By Sidney Williams
This is part one of a four-part serial published July 10-31 2014. The rest of the story can be found here.
“The client wants assurances the sheet music from Casbah will be in his hands this week.”
Amil Bera’s accent became more pronounced as his agitation rose.
“Why the hell else is he funding a trip to London, he asks me. So, now I ask you.”
Aubrey Slater kept her voice calm and even. “I’ve been all over Kensington and Chelsea, Amil. Part of Camden. My back aches and my feet are throbbing.”
“And for this you have nothing to show?”
Aubrey sipped from the dram of Glenfiddich she’d poured to temper the sense of urgency born with Amil’s “please call” message. Just one, she’d told herself. One.
She put the hotel glass next to the only thing she had to show for her slog, a little covered jar that had once been used to hold sterile cotton balls on the makeup table of one West End actress or another.
Or at least that’s what she’d tell Delilah when she offered it as souvenir of the London adventure.
“I have a lot of shops lined up for tomorrow. Something will turn up.”
EBay and Craigslist have brought a lot of forgotten items out of closets and attic corners, but some collectibles required a hard target search through old shops and flea markets. A few disorganized shopkeepers and auction houses still have treasures, called sleepers, nestled away, forgotten, un-cataloged, and, most importantly, not recognized for their value.
Enter Amil Bera and Bera Imports. For a select clientele i.e. those willing to throw wads of cash, Amil dispatched emissaries for the hard-to-find items. Emissaries such as Aubrey who had discovered she possessed a bit of sixth sense for such matters.
She had no idea what made the music for the final song of the first act of the forgotten musical Casbah so important, but for Amil finding the elusive collectable meant that more business would flow from this middleman who’d approached him, a broker for a number of exclusive collectors
“Tomorrow will have to be better, or perhaps I will need to find someone better,” Amil said. “If your back aches, get a massage, my dime, then go find the music.”