Buyer Beware!

Writing is one of the best ways to become a stronger writer! Imagine that! Follow along as I use my own photographs as spring boards for original short stories. Welcome to Unhinged, where the buyer needs to beware!

In this second segment of “Unhinged” we are transported back to when the nightmare began for our two promising home renovators. Arvid’s desire to make a quick buck at an auction sets the gears into motion for bitter regret and disappointment.

An ornate photo frame worthy of the best auction buyer

Auctions in the country are more than out-bidding your neighbor for a dining room table and three chairs. You can buy yourself a sloppy joe sandwich, bag of potato chips, and a can of pop for $3.75, proceeds benefitting the local 4-H club. You can then eat your sandwich, start the bag of chips, and drink the can of pop while you check out the lines of housewares, yard wares, and trinkets for sale.

Estate sales are probably the most common. Someone dies or goes to the nursing home (is there a difference?) and, before you know it, everything is out in the yard. The auctioneers voice moves in rhythm with the bidders hands up in the air. The lawn mower goes first, followed by a huge collection of garden equipment and six boxes of hand-stitched quilts – works of art really, which took someone years to complete. All this and more, gone in the first ten minutes of the auction.

Arvid needed a napkin. His beard was catching most of the hamburger from the sloppy joe but the grease rolling down his chin bugged him. “Shit,” he mumbled as tried finding something in his overalls to wipe his face. Without hankie or wadded up tissue to his name, Arvid did the next best thing and used his sleeves to wipe clean his face. “Evelyn won’t mind,” he tried to reassure himself, “She enjoys cleaning up after this type of thing.” Arvin could hear the voice of the auctioneer booming through a loudspeaker as he finished wiping off his chin.

And we have thirty, gentleman with the stained shirt in front. Thank you. Do we have thirty-five? Thirty-five…Thirty-five? Last call for thirty-five.

Arvid’s face turned pale. He broke the first rule of auctions – to keep your hands down at all costs, unless you are actually bidding.

Going once, going twice, do we have thirty-five, three times nothing folks. And…sold to the gentleman in front who has a hard time getting food to stay in his mouth.

Hold up your number there sir!

The crowd’s laughter made Arvid sick to his stomach. He held up his number (149) and walked over to the box he just bought for $35. Arvid grabbed the box, opened the card board flaps, and shook his head.

“I got screwed,” muttered Arvid as he collapsed into a folding chair with a box full of glass jars filled with an assortment of screws, nails, tacks, and buttons.

“Evelyn taking you down another peg tonight Arvid?” asked the guy from the hardware store. Arvid met the jeer with a full two middle finger salute. Of course, this left the box dangling precariously off his lap. Arvid inadvertently moved just right for the for the box to fall on the ground, sending the collection of junk scattering on the ground.

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Jeff Wallager
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