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Contamination

[The front door to Illumination Antiques opens up, and our final customer of the evening takes his exit. Albert smiles with a wave and then shuts the door, before hanging up a “CLOSED FOR NOW” sign. Albert’s eyes lower to a studied squint, as his smile starts to fade away.]

“Injunction, you say? Very well. If my business is to be taken away from me, it’s only right that I make sure the fellows that are committing this breach of my home understand exactly what it means to cease-and-desist.”

[As Albert turns around, an unbelievably cluttered space of trinkets rest on cobweb-covered bookshelves. From this perspective, there’s very little room to move around beyond a few makeshift pathways.]

“You may not be able to see the microbes in the air, but the skin cells of time and history coat these wares! Their placement is just as valuable as their eventual discovery. As you can probably tell, there’s many areas that haven’t seen the light of day in a fortnight. Who knows what’s managed to fester abnormal life back there at this point. For the first time in more years than I can count, we’ll have to get on our bare hands and knees to get into the crevices for a proper inventory, as the cease-and-desist letter enforces, of course.”

[We are now standing in front of a closed door that has an “OUT OF ORDER” sign on it.]

“You may be wondering how long this bathroom has been closed. To be precise, that would have been right before our septic system failed us. We couldn’t financially support the burden, so we just let it continue to build up until the toilet was no longer operational. By the time the financial resources were available, the spores were strong enough to take your breath away. And if it wasn’t those fumes, it was the centipede invasion.

“We’ll have to get in there with all ten fingers and show that infestation and biological outbreak who’s the true authority – per the cease-and-desist letter, of course.”

[Albert catches a whiff of the stagnant organisms through the cracks of the door and immediately shields his face with his collar.]

“Right, onward then…”

[Finally, the backyard portion of Illumination Antiques. Except, it’s not really a backyard. Instead, it’s a massive, excavated hole that is filled to the brim with every miscellaneous item you could possibly think of.]

“It’s really the unknown, beneath what we can actually see, that really gets the heart goin’, doesn’t it Mr. Kleen?”

“Of the lot, I can’t imagine how breathless it must feel to have an opportunity to get your nose deep into what really counts.”

“To get into those spots where the sun doesn’t get to shine – to sanitize that dirty endurance of time that lives within these walls with your never-ending artillery of decontaminants. Until it becomes an obsession.”

[Albert shrugs his shoulders, with a smile re-forming on his face.]

“Per the cease-and-desist, of course – but the real question is, Mr. Kleen…”

[Albert hits a switch, which shuts down the store lights.]

“What happens when that obsession ceases you?” 

Albert Lamplight