Junk Mobsters Part 3
A few weeks after being thrown out of the Junk Mobster Shop, I saw a flyer on a bulletin board in a little coffee shop, for an estate sale. The estate sale was for a founding family of a little town and I knew it would be good.
I scouted out the house the day before, just to check it out, and realized it would all be outdoors. Everything was set out as a sort of preview. I immediately saw a wonderful black metal industrial lounge set that was beautifully weathered and knew that I wanted it. I parked my car and sprinted over to the yard and approached a poor soul that should’ve ran when he saw me coming.
I asked him for some details and if he would take an early sale. He said he would hold the outdoor chair set and I could purchase it tomorrow when the sale began. Good enough for me
The next morning, I made sure to get to the sale early. I got out of my car and stood by some sawhorse barricades and waited alone. After just a few minutes, people started to materialize around me. I even started to recognize a few- the owner of a nearby antique store, a fellow junk collector and…No. NO! No way.
…and none other than The Don of the Mobster Junk Shop.
He stood by the antique store owner and nonchalantly talked about other estate sales and how business was going for those in the Junk World. At one point, while I was all out staring at him, his eyes landed on me and his speech paused for a just a second- his only sign of acknowledgement- before he resumed what he was saying. I glanced away and focused on keeping my spot as the first person in line…when I realized I was now fourth in line. Three other people had capitalized on my nosy eavesdropping and squeezed in between me and the barricade.
The time finally hit 7am and we were off and running. Several more people squeezed past me and vaulted over items they weren’t interested in, including other humans, to grab a specific treasure. I walked a little faster and paused when I heard a crash behind me. I turned to look behind me and noticed that a barricade had crashed to the ground and a few people were sprawled on the ground. I picked up the pace as I faced forward toward all the treasures awaiting…and saw The Don was several yards in front of me- how did he do that?!
I moved quickly towards things that caught my interest and grabbed what I knew I wanted to buy. My attention was then drawn to the antique store owner as he sprinted by me grabbing items out of groupings of junk- the fastest shopping method I have ever seen. He discarded items at warp speed and was gone again.
I finally stopped trying to keep up and began a slower and more careful study of the items still remaining around me. I heard running feet come towards me and prepared to fight for whatever item they might be headed towards. “Ma’am! Ma’am! Are you still interested in the vintage chair set? If not, there’s a gentleman that wants it right now.”
“Yep, I still want it. I even have the money right here if you want me to pay you now.”
“Yeah, okay that’s good.” The man then yelled over his shoulder, “Sorry, sir, it’s already been sold to this lady!”
“WHAT?!” Came the thick Chicagoan accented ROAR.
Well, that’s interesting. I watched with even more interest when The Don charged towards me with all intents and purposes of making sure he was the buyer of the vintage outdoor chair set.
He came to a screeching halt in front of me. What is it with this Familia and their abuse of the hula hoop of space?!
I felt my temper snap and knew I was done with the Junk Mobsers and their bullying tactics.
The Don jabbed his finger towards me as if to punctuate my offense.
“You’re the one who bought the chair set?” he bellowed.
I honestly think he was waiting for me to say something like this:
“Oh my! I had no idea you wanted this mighty fine vintage metal chair set that is so cool and so under priced that it could be marked up three times what it is being sold for at this estate sale. Here, let me give it to you instead! Oh, no please! It would be my pleasure! As a matter of fact, I’ll even gift wrap all of my giveaways! No, don’t you worry your little head about money, I was actually just going to give it to you! “
What I said, instead, was something like this:
“Are you talking about the vintage black metal chair set over there?” I gestured towards the only vintage black metal chair set for sale in the entire place.
“Yeah, I’m talkin’ bout that one!”
“Ah, well then. Yes. I bought that exact one. It’s great isn’t it?” I smiled a ray of sunshine into his grumpy, crabby face.
The old mobster coot frowned a cloud of crabby right back into my face and barked out, “Well, what are you going to do with it?! You know that’s worth some money, don’t cha?”
There was really no more space in between us to lean right back in at him, but I did. We must’ve been quite the sight- him standing 6’2 and looming over a girl at least half his age with her neck craned all the way back and standing as tall as her 5’1 height would let her. My mama didn’t raise me to act a fool, be a door mat or have the personality of a plastic plant and I wasn’t about to let her down now.
“Well, now, I just saw this exact set in Martha Stewart Magazine and I think it’s actually a very hard to find set. So my plan is to make a bunch money off of my vintage industrial set. After I have all that money in my little hand, I think I’ll go to a store that will actually sell me something. Oh, and if you would like to borrow that particular Martha Stewart Magazine, I can sure loan it to you- for a $10 rental fee.”
I smiled a champion’s smile and waited for his response. A big heaping bowl of verbal slicing and dicing is the best choice of an appetizer leading up to a main course of an all out brawl.
The only answer I heard come out of his mouth was a sharp toothed snarl as he turned on his heel and stomped away.
In my mind, I held my boxing gloves high and sang the theme song to Rocky. My Mama taught me not to gloat either, but we all knew who the winner was.
“ME!” I said out loud to no one except myself.
As I turned away, I caught sight of another antique store owner I had recognized, who happened to have witnessed the exchange. He beamed a smile at me and said, “Thata girl” and went right back to speed shopping.
It occurred to me then that I had just earned some respect in this weird world of junk.
Now all I had to worry about was the junk hit that was now on my head from the Junk Mobsters…