“Are you sure about this, mister?” the aging pawn-shop owner asked. “Seems like a pretty sentimental thing. And I can’t offer you much for it.”
Jason shook his head. He flipped the ring over in his palm, taking a moment to notice his calloused finger tip. He could still feel the grooves of the inscription. The years had worn down the words. “I…” he started. “I just need the cash.” He dropped the circle of white gold onto the shop keeper’s case. The sharp tick of the metal hitting glass top settled as the ring spun to a dead stop. The shop keeper swept it into a velvet box. The box snapped shut and was placed into a row with a hundred others just like it. “Ok, where’s the money?”
The shop keeper crept around to the side of the counter where he had a small, petty cash safe under the register. He stooped down to enter the code and unlock it. Jason grew impatient. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. But all he could see were reds and blues, greens and oranges, yellows and purples, all vaporizing with a flash. Striped shapes combined with little plastic packets, growing and growing into larger geometric explosions.
“Here you are,” said the shop keeper, bracing his hand against his back, hoping for a gratifying pop. “That’s one-hundred dollars there, just like we agreed.”
“This should get me through tomorrow,” Jason mumbled reaching for the stack of twenties on the glass case. He felt the shop keeper’s hand glide over his. The wrinkled hand was stronger than he thought.
“Son,” the old man started, taking his glasses and placing them on top of his head. “It’s a hard business that I chose. I’m people’s last resort. I’m who they turn to when their life has just turned black and useless. So when I see a nice man like you, walking in here talking non-sense about Sugar Crushes and Jellies, well it makes a body’s heart-break.” Jason pulled his hand from the shop keeper’s and placed the fist full of twenties in his pocket. Facebook didn’t accept cash, so he’d have to make a deposit at the bank. And his branch didn’t open until morning. Six hours to go. “What I’m saying to you son is that in order to break this, whatever it is, you need to want to break it.”
“Oh I plan on breaking it,” Jason whipped back around. “I plan on breaking all the chocolate. On clearing all the jelly. And when I’m done, I’m going to start over from the beginning and do it again.”
He shoved the door open into the warm night. Six more hours until he could purchase level 64. Six more hours…