The junk seller

Martin Blake cut through the city using back lanes and empty streets. He was rushing from his apartment on the east side of the city to his office. He crossed down a dirty alley where water ran down the center in a thin gutter. A woman sat leaning against a building watching the man as he rushed by.

“Excuse me sir, would you like to have a look at my goods and see if you would like to buy anything?”
“I haven’t got time, and it looks like you’re selling a load of rubbish.”
“Some of it is good, look at this…” the woman picked up a brown box and rattled it. It sounded like there were coins inside.

“What is it?” Martin stopped, intrigued by the box, forgetting for the moment that he was late.

“It is a box that has an endless supply of coins. Simply turn it upside down and every time you shake it, a coin will come out.”

The woman shook the coin and some silver came out, she shook it again and a gold coin fell out.

“Let me see it,” Martin demanded and snatched it from the woman. He crouched down and shook it until a small pile of silver and gold lay at his feet. He scooped the coins up and put them in his pocket. He looked at the woman. “How much?”

“I only want two hundred dollars, you’ll soon make it back.”
“Why would you want to sell it?”
The old woman was silent.

Instead of waiting for the answer, Martin turned and ran, carrying the box with him.

Martin laughed to himself as he walked into his building. It was busy and people were all rushing to work. He was not too late. He tucked the box under his arm and headed for the elevators. As he waited alongside half a dozen other people an elevator door slid open and Martin rushed in, pressing the button for the twentieth floor. Hew looked about. None of the other people waiting with him came on board. They must not have noticed. Martin laughed again and pressed the door close button. Slowly the elevator ascended and then, with a grinding of steel, it stopped moving.

“Fuck this,” Martin swore and pressed the buttons. Nothing worked to move the machine. He pressed the emergency button but it did not work.

The man sat in corner and looked at the box. “It’ll get going soon,” he said to himself. He gave the box a shake. A dozen coins fell out, each one beautifully designed and each of pure gold. Martin yelled out in joy and shook the box again. This time hundreds of coins came pouring our, sliding into piles all around him. The coins spread all over the floor and glinted beautifully in the electric light. Martin tipped the box up right but the coins kept coming, spurting out of the box like water from a fountain. The coins became deep, pushing up the walls of the elevator. Martin stood up, the coins covering his feet. He grabbed the box and tried to stop the hole on top with his fingers but nothing would stop them pouring forth. A fortune was building up on all sides of him. The elevator groaned, the coins continued, then with a terrific snap, the cables broke and the roof of the elevator tore away, and Martin fell down the shaft and was dashed on the ground below.

When the rescue services found him, he was alone in the elevator, crushed under machine and building debris. What had caused the elevator to malfunction was never discovered.

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