“How much did she pay for all this?” Rex ran his hand over the near-pristine surface of the epee’s bellguard, like a mother rubbing the temple of her smiling infant.
Rune shook his greasy head. “Like I said, the guy was literally begging her to take it away, but she gave him five bucks for it.”
“FIVE?” A volcanic plume of suspicion erupted on Rex’s face. “Jesus, I know how much these things cost, more than my family’s grocery bill for a week, close to two. Five bucks — how’d your aunt know this was legit, that this guy wasn’t selling stolen goods?”
“Huh.” Rune looked up at the exposed floor joists hanging from the ceiling of the basement. Then back down at Rex. “It was a garage sale, on a Saturday afternoon. Not the likely place for that type of operation.”
Rex grunted, resumed his examination of the epee. Looked up at Rune’s laugh. “What’s so funny?”
“You know that guy, Patrick? They call him PEH?” Rex nodded. “Every time he hears us talk about the fencing club, he says — ” he tilted his head down, lowered his voice — “what kind of stolen goods you selling? Cigarettes?”
Rex frowned. “Yeah, PEH’s a real riot.”
“Well, if my aunt really had bought that epee from a guy who stole it — he’d be fencing fencing!”
Rex looked back at him, horrified, and stopped Rune’s attempt to explain the joke.