The Curator-Excerpt

The silver-haired Curator stared at the item he had purchased at the auction. The event, simply referred to as The Auction, was by invitation only and frequently changed locations. The clandestine members of the society insisted on anonymity. The non-descript building with the chain-link fence was not one of the Curator’s preferable locations, but he abided it when he had to and according to the item he was hunting for. He so much enjoyed the palatial county estates or high-rises of downtown or even the underground grotto over the industrial park; but his was not to question why or where.  

The purchase lay on the custom, climate-controlled mat in front of him.

He stared at it.

 Should the authorities ever raid his place of business and question the purchase, he could neither confirm nor deny how he came into possession of it. Perhaps he found it in a closet. Perhaps in the back of a chest of drawers in the basement of his grandma’s house.

The receipt he received at auction was nondescript, it could have been for a used lawnmower by a person that felt it their civic duty to hand out receipts with every purchase.

He could truthfully say that he had no knowledge of how or where it came from and he certainly wouldn’t bring to light the auctioneer that sold it to him. In doing so, the Curator would be banned from The Auction and his reputation in their version of the underworld, soiled forever.

The Curator didn’t know where it came from and what’s more, didn’t care. It was his now and his it would stay. Resale was not in his vocabulary.

He never asked, in all his dealings with the portly auctioneer; and that was the genetic makeup of the auction.

As the Clintons said: “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; and that is precisely what the Curator intended to do.  

He glanced at the wall thermometer; exactly 63 degrees and 21% humidity, anything under 15% could cause brittleness in documents and mold on other items. He looked back at what lay before him and was not concerned with neither brittleness nor mold.   The Curator shuttered, but not from the temperature in the room. He trembled, but not from his age. It was the item itself that brought a physical reaction to him…