This was related to me by a friend, who doesn’t remember specifics, but it sounds interesting enough that I’d like to read it.
The gist is that there’s a magical object that grants something awesome (wishes, power, wealth…?) with two catches
If you die with it, something very bad happens (damned?)
You can only sell it for less than you bought it for.
My friend says that it originally goes for a very high price, but as more people discover the truth, it becomes harder and harder to sell (and when the price gets cheap enough, people distrust your motives).
I don’t know the origin, but that is similar to a CBS Radio Mystery show. The mystical object is filled with some sort of genie and the price is the geni keeps the guy’s soul if he dies with it. I seem to remember the ending having some sort of catch, like the guy bought the object from his ex wife right before she dies for a cent, but somehow finds a way to sell it to someone else for some foreign currency that is worth a half cent.
So, that is from sometime in the 1970s. And, doing a little googling it’s called The Imp in the Bottle.
It is not the story you refer to, however it sounds in premise like one of my favorite trucker horrors. Truckstop Pulp but optioned for a movie by John Carpenter–The Black Mariah by Jay R. Bonansinga.
Monkey hands and voodoo… these are the operative archetypes.
Now might be the time for an adaptation, Mr. Carpenter. I’m sure it’s filed away somewhere.
Wow, I just heard or read a version of this conundrum … somewhere, sadly I can’t remember where… but it was actually posed as a riddle or logic puzzle. I almost think it was here, or maybe at SomethingAwful. I didn’t realize it was based on an RLS short story. Cool.