by Rocky Macy
When Shadetree Mike works up a sweat, it’s usually from exercising his imagination.
Last week the domino discourse at the Pump and Git was interrupted by Mike’s sudden pronouncement that he was making plans for his retirement. (Ermine, as she raised one of Mike’s feet to make a pass with her mop, responded that if Mike gets any more “retired,” she’s sending for the undertaker.) Mike ignored his Bread-and-Butter with a skill that can only come with decades of practice, and proceeded to tell the group about a business venture that he was considering for his golden years.
“The future,” declared Mike to everyone except his Missus, “ain’t in the stock market, it’s in the flea market.”
Mike’s sort of like a pet volcano, liable to pop off at any time and spew most anything. The folks at the domino table are so used to his surprises that this latest blast barely caused a ripple in the conversation.
Mike persisted. “I’ve been thinking about what this country needs, really needs, and I’ve decided flea markets are the answer!”
“Why’s that, Mike?” Some fool asked.
“Because, Rusty, they’re fun places to shop.” Mike leisurely dominoed as he continued. “The people that go to flea markets don’t know what they’re looking for, and they usually buy plenty of it.
“Granted. But Sprung Hinge already has three flea markets and Esther’s Pearls and Swine.” Despite knowing better, my interest was starting to percolate. “What’s yours going to have that the others don’t?”
“You’re thinking too ordinary, Rusty. I’m not talking about just one flea market. I’m fixing to open a chain. We’ll clean out every yard sale and auction in the country and stock our shelves with America’s finest seconds.”
I couldn’t help noticing that the venture had expanded subtly from “I” to “we”. “What’s my part in this operation going to be, Mike?”
“Why, Rusty Pails, you’ll be our chief buyer. Our stores will be filled with the treasures that you drag in from the sales.
“And what will we call our chain?”
I knew that he wasn’t serious all along. Where would Ermine find time to run a chain store? And me? I’m just going to walk my old trails and leave chain stores to the folks who haven’t learned to do the sales!
Auction tip: If you’re planning on paying for auction purchases by check, let the cashier know before you do any bidding. Taking a few minutes to learn the rules of payment might save a big embarrassment later in the day.