Hector the Cyclops took the giant’s door into Harley Street Fine Gentlemen’s Accoutrements. The owner, Dabney, looked up and called out, "Good morning! How may I help you, sir?"
“I want a formal suit for Saturday night, the works,” the Cyclops said, towering over Dabney.
“Yes indeed, let me get your measurements, sir.” Dabney motioned Hector toward the ladder, which Dabney scurried up. In a few minutes the measurements were taken and colors for the tie, vest and cummerbund were selected.
“Anything else, sir?” Dabney asked. “If you have the means for it, might I recommend an eye?” as he pointed to the jars behind the double-locked grate on the back wall. A sign overhead read “Security Deposit Required.”
“An eye? I fancy that violet one,” Hector said. His mechanical eye had many superior features to a natural eye, including helping immensely in forecasting the future for his Masters. But for a formal family occasion like his brother’s wedding, only the real thing would do.
“Ah, the Elizabeth Taylor model. Excellent choice,” Dabney said. “You do realize these are extremely expensive sir, taking months to grow from cells derived from the original person. I would need a substantial security deposit. Non-refundable for late return.”
“Damn, I only have enough for the outfit,” the Cyclops said. He kept looking at the eye.
"Well, perhaps your mechanical eye? I hate to ask it, but it is more than enough to cover the cost of the Liz Taylor. We will take excellent care of your own. You will have it back Monday morning when you return.” Dabney gave his best close-the-deal smile.
“Alright. Fetch me the eye.”
Dabney pulled a gold key from around his neck and unlocked the grate. Pickle jars full of eyes filled the case, the perfect salinity of the brine maintaining them in prime condition. He scooped out the eye with the violet iris into a cup.
“Here you are sir,” pressing the cup into the Cyclops' outstretched hand. Hector arranged the eye into position for insertion with eye pliers.
With the other hand, Hector popped out the mechanical eye, whose socket made a sucking noise as it emerged. Dabney wiped the eye on a towel and locked it in the safe.
Hector spread his eyelids and jammed in the purple eye. He blinked to settle it, and smiled for the first time.
“Perhaps a monocle for the final touch?” Dabney suggested, offering him a fine gold and enamel one.
“Excellent! My family will be thrilled!“ Hector said.
“Pleased to be of service, sir. Now if we can complete the financial transaction? Will that be cash, check, or credit card?” Dabney asked.
* * *
The lavish wedding was matched with an equally lavish reception with champagne fountains in every corner. Hector was the hit of the soiree with his astonishing purple eye. Some of Ms. Taylor’s sex appeal seemed to have rubbed off on him. He almost had to beat the women off with his cane, including the bride, much to his brother’s jealous dismay.
The festivities extended through the weekend until the revelers finally collapsed. The deadline slipped past Hector in his drunken daze as Monday came and went.
Dabney rejoiced that the hugely valuable mechanical eye was his. The clothing, eye and other items must be repossessed however. He looked up the address and got out the mini-cart, then caught the locomoter across town to the Cyclop Quarters. He found Hector’s home and rang the bell. After a long wait, slow and heavy footsteps approached.
“What do you want?” Hector said in a very grumpy voice.
“I’m here to collect the clothes and the eye, sir. You are a day late. Normally there is a penalty of losing a digit per day, but I decided not to enforce that clause, too messy,” Dabney said.
“Bloody hell, can’t you leave me in peace? My head is splitting!
“I’m sorry for that sir. But I’m afraid I must trouble you for the items, if you could be so kind.”
“Well wait then, dammit, I’ll get them,” Hector said, closing the door.
Dabney scanned the area for places to hide in case the Cyclops turned nasty. Clients sometimes did that, throwing items or hitting him on the head with their shoes.
Hector threw open the door. Clothing pelted Dabney and shoes bounced around him. The monocle followed and lastly the cane. Dabney bundled them into the cart.
“Now sir, the last item, the eye if you please.”
Hector popped it out and held it towards Dabney. “Give me my own eye.”
“One moment sir, let me put this one away first.”
Dabney put the violet eye in a small pickle jar and tucked it in his pocket.
“I’m afraid I don’t have your eye with me, sir. You forfeited it when you were a day late returning your items, sir.”
The Cyclops roared, “What do you mean forfeited! You little weasel! Give me back that eye then, you slimy worm, before I squash you like a bug! Then I’ll come tear down your shop and get my work eye back!”
“I’m afraid you have no legal grounds to do that sir. I would hate to have to sic my dragons on you,” Dabney yelled as he hauled the cart around the corner as fast as he could go. He kept looking over his shoulder at the blind Cyclops screaming and cursing behind him, stumbling over the curbs. Dabney put on a real burst of speed when he saw the Cyclops pull up a lamppost and sail it like a javelin in his direction.
Dabney reached the locomoter link and boarded. He called out, “You see, sir, the Contract reads ‘Consequences for late return will result in the forfeiture of all collateral, loss of one digit a day, and an eye for an eye’. So may I wish you a good day, sir. ”
As the locomoter started up he shouted, “Next time, sir, do read the fine print!”
"An Eye for an Eye"
Copyright: © 2010 Lin Neiswender
Lin Neiswender is a retired computer programmer turned flash fictionista who lives in Central Florida. She dabbles in collage, tarot, Sheltland Sheepdogs, and poetry. Her stories have appeared online and in several anthologies.