'Sarge? Sarge! Quit pressing the buttons on the register!'
'You're messing up my totals!'
Sarge giggled, backing away from the register. She picked up her cat, Cleo, and scratched her behind the ears.
'Sorry, sea. I don't know what's gotten into me.'
They both looked up as light poured into the dim store and squinted to see who dared to enter their sanctuary. The silhouette of a clown indicated the identity of the intruder, and sea recognized it immediately. She held out her hand to shake his.
'It's good to see you!'
said Happydude. sea smiled.
'Yes, we did receive a new shipment today; the second set of CHOPPERS cards are here, along with the first two STUMPED cards.'
sea pointed out the cards.
'Here we have an Afgncaap5, mint condition. Here is a Giguschild, a bit more valuable now that he's disappeared...'
sea stopped as Happydude belched loudly.
'OH, okay, you want the really valuable stuff. Right this way, please.'
sea threw a watch-the-shop-while-I-schmooz-this-customer look at Sarge and lead Happydude into a back room. The valuables showroom features maximum-security display cases built into the walls and special lighting. The lighting, which sea designed herself, causes the cards to sparkle. The concept is patented, and sea has taken great pains to ensure that it remains a secret. The overall effect is to cause card collectors to spontaneously lose control of their pocketbooks, and it works like a charm - especially when the collector is drinking alcohol.
'Would you like some wine? Brandy? Scotch?'
Ever the sycophant when money is involved, sea poured Happydude a glass of the finest Scotch she had and began to show him the cards.
'Now, this Red Fox here is very rare. Only te--er, five in existence. Completely authentic signature. And this Yowuzupman...'
sea turned off the lights in the store, locked the door, and activated the alarm. Signs posted on the glass inform would-be thieves that any unauthorized persons who enter the store will be instantly teleported into sea's personal torture chamber, no questions asked. sea doubted when she posted the signs that anyone would be stupid enough to try to rob her, but she prepared for the possibility anyway. Ex-Rambling occasionally floated in and out, but being a ghost, could do little more than cause a few cards to fall over, which in turn caused them to be teleported into sea's torture chamber. Finding cards in the torture chamber was quite puzzling to sea until she installed paranormal activity recorders in the store.
sea turned and walked quickly down the sidewalk, clad in black leather and wearing combat boots - her auction outfit. She thought it painted an intimidating portrait and went well with the black leather briefcase handcuffed to her wrist. She took the stairs up to the museum entrance two at a time and flashed a wink at Dancer, the museum curator, as she went into the auction hall.
The owners of the two most prestigious museums in town were waiting in the room; one tall, dark, and wolfishly handsome, the other a red-haired ex-military man that looked like the-boy-next-door. sea was not the least bit surprised that no one else had come; these two had no doubt pulled as many strings as they could to make the auction private. sea set the briefcase on the table and held out her wrist. An armed guard wearing a red suit-jacket removed the handcuff and opened the case for the two men to see.
Greed glittered in the men's eyes as they gazed upon the treasures. sea removed the first item, the Holy Grail. She held it up for them and began to explain its background. The redheaded chap, who was practically salivating, growled
'Shut up and start the blasted bidding!'
She smiled and glanced at the auctioneer, who nodded.
'The bidding will begin at ten million Moxons.'
Who are these mysterious museum owners? What else is sea selling? Where is this story going? Tune in next week to find out!