Writing Prompt/ly

So, the 24 Hour Writing Contest has come and gone, and I am, in general, pleased.  The topic, to be written up in 900 words or less, was:

The bells on the door were still echoing as she stepped further into the old toy store. The owner winked at her and turned back to his black and white television set.  She reached under the rack on the back wall and pulled it out. It was just where she’d left it last week. She approached the counter and put the item down.

He turned to her, grabbed the item with surprise, and said, “This is NOT for sale…”

My brain grabbed onto the petty details of the prompt and screamed.  ”What is at stake?”  ”What good would putting something not for sale in a hiding place for a week do?”  ”Why wouldn’t merchandise be for sale, and why would that be important at all?”  ”What sort of story can I write about a bargain basement conflict?”  I mean, unless the shopper pulls a gun, the merchant’s response if final.

So I had her pull a gun, and things went swimmingly.  Somewhere, (I think from Jeff, the alpha-geek of Corvallis) I heard “the only real plot hook is a dead body,” attributed to Agatha Christie (if she did say that, I haven’t been able to find evidence of it), but I broadened that to “…threat of a dead body.”

Title:  Apology.  896 words, tendered 51 minutes before deadline.  I have not yet gotten a receipt for the entry, but I am unworried; if it ended up in ether-void, I still have the story and will sell it somewhere else.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry