In chapter 2 of the novel, April decides to have a look around the antique store, known locally as the A–Z shop. This shop is a source of great mystery in the neighborhood because of the strange, inscrutable old man who owns it. This strange man is known only as "the Professor." The display windows of the shop are full or "old and exotic looking objects," and so April's curiosity is immediately engaged because she is fascinated with old objects. Indeed, when she is inside the shop, April feels the "tiny tingle of excitement" that most children her age might perhaps feel in a candy shop or toy shop.
Inside, the shop is dark, dusty, and quiet. April looks around and then stops in front of a glass case "full of small objects," including vases, jewelry, and tiny statues. She focus on one particular statue. This statue is very small, but the person represented by the statue has "broad shoulders, short legs and a hole in the top of its head." April thinks that the statue might be Egyptian. She is so intrigued by the statue that she "press[es] her nose to the glass" in order to see it more clearly.
Intrigued by the statue, April asks the mysterious old man who owns the shop ("the Professor") to tell her something about it. The old man tells her that the statue is a "pre-Colombian burial figure" and that it was made in Mexico. He also says that the statue was made "about two thousand years ago." April is surprised by how old the statue is and replies, "Two thousand—you're kidding." The old man assures her, however, that the tiny statue really is two thousand years old.