Milton, wasn’t disappointed about the proposal, especially since he was ready to toss the sword. His wife was the one who insisted on checking its value. With the dust, to him the weapon looked nothing special. It was only upon close inspection that he identified the gemstones, but knowing its previous owner, he had a strong sense of doubt about their integrity. A cheap imitation, his mind was constantly telling him when he was driving over to the antique store.
Before he could answer, Herman insisted. “May I know where you got it from?”
Robert didn’t like the question. He heard it in many different forms, but in the end in, it was an inquiry about his best friend – a friend who had many glaring faults. Even Robert couldn’t stay impervious to them, so much so that he turned away from him, angry, disappointed. He contemplated before confessing. “Simon Marvel. He was the owner.”
“That Simon Marvel?” Herman put his hand to this mouth in awe. It seemed like the gems reflected in his eyes.
“But the guy is dead! Am I mistaken to assume that you broke in to steal his goods?” Herman’s riposte lingered between a friendly joke and mockery.
“You are mistaken. I was given the sword…he left it for me.”
“No need to say more. But I still can’t believe that such a smug and glib miser would give anything to anyone, unless, of course, it is something that he himself deems worthless.” Herman exploded. “Even then, it would be a tremendous shock for me to see him give it away.”
While his comments were bad-mannered and inadequate, especially because Marvel was dead, Robert couldn’t disagree with him. Every word Herman said was very true, but he didn’t say anything. He wanted to remain evenhanded, even if it restricted his honesty.
“How did you come to know Marvel?” Robert brushed back his hair, took off his jacket, and inquired.
“Why would you assume I knew him?”
“Humans don’t talk with such verve about someone they didn’t know. That’s my opinion.”
“Very true. I met him a long time ago when I was still a beginner. He brought a few items to my father’s shop. This was years ago. Anyway being the fool that I was, I bought the items which turned out to be replicas.” Herman couldn’t sit still. His hands wandered across the table, looking for something. He floundered.
“Believe it or not, but I do believe you.” Robert smiled.
“You better. Now, it’s your turn. Spill the beans.”
“Marvel is the father of the woman I married. Over the years, I got to know him pretty well, mainly the myriad of his shortcomings. For better or for worse, thankfully, he created a gap between himself and his daughter. So Marry and I could live far, far away from him.” Robert smiled as he recalled the events, but his feigned grimace was soon twisted into a bitter expression. “Of course, this is only a summery. I’m sure you don’t want to listen about how many times he avoided responsibility, disappointed us, or told me to piss off when I needed his help.” Robert grew angry and had to loosen his tie. He was being suffocated by his fury.
Herman padded him on the back. “I understand you very well, my friend.”
“Right.” Rob replied without putting much thought into it.
“But I don’t understand one thing.”
“And what would that be?”
“We both dislike him so much, but we spend all his time dwelling on it. If I were you, I’d get rid of the sword. Toss it. I wouldn’t want his money. If anything, I’m sure it would make him mad that his precious blade is stinking in the trash.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You said it yourself, he never helped you. He gave you the sword, knowing that you’ll sell it. Doing so is like obeying his commands. I wouldn’t do it.”
Robert became quiet. He grew angry. Herman’s words seemed to open old wounds. They were like needles that were jammed into his mind to uncover his memories; those memories that he didn’t want to watch again. “If you wanted it so badly, you should have said so.” Robert replied.
“I wouldn’t deign to try to trick you. In truth, I don’t want it.” Herman gawked at him with surprise in his eyes. “I don’t want anything with his name attached to it. Let’s stop wasting time. You take the sword and do whatever you want with it. I’m done harping on the topic.”
Herman started fumbling around the shop, looking and organizing things.
Robert was left in silence, which consecutively invaded him more and more. He sat on his stool at the table, thinking. He recalled his anger which seemed to derail his rational thinking. It belittled the value of money, and escalated his honor and dignity. He stood up and declared, “Let’s toss the sword.”
“I’m sure that’s something he wouldn’t do.”
They walked outside into the cold. They sauntered in the snow until they found a dumpster with a few garbage bags surrounding it. Robert wanted to heave the blade across the street which would most likely break it, but Herman had a better idea.
“We can agree that Marvel never did anything good, right? He was the embodiment of selfishness and a couple other things which I do not feel like listing. Let’s leave the blade for someone else to find. I’m sure a noble soul with a need for money will stumble upon it. In turn, I’m sure he’ll be mad when something like that happens.”
Robert rested the blade at the feet of the building next to the garbage cans. Herman gave him a cordial tap on the back and invited him for a drink. They leisurely walked off. Before turning the corner, Herman looked over his shoulder. He watched as the blade was covered in snow, slowly vanishing. He remembered the exact location, and a malicious smile crept up his face.
The gems flickered in his mind.
He walked ahead as a disgusting caricature of Simon Marvel.
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