Stacy Shazia recently moved into a new apartment in the small town of Earlville in central New York. She visits a local flea market with her best friend, Peggy, in search for an antique desk. She strikes gold when she finds one that’s over two hundred years old and feels the five-hundred-dollar price tag is well below the value of the furniture.
While cleaning the desk, Stacy manages to remove a small drawer that was stuck. Stuffed behind the drawer is a note from a previous owner. She thinks the love letter might lead to the origin of the desk, so she visits a local antique store to assess the real value of the piece and determine the age of the note.
With the help of Steve Archer, one of the antique store’s proprietors, she embarks on a journey to find the desk’s last owner and the recipient of the letter. What started out as a rocky partnership quickly changes into something more. What other surprises are in store for the two as they search for the author of the note?
“This place doesn’t look so big,” Stacy said.
Penny pulled into the parking lot. “Trust me,” she replied. “Its looks are deceiving. Once we get inside, you’ll see.”
After parking fairly close to the building, the two got out and started walking in the morning sunlight. This was Stacy’s first visit to the Blunt Hills Flea Market. Penny had told her about the complex several weeks before, but at the time, there was no need to visit. Having recently moved out of a studio apartment and into a spacious two-bedroom, she wanted a desk for the spare room.
“Do you really think I’ll find something here?” she asked.
“I’d be willing to bet on it,” Penny guaranteed. “Sherburne has the largest flea market in the county. Trust me. You’ll find something, girlfriend.”
“I’m not looking for any cheap fiberboard furniture. I can get that garbage at a discount department store.”
“Worrywart.” Penny grinned.
“Okay, okay.” Stacy rolled her eyes.
“I’m not saying you won’t see that crap here, too, but you can also find some really nice antiques. I know what you think about them.” Penny’s grin turned wry as she made quotation marks with her fingers.
Stacy laughed. “You’re on a roll today, girl.”
“Don’t tell me you’re gonna deny that most of your furniture is three times your age, and that’s the newest stuff.”
“Well…they last longer than today’s things.”
“You mean they lasted longer.”
She laughed. “All right, girlfriend. It’s your choice.”
“Thank you,” Stacy said with a smirk.
They walked in through the massive double doors that had been propped open. Stacy gaped in surprise at the immediate sight. She scanned quickly from side-to-side, seeing two walkways running from front to back. Since she had to choose one side or the other, she decided on a clockwise direction and moved to the beginning of the left aisle. She noticed both sides of the walkway were lined with various sized booths and what appeared to be some permanent, wood-enclosed shops here and there along the way.
“There’s barely enough room to walk when this place gets filled with shoppers,” Penny said.
“Then I guess it’s a good thing we got here early.”
The first enclosed store they came upon happened to be an antique store. Stacy went inside while Penny waited at the door. There was a lot of hand-blown glassware, a china cabinet filled with porcelain dolls, an end table with several candlesticks, and several larger items, all definitely built over a century ago. Some of the furniture had sale tags on them, and the prices were much higher than Stacy had expected. It didn’t matter. None of them were desks.
Outside the shop, Stacy muttered, “Expensive. I thought you said this place was cheap.”
“That store is established, plus it’s near the front. You’ll find that the booths have more reasonable prices.”
“Makes sense. Less overhead.”
“You said you wanted a new set of serving ware, if that’s what you call it,” Stacy offered.
Penny smiled. “Yes, but we can look for the desk. The shop I want is down the other aisle. We can catch it on the way back.”
“Nonsense. You go ahead.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’ll be fine, Penny. Besides, it will allow me to take my time.”
“All right. I’ll call if I see something that might interest you.” Penny backtracked and turned the corner.
Stacy continued on slowly, passing booths and shops, stopping if she noticed furniture or something unusual caught her eye. Halfway down the aisle, she came upon a shop that boasted of handmade real wood furniture. At least that was what a sign by the doorway said. Curious, she stepped inside.
The first item she came upon was a desk. It has made of either Brazilian Cherry or Mahogany. She wasn’t sure which. A deep reddish color, it had been polished to a mirror finish. She walked around to the side where the person would sit and slid out the top drawer of the three on the right. It moved with ease on metal glides. The bottom drawer was large enough to be used as a file cabinet. A left drawer was much wider and spanned the area above where a person’s feet would go over to the other side of the desk. There was a built-in tray inside at the front where the rounded slots held writing utensils and a hole to house an ink well. Behind the tray was plenty of storage space for stationery.
She noticed the desktop had a large black plastic grommet in the left front corner. It allowed wires to pass through. A quick look into the cavity underneath confirmed her observation. There was a ground fault duplex outlet with its own circuit breaker attached to the side wall. The GFI outlet meant it was most likely designed for a computer. The system would be surge protected, deeming a power strip unnecessary. A three-pronged plug extended out from the bottom of the junction box. A quick glance at the price tag attached told her she was in the wrong shop. It didn’t matter. The desk wasn’t even close to what she had in mind.
“This is the perfect desk for a home office,” the proprietor of the shop said.
“I can see that,” Stacy replied. “It’s a good combo desk and computer station.”
“What is it made of?”
“Honduran Mahogany. It’s one of the best of that family for fine furniture. It will darken with age.”
“It’s very nice, but I already have a computer station. I just need a small desk for papers and bills.”
“I don’t have any small desks, but if you let me know exactly what you’re looking for, I can build one for you. Maybe you’d like one with a roll-top?”
“You built this furniture?”
“You’re very good.”
“Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
The man handed her his card. “Call me when you decide.”