Jonah looked at the bottles and stifled a snort. The household sale – they had no idea of their worth, of what they sold. He took two bottles for $10 each which he knew he could resale for $300. This was his life – bric-a-brac deals.

His face lined and course, rumbles the home sellers at 6am before the “rabble”.

He sneaks a bit of jewellery into his coat while backs are turned.

He loved the discoveries and fleecing the unwitting. It was not like they had no money. It was their fault after all.

He learnt his profession sneakily too. While his mother entertained guests and ushered him away, he took down her hardcover books with glossy pages detailing the worth of Royal Doulton, Noritake and Wedgewood.

It was never the beauty, it was the chase and the finds, he liked. And of course the money, although he was by no means wealthy.

But then Jonah met Rachel. He met his match. She took his eyes off the prize, her wide hips standing square, her steps in pink platforms stable and confident. And those lips, strong talking and sassy. No girly girl but dressed in pink, orange and white. And before he knew it she’d got that vase and set of glasses he had his eye on.

“Hey, you did me!” Jonah said, turning his eyes on her.

“What are you complaining about?” She shone a smile full of friendly humour on him. “About time you got a run for your money… Yeah I know all about you and your racket. No one can beat you at this game.”

“So I’m famous. I deserve a cut.”

“Yeah, right!”

“Ok. I can recognise talent. What about you work for me? You’ve got a lot to learn still.”

“That’s a laugh. My mum always said you were arrogant.”

“Your Mum?”

“I believe you had sex with her once and conceived me… Elvira.”

“Oh. I think from memory we had sex quite a few times. But I didn’t know she had a child.”

“No, she realised what a selfish sod you were.”

“Well. I have to agree. I’m honest. Did you look for me?”

“Mum did tell me where to find you – or where she last knew where you were. You haven’t travelled. It wasn’t a journey across the continents.”

“But you wanted to meet me?”

“Blood thicker than water idea, I suppose. Although Mum thinks you’re an utter shit. She’s furious I’m here. Worried you’ll let me down. But how can you? I have no expectations.”

“With so little expectations it’s a wonder you looked me up.”

“Mum admits you’re clever. And have a keen eye for value in the trash. Something Mum thinks we have in common.”

“This is a bit of news. I need a drink. Maybe on your takings!”

“That’d be right. Shout your daughter the first round at least.”

Jonah didn’t disbelieve the young woman who had mannerisms of someone older. She was confident and unself-conscious. Her mother all over. But the curly black hair was his and spot of hazel in the blue of her left eye.

A daughter. Once he imagined a son. But a daughter. A bit late to wet her head now.

“Come here then. I’ll get the first round.”

“Alright then, Jonah.”

“You could try out “Dad””

“You gotta be kidding. We’ve got to work out the terms of the partnership.”

“Partnership! I’ve never worked with anyone!”

“I showed you you’re down on your game this morning. You need me.”

“I’m obviously getting soft in my old age. I can help you out.”

“You help me out. Like you did today? Old age – delusional more like.”

But Jonah liked that this sounded possibly like a beginning. A young life to enter his dusky cobwebbed one. Yeah, a beginning…

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