Secret Buyers

Every spring their shacks went up. What they did all winter was anyone’s guess. But they returned with the bright buds and birds, sitting in an assortment of trailers, tents, and shanties, each with a sign saying “Secret Buyer”.

Some of them were third, even fourth, generation buyers. The old families were well established. They bought only secrets that were ripe and ready to be told. Many new buyers, who came from the City chasing a quick buck, bought their secrets early. The people who sold them never reached the end of their thoughts.

Suzi had a secret that she’d kept for years. Ever since she could remember. It’s not that she didn’t want to sell it – it’s just that she didn’t fully know it yet. It was developing.

Her brother had sold some secrets last year, and got enough cash for a new skateboard. He hadn’t told their parents because they were religious. They didn’t believe in selling secrets. Her brother was going again today.

Suzi went with her brother to the buyer. He sat in a white tent with a heater on high, surrounded by steel boxes. “What’s in the boxes?” asked Suzi.

“That’s where I keep the secrets,” said the buyer. He had a bushy brown beard and yellow teeth shining somewhere within it. “It’s a long journey from here to Holland. They have to be well protected.”

“Why do you send them to Holland?” she asked. “Don’t people there have their own secrets?”

“Yes they do. But they are not very good secrets. You see Holland is flat. There’s less excitement, and nowhere to hide. Here there are mountains to play on, and valleys to sneak into, so there’s lots of great secrets.”

“And how much do people pay for secrets?”

“Well Suzi, that depends.”

Suzi froze. How did he know her name?

“Don’t be shocked,” said the dirty banana shape moving within the beard. “I bought your brother’s secrets last year, so I know your name.”

What had her brother said about her, she wondered?

“Children’s secrets are always the most valuable, because they’re true. Adults lie about theirs, to make themselves look better.”

Her brother wrote his secrets on a piece of yellow paper. The buyer read them slowly, nodding, did a quick calculation, and wrote $160 at the bottom of the page. Her brother nodded enthusiastically. The buyer folded the paper and enclosed it in a steel box. He counted out the cash.

“Do you have a secret for me, Suzi?” he said.

The way he said her name again – hissing. His yellow banana-teeth. His birds nest beard. She wasn’t sure why, but she turned and ran. She knew that she wasn’t yet ready to sell.

There were so many rumours about secrets. Some people said that you should never tell them, because the moment you did, they were gone. Others said that it was your duty to share what you knew with others. She’d heard there was a factory making secrets in the Industrial Park without zoning. That the village was trying to introduce a Pay & Tell scheme. And the rumour that intrigued her most was that there was one secret, so secret, that if it was told then there would be no more secrets. This made her both want to tell her secret, and also not to. For what would life be like without secrets to tell to your friends?

Suzi told her mother that her secret was bothering her. Her mother suggested that she go to church and tell it to Father Joseph. He was surprised to see her, for she usually only came in with her family on Sundays.

“Yes, child, how can I help you?” he said.

“Father, I have a secret. I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Do you feel like telling me?” he said. He could see she was nervous.

“I’m not sure I can say it.

“Well why don’t you write it down?”

Suzi wrote down her secret.

Father Joseph read it and went pale. He sent Suzi straight home. He put her secret in a metal box and booked an urgent courier to Rome. He knew this was going to happen one day, for it was written in Holy Scripture. He thanked God Almighty that the secret had come to him before it went to the other side. For he knew that “Secret Buyers” really worked for someone else, whose price was your soul.

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One Response to “Secret Buyers”

  1. Excellent story Sir.

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