What’s For Sale?

Back Away    Suzanne Lorenz ©2016

They almost drove by it. The look of the house was pretty shabby. Wire chain link fence with men’s cotton shirts hung on it like flags. Poor, poor house. Sara encouraged him to stop anyway, and Bill reluctantly backed up. As they got out of the car they saw a man looking disheveled, with a huge belly and then a portly woman, staring at them from inside the locked gate.
“Is the sale still going? Are you open?” Bill asked
“Sure, sure” he said, “come on in.” He slid open the gate and they hesitantly walked onto the cemented yard at the front of the house. Items strewn everywhere on the concrete—so many things that at one time had no value, never had value. Cheap things that may have never brought joy, only the comfort of buying them and never letting them go. She felt her usual sorrow at the things she saw, a sad emptiness.
“You have a dining room table for sale?” Bill asked.
“Yes, come inside, I’m Kevin, this is my wife Mary, we live in Las Vegas, Mary’s mom and dad used to live here, we bought the house for them and now they’re gone and we’re cleaning it out. Mary’s mom never threw anything away, ever,” Kevin said in a rush, offering this slew of information without thought. “When the garbage man came every week, she only ever had a small bag this size.” He continued, showing them his hands shaped in the size of a basketball. “Come on in, I’ll show you the table.”
They wandered carefully into the house, stepping around boxes and bags, glass bowls and animal figurines with more chips than character. The minute they walked inside they were overwhelmed with the caustic smell of old cigarette smoke. It seemed to be soaked into the atmosphere. Sara instinctively put her hand to her nose, trying not to be to obvious. The smell was an acrid, poisonous odor that permeated the walls, the haggard furniture and the piles and piles of things that filled the disheveled house. One wall was stacked ceiling high with boxes of home made wine. Kevin led them to a back bedroom packed with more scraps of a failed life. “Here it is” he said, “we bought it for Mary’s folks a few years ago. We paid $1100.00.”
“How much do you want for it and the chairs?” Bill asked.
“$100.00” Kevin said quickly.
“We’ll take them.” Bill said and pulled out the cash, handing it to Kevin who pocketed the cash quickly.
They unpiled the mounds of stuff from the tops of the table, maneuvered the chairs out of the random places they were placed throughout the house and loaded them into their car. Mary had continued to wander around the yard and house in a daze, moving things from one pile to another. She watched them load the car and looked away. Kevin cheerfully waved them goodbye.
Once they drove away they rolled down the windows and tried to breath the crisp evening air. The cushions for the chairs poisoned the car with the smell of cigarette smoke. They felt their hair and clothes, even their skin permeated by it. They quickly drove home  expressing their horror at a life they were grateful not to be living.

Ducks For Sale Suzanne Lorenz © 2016

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