Difficult Acquisitions and Exotic Imports

“Difficult Acquisitions and Exotic Imports…” He trailed off and looked up from the business card at the person who’d given it to him.

She nodded and a black curl escaped the giant twist her dark hair was braided into. She was much younger than he’d expected, but then he hadn’t really known what to expect.  “What can I help you with Mr.Warner?”

Warner breathed, leaning forward in the armchair. There was still a chance she would just laugh at him, tell him to stop listening to fairy stories. But he’d seen his business partner’s new life, how things had turned around for him after he’d hired this woman. That’d been when he decided to set up the meeting in the upscale little café. He reached down, pulling out a thick leather bundle from his briefcase.

The woman’s reaction was small but tangible. Her grey eyes possessed a sudden light as he unfolded the bubbled leather to reveal yellowed paper, none too well kept. On the first page, black ink against the old parchment was a thick limbed tree, its branches scratchy and reaching past the page.

“Yggdrasil.” She said softly.

He was surprised only for a moment. “It makes sense you’ve heard of it I guess.”

“It’s a well-known myth.” She said, waiting for him to go on.

“Is it just-it’s real though, isn’t it?”

“It once was, though everyone called it something different.” She settled back into her own chair and sipped her overpriced coffee. “Did you have something specific in mind?”

He faltered for a moment. “Well, yes. Every mention of this tree, healing effects, restorative benefits and there are things out there. I know that now. Things that you get people.”

She paused before nodding. “What exactly are you asking me to acquire, the tree as it was doesn’t exist anymore.”

“I need a….my son, he’s sick. Degenerative and terminal, all the doctors agree. They won’t do anymore, saying it’s impossible. That it’s beyond them. But a piece of this tree, a single leaf and every legend says he’ll be fine. Like magic.” Mr. Warner smiled a little at his own joke, covering the rawness of his words.

“My rates aren’t cheap.” She said eyeing the leather of his briefcase and the cut of his suit.

“I have money.” He said quickly.

She raised her brows, punctuating just how ‘not cheap’ her rates were.

“Please. We’ve spent hundreds of thousands on medical expenses what’s—“

“Three hundred thousand more?” She said flatly.

His eyes widened. “That’s—“

“Expensive.” She finished the word for him. “This cure you are looking for exists. And I can get it for you. Three hundred thousand for an impossibility is a bargain.”

“It would work though?” He asked softer. Steam no longer rose from the coffee cup in his hands. He hadn’t drunk any of it yet.

For the first time she paused before answering, an appraisal blatant in the look she swept across him. “You’ve read the legends Mr.Warner. Everything has a price, remember that.”

“I’ll pay it. If it can heal my son, I’ll pay it.” He said real weight behind his words. She had to understand that this was a last measure…even if it bankrupted their family, if there was a way he needed to try it.

The young woman sighed and looked at him as if he hadn’t understood something that was obvious to everyone else.  She set down her coffee cup and stood, drawing up her leather bag over her shoulder. “Considering the time constraints your son is under I should get to work. You’ll get your cure Mr.Warner. I just hope you’ll be pleased with it, I don’t give refunds.”

He nodded. This was apparently enough to seal their transaction as she gave him a short bob of her head and left, the metallic stiletto heels of her boots chiming against the tile floor. It was only when the café’s door swung shut did he realize he’d never learned her name.

Mr.Warner looked down again at the business card in his hands. Under the “Difficult Acquisitions and Exotic Imports” black script a phone number shimmered in silver lettering, visible when he turned the card from side to side. No name was listed.

He looked at the card a moment longer before pocketing it and leaving the coffee shop.


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