“How much?” Ray Purvis roared. “I said buy something, not the bloody shop.”
Ralph Fly squirmed in a chair across the desk from his boss. Desperate to avoid discussing the details of his exploratory venture to the Crystal Shop, he slid the plastic shopping bag containing the bright crimson pyramid behind his chair and out of Purvis’s sight.
“Well it was the only thing … I just sort of had to buy it. She came in you see …” Ralph spluttered.
Purvis held up his hand to stop Ralph, “Yeah, and twisted your arm. 160 dollars, Christ! I hope it was worth it. What did you find out?”
“Not good news Mr Purvis. She owns the place and doesn’t seem interested in selling. Said she was going to make the business a success to prove her dad wrong.”
Ray Purvis shook his head in discontent disgust, tinged with self pity. “First that maggot-brain real estate agent has got the deli owners offside, and now this weirdo is using my money to prove to her father that she’s “Business Woman of the Year. I can see I’m going to have to handle this myself,” he told his young assistant.
“I’m sure if anyone can talk her into selling, it’s you Mr Purvis,” Ralph said.
Purvis nodded and Ralph stood up to leave the room, discreetly picking up the large shopping bag. The crackle of plastic caught Purvis’s attention.
“Aren’t you going to show me what I bought, Fly?” Purvis asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing, really …”
“Nothing? Better not be, not for 160 dollars. Come on.” Purvis said holding out his hand.
“You wear it,” Ralph muttered as he handed over the bag. “It’s supposed to concentrate your mental energy.”
Purvis took the helmet out of the bag and looked at it in amazement, rotating it in his hands. “There’s a leaflet,” Ralph continued, “It tells how to put the pyramid on, and all about it.”
After Ralph had hurried out of the room, Purvis fell for the temptation of trying on the helmet, but like Ralph before him, he discovered that it was easier to put on than take off.
* * *
It was a quiet moment at Thomas Delicatessen and Fine Foods. Business at the deli had increased considerably since Dean and Madge Thomas bought the place five years ago. For the first time they had some surplus cash to invest.
“We don’t need the twenty thousand sitting in a bank account on call,” Dean told his wife.
Madge was worried, this was money they had put aside for their daughter Jane. “What do we know about investments? I mean, look at all those experts who lost everything last year.”
“It doesn’t have to be the stock market. What about a property trust, you know, like that mob on TV, Regal Mortgage? Properties always good, look at this place.”
As they agreed on Regal Mortgage, Sky Crystal entered the shop and walked over to the counter, picking up a brown bread roll from the bread basket on the way.
Sky handed the roll to Dean. He weighed it for a moment in his hands and then placed it on the scales. “Ten grams!” he told to his wife. “See, underweight again. What did I tell you?”
Dean politely suggested Sky take another roll, but Sky was happy with the roll she had selected. “This is fine. I only wanted a small one.”
“You must take another one,” Dean replied forcefully, his politeness transformed into strident insistence. He told Sky he needed to keep that one as evidence. He was fed up with the bakery supplying him with underweight rolls, forcing him to cheat his customers.
Madge, not wanting to hear yet another manic rave about the decline of standards in the modern world, cut Dean off by passing Sky a replacement roll. “Go on, please take this one, it’ll keep him happy.”
“Meditating keeps me happy,” Sky said as Jane, returning from school, entered the shop. “It gives me an empty mind,” she continued.
“That’d be right!” a distraught Jane caustically remarked before rushing through to the residence behind the shop.
Dean and Madge were both surprise and embarrassed by their daughter’s outburst. “Take no notice of Jane, Sky.” Madge said, “She’s having a few problems at school.”
Sky, with her usual wide-eyed expression of tranquillity, appeared totally unruffled by the comment. “I understand. Bad vibes have a lot of negative energy. Tell you what, I’ve got something next door that will help.”
Sky paid for her roll and glided out of the shop.
In the kitchen behind the shop, Jane told her mother about the horrors of her day: the rowing accident, the taunting by the brat pack at school and finally the detention which had meant that she was too late to visit Ruth in hospital.
Mother and daughter talked as they drank tea. Madge then suggested, with a smile, that they give this girl Annabelle the treatment.
“Yeah, let’s,” Jane said with gentle conspiratorial giggle, as she took the paper and pen offered by her mother.
Jane wrote the name Annabelle Purvis on the piece of paper. She put the paper into the freezer compartment of the family fridge as Sky entered the kitchen.
“Here’s something to bring you good karma,” Sky said handing Jane a small crystal. “It’s a single terminated smoky. They’re great for absorbing negative energy and balancing the mind.”
Jane thanked Sky for the crystal and apologised for her earlier rudeness. “You know, I am feeling a bit better,” Jane told Sky. But, she thought to herself, is this crystal power or freezer magic.
In the next episode, “Purvis in action”, Ray Purvis makes a personal visit to the Crystal Shop and Deli while his daughter is unexpectedly struck down with the flu.