“How does it know what I need?” Helga asked. She stood almost seven feet tall. Tall enough that the salesman needed to look up at her even though he stood. The well-dressed vendor flashed a salesman’s grin up at her then knelt to collect one of the bags on display. He grabbed one of the largest sizes he had: it resembled a military issue duffel bag. He opened the top, flipped it upside down, and shook it. Nothing came out. He turned it right side up again, then reached his hand in.
“These bags are connected directly to the universe,” he said. “The universe knows what you need.” He withdrew his hand and produced a pizza box. The vendor set it on the table and opened it to show Helga a steaming hot pepperoni pizza. She raised an eyebrow at him.
“You needed pizza?” she asked as he closed the box again.
“I needed to demonstrate the bag, and I forgot my lunch at home. And now, I need to show you some variety,” he said as he dipped his hand back into the bag. He pulled out a red handkerchief that was tied to a green one. The green one was tied to a yellow one; and, they kept coming out in different colors as he pulled more and more.”
“So you’re a decent magic act trying to pawn off non-magical bags?” Helga asked unimpressed. The salesman shrugged.
“They’re not ‘magical’. You’ve lost stuff, right? Money? Pens? Anything?” Helga nodded. “That’s the universe moving stuff around. That pizza, these rags, they came from somewhere else. The universe decided I needed them more right now than whatever else was planned. Go on, try it yourself,” he pushed the large canvas bag at her. The tall woman took the bag; it looked considerably smaller in her hands than his. “I guarantee you’ll need whatever you pull out of that bag.”
“Whatever I pull out is free, right? You can’t ask me to try it, then charge me for it,” Helga asked before she reached in. The salesman nodded, so Helga shrugged and reached in. She grabbed the first thing her fingertips brushed. It felt like cloth and was heavy. Her mind wondered what it could be as she pulled it out of the bag. It felt vaguely like a handle on a bag. She giggled internally hoping she pulled a bag out, that’s what she was shopping for to begin with.
With a heave, she finally cleared the item out of the bag. She was so surprised by it she promptly dropped it. The early 20s college student landed on his feet and looked around the crowded street market with a panicked look.
“Where am I? What’s going on?!” he asked Helga since she was the one closest to him.
“You’re in the Schoolyard,” she said. “I pulled you out of a magic bag. How’d you get in there?”
“Magic bag?” he asked. “I have one too! Actually, that’s how I got here. I was bored and wanted to see what was in it. That was…,” he sighed. “a bad idea.”
“How much?” Helga turned to ask the vendor.
“Huh?” he was distracted by the newcomer and didn’t know what she was talking about.
“The bag,” she held it up. “I’ll take it.”
“4 million,” the vendor said. Helga nodded and held her hand out. Gold dust formed out of thin air and gathered in the palm of her hand. In seconds she held a softball-sized, golden glowing cube that she handed over to him. The stranger watched the transaction intently, then interrupted when it looked like it was over.
“Do you guys know how I can get back home?” the stranger asked.
“Oh sure, that’s not a problem. We can find you a taxi tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” he asked. Helga nodded.
“Tomorrow. Tonight the king is having a celebration,” she smiled down at him and winked. “And, I need a date.”