The Dollar Store

May 20, 2008
By Nikki Verheye, South Barrington, IL

Thud! The passenger door closed and the view of the life-size doll house mansion stood before them. The structure of the columns and the quantity of windows made it look more like a resort or a hotel than an actual home. The music blared loudly from every corner of the house and could be heard from about half a mile down the road.

“She calls this place home?” Mark questioned in disbelief.

“Wow Mark, there are a lot of people here,” Terry stated as they approached the house.

They walked up to the house passing car after car after car slowly creeping up the long driveway that was illuminated by small lights on either side of the driveway. They were stopped by a large black steel gate that even in the night still had its own shine to it. There were two large pillars on either side of the gate. One of them read 10 in big gold numbers and the other read Worthington Residence, in case someone didn’t know who lived here.

“You’re right; there are a lot of people here.” Mark exclaimed. Mark was too taken away by the house to notice that there were about 50 cars in the driveway and extending into the street.

“There might not be enough room for us.” Terry snickered as we drew closer and closer to the door. Terry knocked on the door and Mark unexpectedly turned more pale than Terry had ever seen him.

What Terry didn’t know was that Mark had given up drinking. He had gotten out of control after his statue of an ancient African traditional healer was stolen. It was given to him by his grandfather who had many ancient collections and the thought of it being out of his hands had caused Mark to drink too much. In fact, he hadn’t really been out with friends or socialized in a long time. Somehow Terry had convinced him to come along and get out of his apartment and this sent a rush of panic through Mark.

The door swung open and the sound waves from stereo escaped from the open door. Elizabeth smiled at Terry and motioned for the two to enter.

“I thought you were never going to show,” Elizabeth said as she hugged Terry. “Who is your friend?”

“Oh, this is Mark, he lives down the street from me,” Terry explained.

Mark extended his hand timidly for a handshake, “Hi, nice house you got here.” Mark said softly. Mark’s quiet voice was barely audible over the stereo’s loud rhythms.

“Enjoy yourselves.” Elizabeth said as the three of them entered the foyer. Elizabeth kept walking and continued to check on the guests in her house.

Mark and Terry stood in the house just inside the door. Mark looked around in interest at the inside of the house. Terry looked for people he knew to talk to.

“I’m gonna grab a beer, you want one?” Terry asked Mark.

“Sure. I’ll take one.” Mark replied hesitantly.

“I’ll be right back. Just mingle. Try to meet some people.” Terry said as headed in the direction of the kitchen.

This was all new to Mark; he had never been to a party like this. Instead of mingling, he started to walk around the front room of the house and just look around and enjoy the atmosphere and the richly decorated room. He seemed to pay more attention to the house itself rather than the people at the party. This was mostly because the people there were all strangers to him.

Mark walked into a small hallway that connected with the main entryway. There were some chairs and couches in this room. People were talking, dancing, and having a good time. He found no particular interest in this room and proceeded into the next. The room was covered in African textiles and artwork. He was taken away by the oil paintings and carvings that were all along the walls. On the wall closest to the window there was a collection of masks, which were among Mark’s favorite pieces of artwork. He continued along the wall to the top of the red brick fireplace, and there it was. Mark gasped in disbelief. It was the same exact one, the same statue that was stolen from him. Mark looked behind him to make sure no one was watching and he picked up the statue and looked at the bottom. On his statue there were black initials. Although the initials were not visible, he was convinced that this was his.

Just then Terry tapped on Mark’s arm. “Hey man, here’s your beer.”

The touch startled Mark and the small statue nearly slipped form his fingers and to the wood floor. Mark let out a large breath. “Thanks.” Mark said paying no mind to the beer.

“Well, what do you think? Nice house right?” Terry questioned.

“Yeah it’s alright.”

“So, wanna go play some pool? There seemed to be a lot of people down there. We should go win ourselves some money.” Terry suggested.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever let’s go.” Mark replied. He knew the only way to get Terry out of the room would be to get him interested in something else.

Eventually they made their way through the mansion to the stairs that led down to the basement. By the time they were in the basement and made it to the immense billiards room, they had both finished their beers.

“I’ll go get us in on some games. Do you want to go get us another round of beers?” Terry said handing the empty bottle to Mark.

“Yeah, I’ll be right back.” Mark said slyly and he bolted out of the room, dashed down the crowded hallways and past the blaring music until he reached the room. Mark was like an animal on the prowl for prey and would stop at nothing until he obtained it.
Mark slunk into the room and was taken off guard. In the room Elizabeth stood talking to a handsome gentleman, who looked way too old for her age, holding the wooden carved statue in her right hand extended all the way out to her side and parallel to the ground. Mark no longer cared if anyone saw him and his eyes looked intently at the valuable possession he was about to snatch. With two large lunges forward his hand reached for the statue. Startled, Elizabeth whirled around her arm in a locked position and clocked Mark across the head giving him an instant concussion and causing him to fall to the ground.
“Oh no! Mark!” Elizabeth screamed. “Someone call for help! This stupid statue, I got it for my dad at the dollar store anyway!”

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