On Monday, I found the Ark of the Covenant. It was sitting in a dark corner of the Oxfam storeroom, under a moth-eaten throw that looked strangely like the Golden Fleece.
‘You find all sorts in these backrooms,’ I’d been told when I’d started a week ago. At least it’s better than the unwashed underwear I usually found amongst the donations.
The Ark was a little battered. Patches of mahogany-coloured wood visible where the gold plate had worn away. I was sure one of the cherubim was crooked too and the whole thing was covered in a layer of white dust. I put it to one side; I could do with a new telephone table.
The Golden Fleece went into the ‘to sort’ bin.
On Tuesday, I came out of the cupboard that served as our kitchen/staff room to find the manager hanging pictures with Mjolnir. Lightning flashed and cracked around his head with every blow. After admonishing him for the poor choice of tool and highlighting the potential fire hazard, I swapped it for a hammer we kept for just such an occasion.
Mjolnir went back in the window: £1.50.
On Wednesday, I stumbled across the collected volumes of the Jade Books in Heaven. It was a shame; I was looking for John Grisham. I bought them anyway. They looked good as a set and fit nicely into the gap on my mantelpiece, under the mirror. They made the room a little more high-brow.
On Thursday, I found Lugh’s Spear, tossed upside down in an old umbrella stand shaped like an elephant’s foot. The pole was cracked, the blade blunt and tarnished. It was in need of some serious TLC. Really, the things some people donate.
I shelved it with the rest of the wall decorations: 50p, unsuitable for children.
On Friday, I uncovered the Seal of Solomon. In my defence, I didn’t know it was the Seal until two red-skinned chaps with worrying horns and cloven-feet arrived and started sorting the new donations. Even then, I wasn’t that sure. I’ve seen the class of volunteers in other stores and these lads looked almost normal by comparison. I’d been tempted to keep them around, but the regional manager was visiting and he’d a thing about overstaffing.
On Saturday, the Holy Grail fell from a box of nick-nacks, missing my head by inches and hitting the floor with a vibrating ring. The noise blew out the windows of all the shops on the high street. I had a good mind to report the shop to the HSE for unsafe working conditions but, after a sit down and cup of tea, the fight was gone and I got back on with the pricing. I even considered buying it but was sure I already had one somewhere.
I made a point to dig it out when I got home. It was just the thing I was missing from my Ark/telephone table.