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His Real Last Name

Modernized Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin, by H.J. Ford

A rich man saw that his daughter, Elizabeth, was good with money, so he bragged to his brother that she could run his pawn shop for him.

The first night, he gave her some silver earrings to sell. She sold quite a few things, but could not sell the earrings even when she kept them on the front counter next to the cash register. The customers saw them and passed them by.

Finally, it was the last hour before closing. The neighboring pawn shop owner was closing up early due to his success. He happened to pass the shop and peered into the window. He was her peering woefully at the silver earrings and inferred that she'd wanted to sell them, but hadn't been successful.

In a seeming act of generosity, he decided to go in and help her. Really, it was that he wanted to use that generosity to make her uncle owe him since he was his closest competition. He thought if her uncle saw the success of his other pawn shop plus how much better he'd done than his niece, he'd close or at least move his own pawn shop.

But, of that later...

Right now, he was seeing this forlorn girl in front of him and had to take his opportunity.

"Hello, there," he said.

"Hi," she managed, surprised out of her thoughts.

He looked around, then noticed her looking down at the silver earrings.

"You like those?" he asked.

"No. I wish my customers would," she sighed.

He nodded.

"How about you take a break and I sell them for you? You can even keep the money. I've made enough from my business for the day."

She hesitated.

"I did promise my uncle I'd sell them by the end of the day."

"And have you?"

"No," she responded, shaking her head and looking down.

"Okay," she said after a while.

Rather than take a break, she sat down behind the counter to watch him. She still didn't fully trust a stranger in her uncle's shop.

"By the way, my name is Marcos."

She gave him a quizzical look.

"Ferrari," he finished.

He'd said it after looking up and thinking about it.

He looked at her with pointed curiosity.

"Mine's Elizabeth."

After a moment, a customer came in looking for Marcos since he hadn't seen him in his shop.

"I just wanted to tell you the good news. You're all settled up. You don't owe me anything more," he exclaimed.

"Ah, wonderful," Marcos whispered, implying his "friend" should keep it down too.

"So, what is so-?"

"Look at these." Marcos said, flourishing his wrists around the earrings after he set them down.

His "friend" searched his mind, but couldn't think of anyone he'd buy them for.

As he was shaking his head and putting his hand out to say no, Marcos interrupted him.

"You could think of them as an investment. They'll appreciate in value."

His "friend" frowned for a moment, then asked to see the earrings again. Marcos brought them closer.

The man walked out with them and Marcos handed the money over to Elizabeth as promised.

As he himself left, he tipped his had to her, leaving her in awe of what had transpired.

Seeing her success with the silver earrings, her uncle gave her a pair of gold ones to sell the next day.

This time, she tried encouraging her customers toward the gold earrings, but they declined.

Finally, it was the last hour of work again and no one had bought the gold, earrings.

Marcos' smiling face came peering in from around the door.

She put her head down and waved him in.

He laughingly inferred all else from the gold earrings still on display on the counter.

He placed them facing the front corner of the counter and finished with his wrist-flourish.

Seconds later, a woman came in. As she was searching through her purse for she couldn't remember what, Marcos politely interrupted her by bringing her attention to the earrings.

She looked annoyed that she hadn't been able to find what she'd been looking for, then fascinated by the earrings. They weren't even her usual style, but she bought them.

Elizabeth watched the woman finally find her keys once she was outside, then turned to look at Marcos with a smile and her eyes shining.

He handed her the money and took off with another tip of his hat.

The next day, seeing as Elizabeth had again succeeded, her uncle gave her a gold ring with a ruby in it to sell.

Much as she might like it, she had to sell it. She left it in its box, but with it open on the counter.

It rained from the moment her uncle left. Practically no one even showed up outside the shop. Even Marcos' shop was suffering that day.

He still seemed in good spirits when he came in at the usual time. Even the rain didn't seem to bother him.

"Even this ring didn't seem to sell." Elizabeth said.

Marcos took it and looked at it.

"It's very beautiful."

He placed it facing out of the window.

Soon after, a limousine stalled in front of the shop.

While the driver had to repair it, the father and son entered to get in from the rain. They looked suspiciously about, then the father gave Marcos a fake smile.

Since they were still looking at him, Marcos examined the ring.

As a corner of the ruby caught the light, the father at last came closer. The son soon followed. They both agreed the wife should have it.

Out of curiosity about the son, Elizabeth leaned so far out of her hiding spot that she fell into view. When she looked at the son more closely, she recognized a childhood friend she'd lost touch with.

While the father bought the ring, the son and Elizabeth caught up.

They spent the next few months getting to know each other, and as the ruby and gold ring was never the wife's favorite, the song proposed to Elizabeth with it.

They got married and soon after had twins, a boy and a girl.

One night, Marcos broke into their apartment. As he was leaving with the girl, Elizabeth found him and pleaded with him not to take her.

Elizabeth's husband, overhearing all this, quietly looked at Marcos' face, faintly recognized it, and looked him up on his phone. His real last name wasn't even Ferrari. It was Melas. He was wanted for various crimes. The husband took hold of Marcos so Elizabeth was able to get their daughter away from him, then tied Marcos to a chair. They then called the police and told them his real name when they arrived.

Marcos was arrested, Elizabeth's uncle was able to retire and the children remained safe. They're all doing well to this day.

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