Sunday, June 18, 2006

Today at the flea market (part 2)

These two transactions pretty much cleaned me out, with the exception of about 15 books. They’re all good books, but with the tables now looking so sparse and there being about 50 or 80 other stalls selling books, they weren’t moving. Even at .25 each. Maybe I was spoiled by my early success or the non-stop bleating of a woman’s voice over the PA speaker right behind my stall (“Come visit The Lingerie Hut in building J…don’t forget to stop by Fragrance City in building F…Father’s Day Special on all VHS tapes at Ammo Junction in the B building…”) was wearing on my nerves, but the gates had only been open for a half hour, I wasn’t selling anything and I was bored. Once I calculated that I had less than $4 worth of merchandise and that it may take several hours to sell it, it was clear that I had reached the point of almost completely diminished returns. So I decided I would invest everything into 20 minutes of hardcore, in-your-face sales pitch and then I would leave and donate whatever was left to the VA hospital. I started engaging people in conversation, making comments about what they were wearing or had already bought as a means of drawing them in. This was fairly successful and even kind of entertaining. I met some very nice people, some of whom bought books, some didn’t but all very nice. When this guy with greasy yellow-gray ponytail in a tie-dye tee shirt, carrying a WMNF pledge drive bag, with a massive stick obviously up his butt (unseen, but you should trust me when I tell you it was there) came by, I only had about six books left, all about baseball. He sneered and made some really snotty comment about me not having any real books. I decided to invest the last bit of energy I had into selling my last $1.50 worth of books about baseball to THIS guy.

ME: Come on, they’re only .25 each. You could give them as gifts to friends of yours who are baseball fans!
HIM (fake, sneering smile): I don’t think so.
ME: Well, anything I don’t sell is going to the burning.
HIM: What do you mean? What burning?
ME: These guys I know. They’re barbecuing some burgers, having some beers and burning some books later. I told them if I had anything left over, I’d bring them by.
HIM: These are books about sports. Why would you even want to burn these?
ME: It’s not my thing. It’s these guys. They just like burning them. They don’t really care what they’re about.
HIM: So you’re just going to burn books? That’s symbolic of fascism.
ME: I know! But what am I supposed to do?
HIM: What are you supposed to do? Give them away! Something! But you don’t burn books!
ME: Give them away?!? Ha ha! Do you see anybody else here giving anything away? I don’t think you get the concepts of commerce and free enterprise.
HIM: I think you’re disgusting.
ME: Whatever. So are you going to save these books or are you going to let an idiot like me just burn ‘em up?
HIM: Idiots like you shouldn’t be allowed to own books!
ME: Wow, now who’s a fascist?

He didn’t buy them and I was spent (it was hot out there). So I dropped off the last of the books at the VA hospital and went home.

2 comments:

Devil in the Drain said...

I've been to the big flea market in Nashville a few times, so I'm imagining your scene happening there, and it keeps making me laugh. Thanks!

(Also, your additional dialogue for the Family Circus about the Dodgers (on http://joshreads.com/) was hellacious funny, it's what brought me here. Thanks again.)

Clark said...

Thank you, devil. I'm sincerely flattered. : )