This is going to be the greatest garage sale ever. I’ve advertised in the newspaper and posted pictures on social media and taped flyers throughout the neighborhood and told some neighbors and friends to come over this beautiful Saturday spring morning starting at seven. I open the garage door a half hour early and several people are already standing in front and waiting in cars. I’ve got six coffee tables full of merchandise in front and many items on the concrete floor behind me. People converge on the collectibles and soon start buying masks I acquired long ago in Africa and Latin America.
“How much is this one?” asks a young man.
“I paid forty but will take twenty.”
“How about fifteen?”
“Okay, fifteen, or a package deal of forty bucks for that one and these two? They go together.”
I’ve also got some wonderful hand-painted plates and cups and other delicate items too pretty and breakable to use and always in the way. When my wife returns from visiting relatives I know she’ll love new space created by sales that more than pay for her trip.
“Five fucks apiece for these cups,” I say.
“I’ll give you twenty for five,” says a lady.
I sell a few more plates and cups, and some crystal wineglasses we never use since we quit drinking alcohol but my wife thinks look beautiful through glass panes of the china cabinet. By eight a.m. I ask the lady next door, who’s browsing, to be my cashier in the garage for a few minutes, and take a man inside where he pays seventy-five dollars for the rest of the china and fifty for the remaining wine glasses.
“I notice you’ve got a pickup truck,” I say. “How about two hundred for the china cabinet.”
“You got it.”
I tape the cabinet doors shut and we lift the top half and carry it to his truck and then do the same with the bottom.
“I bet I’ve sold fifty dollars of knick knacks,” says my neighbor.
“Keep it up. You’re the cashier.”
A tall older man who looks like a pro says, “You got any more furniture?”
“We have a beautiful flat-screen TV in the bedroom that we seldom use and really never should use.”
“Fifty-four inches diagonally.”
I lead him there, and he says, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks.”
“It’s only a couple of years old, has video streaming, and works like new. A hundred fifty.”
“You any good with mechanical stuff?” I ask.
“Sure.” He’s carrying a little tool case holding some small fancy screwdrivers. A few minutes later we’re carrying the TV and wall braces to his SUV.
I see a man examining rakes, shovels, brooms, hammers, crowbars, and other tools hanging on a wall, and say, “Excuse me, sir. Those aren’t for sale.”
“You’ve got two or three of everything.”
He’s right, and that’s the point. “Pick out what you want, just leave me one of all the key stuff.”
In fifteen minutes I’ve sold almost two hundred dollars of tools including the lawn mower we don’t need because we’ve got a gardener.
“Let’s start moving this stuff on the garage floor,” I tell my neighbor.
“How much do I get?”
“A hundred bucks.”
“How about these two coffee tables here,” I say to a lady looking at them.
“Did you get some new ones?”
“No, coffee tables take up too much room.”
“I’ll give you sixty for both.”
Next I sell a superfluous living room chair and two small wooden cabinets and a credenza and two table lamps that hadn’t been inside in years and lots of other things.
“This all you got?” says a man, standing next to his stern wife.
“Certainly not. What’re you looking for?”
“A sofa,” she says.
“Come on in.” I point to two plush sofas. “Which do you want?”
“Two hundred,” she says.
“Fine.” I nod at her husband and we carry the sofa out to his pickup.
A young family arrives and asks if we’ve got any clothes.
“Sorry, not for kids. Ours are grown. But we’ve got some nice men’s and women’s apparel inside.”
Look at that damn walk-in closet. I thought it was supposed to be spacious. I can’t even see what I’ve got. My wife claims she knows where all her garments are. I don’t believe it.
“Pick out what you want,” I say “We’ll work out a price.”
They start examining clothes and laying what they like on the bed. I run outside. “Anyone else need some clothes?”
A young lady smiles and says, “Sí.”
Within an hour I’ve run ten or so people through that closet and sold about half our clothes and shoes, leaving us still more than we need.
“Do you have any jewelry?” asks the last woman.
I try not rant about that and only say, “Oh, yeah, but it ain’t cheap,” and open the large second drawer down the dresser. “Here it is.”
She’s evidently a lady of means and experience, examining many glistening pieces and saying, “This one’s gold, this isn’t, these are diamonds, these aren’t,” and making other complex assessments I have no interest in. She buys a handful of stuff for a few hundred bucks, and I hurry outside and shout, “Jewelry sale inside.”
Three women follow me in. In a flurry several others arrive, and soon about two-thirds of my wife’s jewelry’s been transformed into wads in my wallet and both front pockets.
From her purse a young lady whips out a massive cell phone, or maybe it’s a tablet, and snaps photos of the rest. “I’m sending these photos to some friends.”
“Sorry, but my wife would kill me if I sold any more.”
Back in the garage I wonder why we have an old, often-empty refrigerator in here. We’ve got a massive double-door unit in the kitchen.
“Hey, seventy bucks for this refrigerator,” I announce.
“Give you thirty,” says a man.
“Great.” I get my dolly and roll it out to his truck.
“Twenty-five for the dolly,” he says.
“No, I better not sell everything.”
“What’s your wife going to say, Bill?” asks my cashier.
“Don’t know. I’m headin’ to Europe for a month.”