This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.



In preparation for my life as an RV nomad, I took a shopping cart full of household goods to a local resale shop. I walked through the alley to the drop off door in the back and chatted with a nice man who gave me a receipt for my donation before hauling it into the bowels of the organization. With empty cart, I decided to swing around to the front door and peruse the wares, just "to be a-doing".





And this is what I found high on a shelf in the "knick-knack" section. It stood up there alone and it called out to me with piercing clarity, a cry that was both a curse and a revelation, but definitely a "MUST HAVE!" I stood on my toes and stretched my arm to tip it just a bit and topple it from its perch into my protective bosom. Hmmmm, no price on this queer little sculpture, but no matter, it was mine at any cost. The treasure collectors had not been in today, I thought. They missed the booty, dare I say motherload, as I had snatched an antique cut crystal pitcher just a moment earlier.



price tag: $14.95 value: up to $195.00

How this treasure would fit into my simple nomadic life, I was not certain. At any rate, it would make a great gift!


I took the pitcher and the sculpture to the cash register where a young man searched the little piece for a price tag. Still in his hands he remarked, "No tag. Nope, you can't buy it." Instinctively, I grabbed it from his hands which startled him as much as it startled me, but I knew that if I dallied another moment, I would never see it again. "You can't have it" he said firmly pointing to a sign above his head, which read No Tag No Sale. "I need to put it in this basket," he proffered, showing me a cache of tagless wares confiscated from unwitting patrons. "Can you save it for me?" I asked. "No," he said, "No tag, NO SAVES, no sale!" I answered that I would find someone to put a price on it and I took the pitcher and my sculpture and turned briskly away.






As I made my way to the back of the store, I began to see the odious signs, No Tag No Sale, posted throughout the establishment, something I had never noticed in the past. Back in the bowels, I parted heavy plastic curtains, revealing a dark scene from hell. Old men with ragged bundles in their arms shuffled between large bins of mustly clothes, only to look up briefly in my direction. I held up the sculpture and asked for a price tag and all the old demons seemed to chuckle in unison, saying "we are not allowed to do it and the Pricer is not here right now." I groaned and they chuckled again, which caused me to seize the piece to my breast and turn abruptly back through the curtain, into the brightly lit store.





I contemplated the contemptable task of peeling a price tag from one of the other pieces on display and sticking it on the thing that I wanted so badly. And then two things occured to me: one, this was a sick game where people were tempted to peel stickers from one object to place on the object that they wished to buy, leaving the other bereft of a tag. The second thought was that the so called Pricer had created a loophole in store policy by deliberately leaving tags off special pieces that he or she would like to own. After putting them briefly out on the shelf for public perusal, a provision had been met, but once the thing was retrieved back into the bowels, it could be safely stolen, borrowed, or bought, by a preferred customer.





After stopping for a moment and turning off my topsy-turvy logic machine, I came to the conclusion that this was a fantasy I dreamed up to explain the world. The employees at this store were all hard workers and the Pricers might just be ordinary people who stocked and cleaned and shlepped things around. And if you asked nicely, one of these folks would produce a sticker and you could be on your way. Skip ahead in this story, and, yes, the sculpture was purchased by me. Now, we get to the meat of this story. Look at the sculpture. What does it mean?





In the photo above, look at the figure on the left. The man is naked, his head is bowed, his knees are bent, and his hands are joined in prayer. He has a rope secured around his waist from which hang two hook like shapes. The man on the right is clothed in a jacket and hat. He is not submissive in any way. His hand rests on the naked man's shoulder in a gesture of either encouragement or coercement. His other hand is raised in a gesture of authority in allegiance with a higher power. On his shoulder hangs a rope, in ready for his next "catch". So, what does it mean?





The obvious answer is that it depicts slavery, but for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it speaks loudly, "Thou shalt not steal and Thou shalt not lie, or to hell you go!" (and here I am not referencing the hellish bowels of the resale shop). In my opinion this is a one of a kind piece made by an accomplished artist, perhaps as a gift to someone special. I would love to give it as a gift or swap with someone special in my life, and that day nears as I prepare for my nomadic RV life. But beware you bidders, this piece is hot!





© 2017 Lea Atiq, all rights reserved