And the Winner is…
Every head in Triple J Antiques turned when the loud ringtone of Jason Whittaker’s phone blasted through the building.
“That’s mine,” Jason called. He picked his way through the pieces scattered over the floor of the showroom and glanced at his watch. 4:30. Thirty minutes till closing. It had been one of those days at the shop. The days where nothing gets done and everything goes wrong, he mused. Gotta find that silly lamp tomorrow, write that letter for Mr. Whilk…call Mr. Brown and tell him to reschedule the meeting…
Halfway to the phone, Jason looked up in surprise. Why are there so many customers in here? He glanced towards the front door where Jillian’s table was set up. It had been her idea to give out free food to people who came in. That day it was green smoothies. A glance at the table revealed that the customers were definitely not there for the smoothies…not one had been touched since morning.
Finally, Jason lethargically reached for the phone, which was sitting atop a mahogany dresser. He mechanically read the caller name, Connie Kendall, and swiped to answer.
He jumped when her enthusiastic voice exploded in his ear. “Jason! Are you ready?”
Jason began the careful journey back to the counter. “Ready for what?”
“Ready for what?! Are you kidding?!”
Jason turned just in time to see Jillian carrying an armload of china to the window display. Dropping the phone to his side, he waved his free hand at her. “Uh, Jillian, that’s the wrong set—”
Before he could finish, Jillian tripped on the leg of a coffee table and sent the teapot flying across the room. There were several screams and gasps of surprise from the customers as it shattered into a hundred tiny pieces.
“Perfect,” Jason sighed.
“Sorry! Sorry!” Jillian darted into the broom closet.
And I already had a buyer for that, Jason thought disgustedly.
Jason remembered Connie on the phone. “What were you saying, Connie?”
“What’s going on over there? I thought I heard something break.”
“You did, but—”
“Excuse me, sir!”
Jason was cut off again by a lady standing at the counter.
“How may I help you?” he asked, placing the phone atop the cash register.
She held out a pair of earrings. “Are these diamonds real?” she questioned.
“No, that display in the back has our replicas.”
“I looked these up online and read that they were made with real diamonds.”
“The original is, but the replica—”
“JASON!” the phone shrieked.
“Excuse me,” Jason apologized. He picked the phone up. “Connie, can you hang on a sec? I’m in the middle of something.”
“But we’re almost there!”
There was a brief silence on Connie’s end of the line before she spoke. “Jason, don’t tell me you don’t know about this. Whit was supposed to let you know!”
“We haven’t had a chance to talk recently, now just tell me what’s going on!”
Connie began to laugh. “Ha! At least I know what’s going on for once—” Jason was unable to hear the rest. The screech of the smoke alarm made everyone jump.
“Smoke alarm!” Jillian shouted, waving her broom furiously. “Fire! Everyone out!”
“Jillian! There’s no fire!” Jason yelled. From his place, he could see that a wisp of smoke from a candle had set the overdramatic alarm off. “It’s that guy over there who lit the scented candle!”
It was too late. Jillian’s frantic warning had been very effective. The customers stampeded out of the building, screaming, shoving, and trampling everything in their way. This included several vases, a flimsy basket, a plastic plant, and Jillian’s table of green smoothies.
Three seconds later, Triple J Antiques was empty.
The customer with the scented candle quickly blew out the flame. “Sorry about that,” he called.
Jason’s phone shrieked. “JASON, WHAT’S GOING ON?”
Jason held the phone to his ear. “Connie, call me back.”
He hung up. “Jillian, go outside and tell everyone that there’s no fire. I’ll see if I can—”
Suddenly, there was a hiss from above their heads. Jason, Jillian, and the customer yelped when they felt cold water pouring on them.
“The sprinklers!” they shouted together.
As water pooled on the floor, Jason sprinted for the fuse box. He struggled with the rusted door for a moment and finally, it popped open. It only took him a second to find the switch for the sprinkler and flip it. Jason sighed, half in relief and half in disgust.
“Should I go now?” the man asked, still holding the candle.
“I think we need to close up for today,” Jason said weakly. He surveyed the damage. The books were damp, the furniture wet, and the spilled smoothies plus the water made the floor look like a swamp.
“I’ll get the mop,” Jillian said.
Jason leaned against the wall. “Another fine day at Triple J’s,” he muttered.
He looked up as the door opened. His jaw dropped when he saw who it was.
It was Jack Allen himself, with a broad grin. “Hello, Jason!”
“What?! Jack?” Jason wondered if he should pinch himself. Suddenly, he was aware that he was in the midst of a disaster: Everything was soaked, green goop was all over the floor, and the smoke alarm was still beeping every two seconds.
“Sorry about the mess,” Jason stuttered. He rubbed his foot through a puddle. “Slight run-in with the sprinkler system…we were just about to clean that up…sorry about all this.”
Jack held back a laugh. “There’s no need to apologize, Jason. I heard what happened from the crowd of people outside.”
Suddenly, Jason came to himself. Who cared about a few puddles, some spilled glop, or even a noisy smoke alarm? The Allens were back in town! “Uh, Jack, could we please start over?”
Obligingly, Jack exited. Jason then realized what Connie had been trying to tell him. Dad probably forgot to tell me, he thought. He grinned to himself. “Connie, I guess we can call it even.”
A second later, Jack returned through the door. “Hello, Jason!” he repeated.
Jason splashed through the puddles and leaped over the swamp as if they were nonexistent. “Jack! Welcome home!”
Congratulations!!! 🎉🎉🎉 Your prize is… A new water filter!
Your not excited are you? Well then, I’ll have to pick something else! I’ll send your email! Congratulations again!
Join us next year for another competition!!!