Mr. Liang’s Curio Shop had rested there on Canal St. for decades. It had featured in famous photos of the city and on numerous touristy postcards. But times had changed and business was conducted via the internet. Fewer people stopped to see Liang’s magical talismans and cure-alls. His debts to the Eastern Sun Bank were mounting, and Liang needed to refinance.
Mr. Tong and Mr. Liu sat at Liang’s dusty desk covered with ornamental dragons, dried Yew leaves, and a petrified Tiger Paw. The bankers knew they had him over a barrel, and they weren’t backing down an inch. Truly, they wanted his loan to default. That way, the gentrification of Canal St. might continue with the bank owning the space.
“What can you offer for collateral?” said Tong, smiling a predator’s smile.
Liang swiped at his mustache which grew a foot past his face. It was an affectation to be sure, but when selling magical items one must look the part. “My shop, of course!”
“We need more,” smirked Liu.
Liang had tried to avoid this. He truly believed in helping people. His eyes narrowed and he said, “I must consult the spirits for guidance.”
Tong hid a chuckle with a cough. Liu openly rolled his eyes.
“What? I run a magical shop,” protested Liang. “Are you surprised?”
It was true that most of Liang’s magical items were useless crap, but not everything was.
He lit three candles, each one shaped like a star. Liang made the complex gestures and voiced the song of reversal. In moments, the smoke pouring from the candles took on the shape of an armored warrior carrying a Guandao. The small figure held the pole-arm over its head then slashed once towards Tong, slashed again towards Liu. The tiny figure nodded curtly towards Liang, then disappeared.
“It is done,” said Liang, standing up.
“Nice hologram,” smirked Liu. “But nothing is done.”
“It is,” said Liang. “Thank you so much for your help.” He ushered the two protesting bankers out the door.
Two days later, the two returned, frantic. “My bank accounts and investments are all gone!” shouted Tong.
“I’m losing my house and my car!” shrieked Liu. “You did this. You must help us!”
Liang straightened his new $800 silk tie. “Perhaps I can. What do you have for collateral?”
Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. Look here for the original writing prompt and a blue button linking to more of this week’s stories: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/sunday-photo-fiction-june-12th-2016/