Once Upon a Shop

Drew Campbell

Setting:  Pawn shop, probably in Boston. Present day.


Joey: Pawn shop manager, 29, five o’clock shadow, susceptible to male pattern baldness, wears track suits eight days out of the week.

Tom: Prior pawn shop manager (left position for a new job at a car dealership), 27, clean cut and with hair, probably spends most of his money on clothes trying to impress customers.


A bell rings. Tom walks quickly through the front door and looks around, no one is behind the counter. Tom steps up the counter and begins ringing the bell incessantly. Joey stumbles out from the back room and approaches the counter, eating a sandwich.

JOEY:  Whoa! Would you look at what the cat drug in! Two visits—in the same month? I can’t believe it, you must—

TOM:  Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to talk with your mouth full?


JOEY:  My mother didn’t teach me anything, and speaking of full, at least I’m not the one who is always full of shit.


TOM [Rolls eyes]:  Yeah, well speaking of shit, this place looks worse than last week. Whatchu been doing around here, opening a club at night to stay in business?


JOEY:  Hey, you know, whatever I do around here is my business now. You hear? My business now. You ain’t a part of this.


TOM:  Gladly.


JOEY:  So, what do you want? Coming in here to beg for more money?


TOM:  Requesting a paycheck with my name on it isn’t begging for money, you cheap fuck.


JOEY:  Whoa! You kiss your mother with that mouth?


TOM:  I’d kiss your mother if she wasn’t half as ugly as you.


JOEY:  Whoa! Easy with the advances, Tommy.


TOM:  When I was in here last week…I left my sunglasses in here, probably on the counter.


JOEY:  Yeah, well that sure as hell sounds like a personal problem to me, and I haven’t seen any sunglasses left around here. And even if I did, I don’t have a lost and found around here. This ain’t no damn preschool. Besides, you have a hundred pairs of sunglasses, go fish a pair from your jewelry box.


TOM:  I was here Friday, and I haven’t seen those sunglasses since Friday. I know I left them here, and I know we have a lost and found, and I know you like to take everything that ends up in that lost and found. I left those sunglasses here. They’re expensive. So, how about you go look…please.


JOEY: Whoa! Well, why didn’t you just say so? Why of course, Tommy. Pardon me while I go—no, I’m not looking.


TOM: Excuse me?


JOEY: I said I ain’t looking.


TOM: Oh no, I heard you. I said excuse me—while I come over that counter and kick your ass.


JOEY: You ain’t coming back here ’cause you don’t work here no more. And I ain’t going looking ’cause you didn’t leave your stupid glasses laying around in here. I’d have no business with those glasses anyway. Ha, expensive! Those glasses was ugly and fake. Just like you.

[Bell rings]

TOM: Fake. Right. I know a cheap ass like you would have had your grubby little fingers all over them the minute I left this shithole. I mean…you want me to go check the display case in the corner? They’re bound to be in there by now. Fake. You’re the one with no loyalty around here. You’d sell the shirt off your mother’s back.

JOEY [Addressing incoming customer, an elderly lady, looks like a big spender]:
Hi, can I help you, ma’am?


TOM [Walks toward a display case in the back, exclusive for jewelry, glasses, etc.]:
I know those glasses are in there.

JOEY [Leaves front desk and walks toward Tom by the display case]: You ain’t gonna find your glasses in there, Tommy Boy. You know I run a clean business around here.


TOM: A clean business? It was clean when I was running it.


JOEY: I run a clean business.


TOM: Yeah, so what the hell are those?! [Points toward glasses]

JOEY: Those?! Those is another pair of cheap-ass sunglasses, and they’re fake, just like yours. But guess what, Tommy? They ain’t yours. Those have been in there for months.


TOM: Months? I left this place two weeks ago. I’d have known if those were in there.


JOEY: Yeah, well you didn’t. Just like you don’t know where the hell your damn glasses are at.


TOM: I do know where my glasses are at, which is why I’m here, and I’d like for you to take them out of the damn case before I do it myself.


JOEY: You know, I’ll open that case, but only because I don’t want you causing a scene in front of that nice old lady over there. And, of course, to see the look on your face when you find out that these don’t belong to you. I’ll be expecting an apology.


[Joey opens the display case and turns to looks at Tommy]

[Tom looks at the glasses studiously but briefly. Inside the glasses read: MADE IN CHINA. Tommy stares into space]

JOEY: See what I mean, Tommy? A clean business around here.


TOM: Yeah, well, shit. [Hands glasses back to Joey]


JOEY: Ha! Don’t look so sad, Tommy Boy. I’m sure they’ll turn up eventually. But in the meanwhile, if you ain’t buying anything then you really ain’t got no business being here.

TOM: Easy now, Bud. I’m leaving on my own terms, and I wouldn’t ever waste my time coming in here unless I expected that you stole something of mine with the hope of pawning it off. It wouldn’t be the first time.

JOEY: Whoa! That’s a bold accusation, Tommy. You know, I only ever did that one time, and it was a long time ago. It was one time, Tommy.


TOM: Yeah, you’re right. It was only one time.

[Bell rings, a customer walks in wearing a rather familiar pair of sunglasses]


CUSTOMER: Oh! Hey, Joey! You know, I decided I’m really digging these shades you sold to me on Friday and was wondering what else you might have in store…

TOM [Turns to look at Joey]: Two times.

Contributor's Note

Drew Campbell is a senior in the Secondary English Language Arts program. He and his fiancé are still traveling, working toward the goal of camping in all fifty states. As an emendation to last year’s contributors’ notes, Drew has abandoned the practice of wearing socks with sandals; he now only wears Teva’s, the unprecedented, yet slightly unsightly (but nevertheless functional) lightweight quilted slip-on. Go buy a pair.