Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rusty Pails #24
Heck's Yard Sale

by Rocky Macy

A good neighbor will be there when you need him. That’s why I was pounding on Heck Frye’s front door yesterday fifteen minutes before daybreak. Heck didn’t know it yet, but he needed Old Rusty.

Heck pulled the door open slowly, obviously more asleep than awake. “What in tarnation are you doing here at this hour, Rusty Pails?” Manners aren’t my neighbor’s long suit – leastways not before breakfast.

“Where’s the stuff?” I asked as I pushed my way past the sleepy doorman and into the house.


“Yard sale stuff. There was a sign on the wall at the laundrymat last night.” I hesitated. “Today is the big day, isn’t it? Heck Frye’s first-ever yard sale?”

“It doesn’t start ‘til nine o’clock. How about some breakfast?”

“No time. Just set the coffee to perking and I’ll start hauling things outside.” My twenty-twenty yard sale instincts led me to Heck’s hall closet. Pulling the door open, I found a mountain of soon-to-be-bargains.

“But Rusty,” he wailed, “we’ve got hours to get ready.”

“I’m going to need tape and rope – and clothespins!” I headed out onto the porch with the first box of treasures.

“But Rusty!”

“And a good marking pencil,” I added, returning for the second load.

“It’s too early!”

I stopped in my tracks. After carefully lowering load number two onto the coffee table, I straightened up and prepared to give Heck a quick course in the basics of yard sales. “Look here, old buddy, saying a sale starts at nine a.m. really means that things will start happening at six. If you want people here at nine, tell ‘em it starts at noon!”

Heck laughed and helped me re-gather my cargo. “Nobody but Rusty Pails would make it up this lane before sunup.”

“Maybe,” I conceded.

“And maybe not,” Judge Rufus T. Redbone added as he stepped into the open doorway. “Say, Heck, do you have a flashlight? Miss Lola Longtooth wants to have a better look through that box of knick-knacks.”

“Is this lawn furniture for sale?” someone shouted from the porch.

“Put down that chair, lady,” came a reply. “I saw it first.”

A stranger pushed his way in past the Judge. “Hey, Mac, does your old truck run?”

I don’t know about the old truck, but Heck Frye sure could run! We both dove for the closet and started hauling out treasures. It was going to be a great day for a yard sale!

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