“Why look at this, Mr. Smyth. You must come see what I have found.”
Mr. Smyth meandered across the wide expanse of they foyer to look at Mr. Callahan’s newfound treasure. It was a book.
“Oh, it’s just another dirty, old book. No one reads those anyway,” said Mr. Smyth dismissively.
“I know no one reads them, but look at its binding. Look at its golden inscription. It is a work of art.”
“I know a work of art when I see one, and this is most certainly not one.”
“Then what do you call it?”
“A dirty, old book,” responded Mr. Smyth with a huff. He turned around and strolled back to his spot in the deep recesses of a loveseat across the room.
Mr. Callahan took a long look at the book, as if to confirm his suspicions that it was in fact just another meaningless chunk of wood pulp held between what used to be cow skin. With a sigh, he placed the book back on the shelf where he found it minutes earlier, nestled between a tchotchke porcelain cat and souvenir Eiffel Tower snow globe. Its antiquity stood out like a thumb that was slammed in a door that morning by a friend who was not aware you were standing outside the door, waiting for him to finally get out of the bathroom.
Mr. Callahan stole a furtive glare at Mr. Smyth. He glanced back at the book. He slowly reached up to grab it, but only after making sure Mr. Smyth was not watching. He wasn’t. He was fully engrossed in a piece of loose skin near his fingernail. Mr. Callahan took the book and slipped it into his jet-black, velvet blazer. He walked across the room and took a seat on the sofa, situated to the left of Mr. Smyth’s loveseat.
“You know what they say about loveseats?” asked Mr. Callahan slyly.
“No, what?” Mr. Smyth responded, playing along. A smile crawled onto his face.
“That people who sit in them will never fall in love.”
They held their straight faces for only a moment, but short peals of laughter broke their trance.
“We should really get back to looting this mansion,” said Mr. Smyth after he had regained his composure.
“Of course. After you, my dear friend.”
“Why thank you.” Mr. Smyth got up, leaving his loveseat in the midst of a difficult breakup. Mr. Callahan followed suit, but only after patting his jacket to confirm the book was still there, and the pair walked out of the room.
The Candlestick Maker and the Loveseat
Once upon a time, there was a candlestick maker. He lived in solitude, molding wax into long, slender candles day after day, night after night. He was the first mail order producer of candles, so he never had a shop with which to interact with people. Once he received an order form, he created the candle and shipped it off without any interchange of words with the purchaser. It’s true what they say happens when your job consumes you: you begin to look like your work. Sure enough, the candlestick maker resembled one of his fine tapers. He was pale, tall, thin, and always had a waxen complexion.
When you live alone making candles, you don’t need many amenities. In fact, besides his candle making apparatuses, there were only two things in his modest home: a bathtub and a loveseat. The first’s existence was logical (you have to stay clean, even if you are living by yourself), while the latter was more of an anomaly. The candlestick maker didn’t even know how he had acquired this piece of furniture. One day he woke up, and it was sitting next to his bed.
The evening the chair appeared, the artisan had a date planned with a fine dame. She was the daughter of the butcher, who was overly protective. The candlestick maker knew he was lucky to even get a glimpse at the butcher’s daughter, let alone go on a date with her. Seeing other people was a rarity for him, so a date was almost inconceivable. He still had not decided how they would spend their evening together, so he sat down in the loveseat to ponder.
A fancy spaghetti dinner? Too cliché. A trip to the ball? Too expensive. A night at the opera? Too boring.
The candlestick maker came up with countless ideas but quickly shot down each and every one of them. The hours ticked by, symbolized by the slowly melting candles that lit his room. Finally he had it. They would visit the baker and have a sampling of all the scrumptious treats his shop made. The best conversations always happen over a piece of double fudge chocolate mousse cake. Or two pieces. Or three. The baker’s cake was that delicious.
The candlestick maker, now filled with vigor and excitement, made a move to get up out of the loveseat and get ready for the date. But he couldn’t. Get up, that is. He kicked his legs, he wiggled his rump, he cajoled the chair, but he remained firmly attached to the loveseat.
He stopped struggling in order to regain control of his thoughts, which were skipping in circles and laughing. He took a deep breath and exhaled. This was mistake number two (number one was sitting in the strange chair in the first place), for his air blew out the remaining flame on the candle. Darkness overtook the room.
An hour passed. Another hour went by. The third decided to hang around a little longer, then it checked its watch and rushed out the front door. The candlestick maker had missed his time to pick up the butcher’s daughter. He hoped that someone would come by and learn of his predicament, but then he remembered that he was a solitary, lonely, creator of candles. No one would come.
Sure enough, no one came. He sat stuck to the loveseat, unable to move. There he sat, and there he died. By sitting on this chair that was not his, he lost his chance at finally finding love. Loveseats are dangerous items of furniture. When one is around, you must always watch your backside.