Dream of: 14 February 1995 "Outstretched Wing"

As I walked past the various booths of an indoor flea market, I was unable to find anything which interested me: I concluded I had arrived late and everything had been picked over. However as I paused in front of one booth, a piece of pottery caught my attention. I picked it up, turned it over in my hands, and set it back down several times, trying to decide whether I might want to buy it. I saw a price tag on it for over a dollar, but a second price tag said it was only twenty-five cents. Finally I handed the piece to the woman in the booth and asked her how much it was. She conferred with another man here, and when they handed it back, the twenty-five cent price tag had been pasted over with a price tag of seventy cents, which they said was the price.

I protested they shouldn't be allowed to change a price like that once a customer had chosen something. But they said the price had never been 25 cents and they didn't know how that price tag had been put on the piece. I wanted the piece anyway; said I would take it.

I thought I was finished, but then saw the man carrying things out from a back room and setting them in the booth. He was bringing out items which no one else had seen; it might therefore be advisable to take a look. I immediately saw something I liked and picked it up, even though I wasn't exactly certain what it was. It appeared to be a piece of brown marble or soapstone about twenty-five centimeters long and ten centimeters high. Someone had carved a large outstretched wing on one side of it. The other side was indistinct, although it had also clearly been carved. The wing, however, was magnificent, and I immediately decided I wanted it. I asked the woman how much it was. She said it was ten dollars and I told her I would take it.

The man continued bringing out more items and I continued browsing. I saw some interesting pieces, but nothing that thrilled me. However, one piece of furniture caught my attention. I was unsure exactly what it was. It was about two meters high and made of dark wood. It had a small seat on it, but it didn't look exactly like a chair. I asked the woman how much it was and she said $20. I thought that was too much, but I might be willing to pay $15. In the meantime, other people had been coming in, and another man began looking at the same piece. When the woman said she would take $17 for the piece, and I still hesitated, the man said he would take it. I had missed my chance, but I wasn't terribly disappointed.

I found one other small item I wanted, then gathered everything together; as I paid the man, I heard him comment about how I shouldn't have changed the price on the first item I had picked up. He apparently was insinuating I had put the 25 cent sticker on the piece. I indignantly protested I had done no such thing.

But my attention was distracted by something else. As we were talking, a small girl probably about five years old had stealthily walked up to one of the tables, and when she thought no one was looking, she picked up something and slipped it under her coat. I hesitated only an instant before grabbing her arm and confronting her. She immediately pulled out what she had stolen and put it back. The man who owned the shop came over when he saw me grab the girl, but he wasn't going to do anything about it and told me to just let her go.

I hesitated, thinking it didn't matter to me. I was just about to release my hold, but then I realized the girl's mother was also standing next to the girl; I thought the mother had probably been responsible for the crime. The girl's mother looked as if she might be Hispanic. She was rather short, had black hair and was probably about 30 years old. The idea that she was training her daughter to steal upset me to such a point I decided I wouldn't let the girl go, but would report her to the police.

By now the girl had begun crying loudly. her face was contorted in a miserable mask. But I didn't feel sorry for her. Thinking some police were in the area right outside the building, I pulled her over to the door and outside. I saw some men in brown uniforms and pulled the girl over to them. But when I began explaining what had happened they seemed completely indifferent, and seemed unwilling to take any action against the girl.

I loosened my grip and the girl broke free. As she began running across the gravel lot, I thought of chasing her. But realizing the apparent futility, I just stood and watched her run away.

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