This morning, I’m sharing Part 6 of my story, “Garage Sale Addict”. If you’d like to catch up, here’s:
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 1“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 2“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 3“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 4“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 5“
And, here is my disclaimer one more time…
Disclaimer: I am nervous about sharing this. Instead of me being able to use words like “crap” or my made up favorites like “goody-ness”, what I’m about to share will be held to a higher standard. Because it’s part of my hidden soul-my personal writing projects. Who knows if this will ever go anywhere-but it’s fun to write and to dream. I’d love to hear what you have to say, or maybe I won’t.
The espresso machine churned while Rosalyn stood to the side waiting for her chai tea. Bonnie already had her usual mocha and thumbed through a magazine, commandeering the last table in the coffee shop.
“Chai Tea for Rosalyn?” The barista slid the drink onto the counter towards Rosalyn and stared a little longer than normal. “Hey, didn’t you just have an amazing garage sale?”
“That might have been me,” Rosalyn smiled, happy to be remembered.
“I got two Chang belts there for $75,” the barista showed off one of the belts around her waist.
“That was definitely my sale then,” she said. “I’m going to have another one this Saturday. You should stop by again.”
“Will do,” the barista high-five’d the co-worker that had been listening in.
Rosalyn grabbed her tea and headed towards Bonnie-who was emphatically rolling her eyes.
“Seriously, Ros-another sale? You barely made any money on the last one.” Her friend sighed and then took a sip of her mocha. “You made twelve dollars. Total.”
“That sale was depressing, I’ll admit. But, namely because I had nothing there to create excitement. I have a plan and that’s why I bought this.” She pulled a Taute belt out of her shopping bag.
Bonnie choked on her drink, coughing for a few seconds.
“How much was that?” Her friend slammed her cup down onto the table, coffee sloshing out of the side.
“Keep your voice down. I got a great deal on it.” She whispered, aware of the eavesdropping baristas.
“How much?” Bonnie craned her neck to get a look at the price tag.
“It doesn’t matter how much. When I advertise this is at my sale, the real shoppers will come. Once the shoppers are there, they’ll buy all my other stuff and that will be that.” Rosalyn shoved the belt back into her bag.
“Meaning, that will be your last sale, right?”
“Of course. I just want to get rid of the stuff I didn’t sell last time, that’s all. And if I need to entice the customers a little, then so be it.” Rosalyn took a drink.
“Do the math, Ros. What you paid for that belt will not be covered by the profits on your trinkets.” Bonnie shook her head.
“You underestimate my sales ability. And, there will be doughnuts paid for by me for my helpers. Please?” She smiled at her best friend.
“This sounds like a terrible plan, but because I’m your friend and you are clearly going through something…I’m in.” Bonnie patted her friend’s hand. “This is your last sale, right?”
“Yeah, sure. This is the last time.” Rosalyn nodded but looked away.
“As long as there are doughnuts, then we have a deal.”
Rosalyn’s cell phone rang just as she returned home. She fished her phone out of her purse and let a hurried ‘hello’ just before the call went to voicemail.
“Hello? Who is this, please?” She sighed.
“Oh, I thought I would get your voice mail. I was expecting you to be out with Bonnie or something,” he said. “I mean it is a Friday night.”
Rosalyn’s knees buckled underneath her, she grabbed the countertop in the kitchen for support.
“I just got home from spending time with her. How may I help you?” Rosalyn felt annoyed and her knuckles turned white as she gripped the counter.
“I stopped by earlier.”
Several seconds passed.
“What for?” Her voice cracked.
“There’s a lot of stuff that…” He heaved a sigh.
“…That you need to say to me?” Rosalyn could kick herself for finishing his sentence.
“No, there was a lot of stuff at my house that belonged to you. Gwennie asked me to get rid of it. I dropped it off while you were out.”
“Oh,” Rosalyn felt her jaw tighten. “She asked you ‘to get rid of it’, huh?”
“Look, I thought it best to leave it on the back porch when you weren’t there,” he said. “I drove by tonight and noticed your car was gone. We don’t need to make this a big deal.”
“Sure, we don’t need to make our seven year relationship that suddenly ended for absolutely no reason a big deal.” She felt pathetic.
“Good. Everything is on back porch.”
“Seriously? Fine, Kyle. Whatever.” She pushed the “end” button on her phone.
The phone rang again.
“What?” Rosalyn demanded.
“Rosalyn?” Bonnie sounded concern.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were Kyle.” Rosalyn wiped at her eyes.
“Why would I be Kyle? Did he call you?”
“He informed me that everything of mine was on the back porch. And that our relationship was ‘not a big deal’.” Tears trickled down her cheek.
“Oh, Ros. I’m so sorry.” Bonnie whispered.
“Really, it’s ok. And at least I have the garage sale to look forward to in the morning.”
“How about we watch some girl movies and eat ice cream until we’re sick instead of the sale?”
“I’ve already advertised the sale online. Don’t you realize how upset people will be if I cancel last minute? They’re depending on me.”
“No one will be upset if you cancel the sale. How about you sleep in on Saturday?”
“I’m doing the sale. If you don’t want to help out, I understand, but I have to do this.” Rosalyn squeezed her eyes shut.
“Ros, of course I’ll help you. But, will you promise me something?” Bonnie sighed.
“Sure.” She fished a tissue out of her purse and dabbed at her mascara.
“Promise me that this sale is the last one?”
“If this Saturday is just as bad as last weeks, then I won’t do another.” She was pleased with her ambiguous response.
“I guess that’s good enough. I’ll be there on Saturday and I’ll bring the doughnuts.” Her friend gave a quiet goodbye and hung up.
Rosalyn paced the kitchen floor, willing herself to go to the back porch. Finally, she made it to the back door and flung it open. Tissues in hand, Rosalyn sifted through the box. But instead of crying as she thought she might do, her mind became a calculator, tabulating all of the potential profits Kyle has just delivered her.
Rosalyn typed up descriptions for the new items and added to her listing two purses, a peacoat and several necklaces.
She climbed into bed much later than she had planned, exhausted. Her cell phone rang from across the room.
“Why didn’t I shut you off?” Rosalyn mumbled from her bed, frowning at the lit up phone lying on her dresser.
The caller gave up, the house becoming silent once again and soon, she fell asleep.
Rosalyn awoke on Saturday at 4:30 a.m. and immediately sprung into action. She decided to do the sale outside once again-even though it was raining.
She glanced at her cell phone, remembering the late night call, which read ‘One missed call from unknown number’. Rosalyn pressed the voice mail button, and heard clicking noises along with the sound of numbers being pressed. Weird, she thought. She hit the ‘delete’ button.
Rosalyn propped open the front door, bringing out boxes and placing them underneath the carport, away from the rain. She tried to ignore the cars idling on the street. The thermos drinkers were back. An old dodge truck signaled the others with two flashes of high beams. A brown Oldsmobile responded with the same.
She wished Bonnie would hurry. Rosalyn felt vulnerable with her front door open and her “products” unattended each time she headed back inside for more.
“Good morning,” said a voice from the street. She could hear the raindrops bouncing off the unidentified person’s parka.
“I don’t open until six,” she shouted through the rain.
“It looks to me like you could use a little help,” said the voice which sounded as if it were getting closer to her each second.
“Look, buddy. I know what scam you’re trying to pull offering to ‘help’ me. This isn’t my first sale,” she responded, backing up towards her house, reaching into her pocket.
“No, it most certainly isn’t,” Micah said, stepping underneath the carport and into the yellow beam cast from the porch light.
“Micah! You scared me half to death,” she smiled. “I was reaching for my pepper spray.”
“You have pepper spray? Good to know,” he said, holding his palms up. “I come in peace. Now, point me in the direction of the coffee, first and what you need brought out, second.”
She loved that he loved coffee. And that he was at her house at 4:45 a.m., in the rain, in a great mood and offering to help.
“Follow me. The coffee is hot and Bonnie will bring us doughnuts later.” Rosalyn curtsied dramatically, waving him towards the door.
After a quick cup of coffee, the pair got to work dragging out tables. Her “products” were more crammed than she would like underneath the carport, but she felt it would still present well. Micah lifted the hood on his parka and headed out with the garage sale signs-protecting them with clear trash bags.
“I’m a little bummed that the balloons I got last night won’t be put to good use,” Rosalyn said to Micah when he returned. “But, at least the rain is keeping the early shoppers in their cars and not on my lawn.”
He laughed and ran his fingers through his slightly damp hair. After removing his parka and shaking it out, he sat down next to her and patted her knee.
“Don’t you worry about customers. I saw the entire street lined with cars all the way down to the corner,” he accepted the coffee mug she gave to him and sipped from the top.
Rosalyn watched his lips as they touched the cup, drawing the hot beverage into his mouth. He looked at her from the corner of his eyes and she felt her skin turn hot. Micah smirked and took another drink from the cup. She searched her blank mind for something to say.
“So, where’s Spartan?”
Micah began to answer her, but was interrupted by their first customer. A man in a drenched trench coat barely looked around before approaching Rosalyn.
“I drove two hours to get here. I have to know, where do you buy the things you’re selling?” He removed and then wiped the rain from his glasses, leaving behind a marked indention on his giant nose.
“Well, I am flattered that you have come all this way, for my sale. But I can’t reveal my secrets.” Rosalyn said.
“It isn’t illegal is it?” He whispered, leaning in while adjusting his tie.
“Do I look like the type to commit a crime?” She laughed and looked at Micah.
“Anyone can commit a crime,” the guy with the glasses said. He held up the two purses Kyle had left the night before. “I’ll take these.”
“Your wife will be happy,” Rosalyn said, giving the man his change.
“I’m not married,” he said and huffed off.
“Okay, that was weird.” Micah said quietly as another customer approached, ready to make their purchase.
Rosalyn hardly stopped when Bonnie arrived with the doughnuts. She continued making sale after sale. Bonnie threw in Rosalyn’s trinkets from time to time to ‘sweeten the deal’ if someone was hedging on the final price, knowing if there was anything left over, Rosalyn might be tempted to do another sale.
“Thanks for the doughnuts, Bonnie.” Rosalyn took a quick bite before allowing someone to talk her down on the price of one of the Chang belts.
“My pleasure. I can’t believe how much you’ve already sold.” Bonnie said, looking inside the coffee can Micah held onto.
“It’s been a great morning so far. Hey-have you noticed if the news crew is back? Seven new ‘Mutt Shot’ clients called after seeing me on the news the last time.” Rosalyn beamed.
“That’s great, Ros.” Bonnie grinned. “I’m glad having these sales are actually bringing in some real business for you.”
“What do you mean ‘real business’. Isn’t this ‘real’?” Rosalyn gestured to the five different people currently shopping.
Bonnie and Micah snickered.
“Hey lady,” said a man that hadn’t bothered with an umbrella and was dripping on her table. “Where do you find all this stuff? Are these knock-off’s?”
“These are 100% the real thing,” Rosalyn answered, trying not to sound annoyed.
“It just seems too good to be true. These aren’t stolen or something?” The man continued dripping.
“Are you kidding me?”
“I just had to ask,” said the man, handing her two twenty dollar bills for one of the belts.
“These sales sure bring out the strangest of society,” said Bonnie as she polished off her bear claw.
“You think this is strange,” said Rosalyn as she bagged up a customer’s purchase. “You should see some of the emails I’ve received. Look at my phone and read the last two.”
Micah and Bonnie hovered over her phone.
“Wow, you weren’t kidding,” said Micah after reading the emails.
“There are some bizarre people out there,” Bonnie shook her head.
“And those were two of the nicer ones.” Rosalyn rearranged an empty space on the table as the rain began to let up. She checked her watch-10:15. “Time sure flies when you’re making money. How much have we made so far?”
Micah carefully pulled the money from the can and counted it, hiding himself behind a designer picnic basket, complete with crystal wine goblets. He whispered the amount to Bonnie-her eyes growing wide. Rosalyn watched from the other side of the carport.
“C’mon. I’m dying over here,” she said.
Bonnie tried signing to her friend the amount using her fingers. Rosalyn abandoned the table she was arranging, sure she misunderstood.
“What I just saw you sign to me was $1,272,” Rosalyn whispered.
“That is correct, dear,” Bonnie smiled at her friend. “Now, how much did you spend to make this happen?”
“Spend? What do you mean?,” asked Micah.
“I just bought a few things to prime the pump,” said Rosalyn. “I spent a couple hundred, I think.”
“You know exactly how much you spent, Ros.” Bonnie grabbed at her friend’s arm before she could pull away.
“I need to get back to rearranging the products,” she said and then gestured to Micah who was heavily involved with his second doughnut. “Can we talk about this later, please?”
“Sure,” sighed Bonnie.
Rosalyn pulled away from Bonnie, but was immediately stopped by a man dressed in a cheap suit.
“Good morning, Ma’am,” he said, pulling a business card from his inside pocket. “I need you to call me later this afternoon. I have a few questions for you.”
“And you are?,” Rosalyn said, accepting the card without looking at it.
“Let’s just say I’m someone that always gets the answers to his questions,” he said and walked away.
She watched him get into a black sedan and speed off. Rosalyn finally looked down at the business card. It read, Robert Stope, Federal Investigator, along with an 800 number.
“Who was that?,” Bonnie said, joining Rosalyn in the middle of the driveway.
Bonnie took the business card that Rosalyn offered her to look over.
“What in the world?,” Bonnie whispered. “What does a Federal Investigator want with you?”
“I have no idea,” she slowly answered her friend. “But, I’m not going to call him to find out either.”