Sunday, April 02, 2006


On the high volume right now, this post is being brought to you by The White Stripes, Elephant. During the 17 hour trip here, I was able to spend a lot more time with their albums. Each time I give a listen, I gain a new appreciation of their depth. A tip of all my hats to you, Jack White, you are a rock god.

April Fools should come around more often; my fiction quite obviously needs the practice. I really did almost hit two separate and wandering crackheads, though. One was a seriously narrow miss. I thought the guy was timing it so I’d be past him by the time he got to my lane. This fucker speeds into my lane and then slows to a lethargic saunter. It was probably slower than that, but I find I’m unable to summon the proper words. Do they give crack at the hospitals here? Maybe that’s why the various (insert drug, malady, or condition here)-heads are collectively trying to get maimed—they can get effed up for free at a medical establishment. If that (or some form thereof) is the case, then damn, what a shitty state of affairs to be at that point. (It’s right here, in this spot, where I’m feeling the distinct urge to ramble about my theories concerning drugs and the “War” on them that has been so wholly ineffective for such a long time. However, I’m holding strong and cutting myself off. Shit, I’m rambling right now)

Before we left Wichita, Rachel and I had a quasi-estate-ish sale--way better than a garage sale, but not quite an estate sale. There was also the bonus that no one died, the ultimate prompter of the “estate” portion of the term. It was during those exhausting two days that I discovered a whole new class of crazy that I wish someone would have warned me about: The Estate Sale Traveling Early Sickfucks, or TESTES.

Good Lord, these people.

We planned on doing the sale on a Friday and Saturday, from 9 to 5, and stated as much on signs and in the paper. Thanks to an ever-burgeoning OCD, I had everything planned. We would rise at 6:30 or so and get everything set up and finish some pricing we still needed to do. Then came the TESTES, a miserable experience to be sure. Some of these fuckers began coming up and knocking at 6 AM and, well, let’s just say it was jarring and leave it at that. Rachel told them we weren’t opening until 9 and shooed the TESTES off of the porch. Since this gang of numbnuts obviously couldn’t decipher newspaper print (must’ve been too small, or I wasn’t using the King’s English, or something), we had to take drastic measures and make a warning sign with the hours posted in kindergarten-Big Chief script for any that happened to follow. Maybe TESTES can’t see paper. I don’t know, but these goddamn sunsubitches were still fucking knocking!

We just stopped answering the door.

Not to be deterred from junk, trinket, and tchotchke satiation, these vampires began circling the house and peeking in windows. Dawn of the Dead, but with TESTES (think zombies with small bills and a penchant for unreasonable and infinitely idiotic haggling. Will you take a dime for that?). After 45 minutes of this idiocy I had my gun in one hand and a broom in the other, ready to implement Survival Plan Alpha (not really sure what I hoped to accomplish with a broom, but there ya go. What can I say; I had reverted to a more primitive frame of mind). Once we finished all of the pricing and arranging, I peeked out of the window, making sure that I was far enough away to avoid whatever Mad Consumer disease these freaks may have had. I noted to myself that I needed to find all of the antiseptic stuff in the house and keep it nearby in case I was bitten. Hydrogen peroxide, iodine, whatever kills germs and kills them quickly. Tired of waiting, we finally acquiesced to the TESTES camped on our porch, yard, and curb. We unlocked the door.

I thought the parade of TESTES might never end. God help me, it was horrible.

We did, however, sell a bit over 2/3 of our stuff in about three hours, further lightening the load we would be traveling with. By the time the rush ended, my pockets were fat with wads of small bills, far outnumbering the more preferable large denominations. I stood there feeling like a crack dealer who is bad at math and just had a seriously unexpected run on product. For three solid hours it was like working drive-thru, but without the option of spitting in people’s food if they got out of line.

Meet Amateur Antique Dealer, a tall and pencil-thin mustachioed sort wearing stiff, super-blue denim with gleaming tennis shoes and an ancient IZOD polo that’s three sizes too small and tucked in with the braided leather belt that somehow managed to slip past cool police patrols so many years back. Rachel and I had a gorgeous (can I be completely gay and say “divine” or “stunning”? I won’t, but I’m thinking it.), antique dining room table with six chairs from the late 30’s-early 40’s, old modern style. We were selling it for 400 dollars (too cheap) because we needed to ensure the sale. There was just no way to bring it with us. This brain dead stick figure laps the table for 15 minutes solid, circling and circling, running his hands all over it and checking crevices. To be sure, if it continued any longer I would have begun to fear that something perverse might go down in my dining area, driving the other TESTES away. He finally wandered over all casual-like and offered me $250. I just laughed and he looked shocked. I asked him if he was kidding and then informed him that I would be selling it for $400 or would burn it. After an extended blank stare, he walked back to the table for some more laps. Amateur Antique Dealers must not get a decent morning constitutional very often, because he was lapping for another 15 minutes, this time on the phone, trying his best to speak in official and low conspiratorial tones. Figuring I had sufficiently gotten my point across, I smiled as he walked over for a second time. Show me the money. “Will you take $350?” Now I was mad. I stood there silently and the guy looked at me eagerly because he thought I was considering the offer. I wasn’t. I was simply trying my damndest to figure out where the ambiguousness resided in my first response to his amateur, wholly retarded, and useless haggling. He started to pull out his wallet. “$350?”

I replied, “Same price as 15 minutes ago. Same price for the foreseeable future.”

He walked away looking dismayed, but was gone only 5 minutes this time before coming back and ponying up the dough. Show me the money. Fucking TESTES.

Meet Bulbous Elbow Lady, named for the unfortunate and scary looking, bulbous (did I mention bulbous?), multiple growths protruding from the pointy parts of her arms. She has crazy, fraying hair in several decorator shades and a witch looking nose that looks as though it came right off of the pages of Hansel and Gretel. She shuffles to no particular destination in mind and enjoys scratching various inappropriate places on her body (TESTE with an infection, perhaps?). Making her way through the house one slow shuffle at a time, like a crusty beetle, Bulbous Elbow Lady likes to pick up every single item available for sale. Every. Single. One. If it requires electricity, it must be turned on and demonstrated, be it fan, lamp, or electronic device. Fifteen minutes or so made it crystal clear that she wouldn’t be purchasing anything. I don’t even think she knew what a lamp was. She did ask if I’d take a nickel for one of my 25 cent paperbacks, though. I told her no. Seriously, if you don’t think a book is worth a quarter, then I don’t want you in my house. Stop touching my stuff.

I love lamp.

All is well that ends well, though. We sold nearly everything we set out to sell, even if we had to put up with an inordinate amount of ridiculous and annoying TESTES along the way. If I see any in the future, it will be too soon.