“My parents and I used to go antique shopping during family vacations. On a trip to Vegas in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, we went to this antique strip mall that had antique Nippon as well as an antique toy store. My dad and I headed to the toy store, called Toyz in the Attic, while my mom headed to an antique store in the corner of the lot. Not long after my dad bought me a G1 Devastator, my mom called and told us to come over. She stated to my dad that the owner had some more Nippon antiques in the back of his store, but my mom was weary of going back there alone. So we leave the antique toy store and head over to meet my mom.
We get in the store and I remember it being a nice, chill temperature. The windows were tinted. It wasn’t lit up very brightly, but there were enough items to fill the walls of the store. This isn’t my nature, but I didn’t even walk around because the owner, Tony, seemed pretty interesting. Also, he didn’t seem the type of owner to carry Transformers, the robots or the ones for train sets. He talked to us about the future of Vegas and how it was changing for the worse.
After talking for a little bit, he asked me if i would like to try on a samurai helmet. At first I didn’t want to try on a dusty helmet, but the look on my mom’s face translated to, ‘this is probably going to be your one and only chance to wear this, don’t be a fool.’ My mom takes a picture of me and asks Tony if she could take a picture of him. He says no, but my mom takes a picture anyway. He apparently was a little ticked off, but they continued talking. Tony also mentioned how he survived a fire, I’m unsure of what the time frame was. Additionally, my mom saw people peeking in the store, but no one ever came in. We never got to see the back room. My parents purchased a gold Buddha from Tony which he gave to them for a pretty good price (I believe $125?) so we all left happy.
A year later we returned to the same antique strip mall in Vegas. We go to the corner where Tony’s store was at and it was a bookstore. My parents talk to the owner(s) while I walk around. Apparently the antique book store had been there for 5-7 years. My parents told them we were just here a year ago and Tony’s shop was at that location. They didn’t believe my parents and told them that Tony had passed away in a fire from smoke inhalation, in the back room. His more valuable antiques were back there too. They also mentioned that he never gave out deals to anyone. As I’m walking around and overhearing some of this conversation I find a display case full of one of my favorite books, Mysteries of the Unexplained by Readers Digest.
Additionally, the photo of me wearing the samurai helmet developed while the photo of Tony was white.
After this occurred, my dad wasn’t a skeptic anymore.”