You Know the Line

FRIENDS WILL HELP YOU move, but real friends will help you move bodies? Make a corollary to that: real friends will help you hold an estate sale.

It was all that.

Saturday, I got the call from Toni to come lend truck space –just the hauling capacity — in my Cherokee to the friend whose body — er, estate sale — it was. It was a cold storage warehouse turned self-storage on the wrong side of the tracks in a bad part of town. The “cold” part doesn’t refer to air-conditioning in summer. They close well before sundown. There was some urgency to get the hell out of Dodge. OK. But I got there and couldn’t help helping to tote barge and lift bale. I hate just sitting around doing nothing. When I got there, there was a pro from Dover sorting through the books. Each carton filled went into one of three SUVs or a U-Haul Econoline partial van.

When I left, my Cherokee’s ass was dragging, as was mine.

Sunday, we got up at o-dark-thirty and went to meet the friends, whose body — er, estate sale — we were helping with, at IHOP for breakfast. (Hawaiian pancakes the special. Did you know they had flamingos in Hawaii? And Toucans? Neither did I. The things you can learn if you pay attention .)

Then we set up in the parking lot at the Animal Clinic. I’d brunged my pop-up tent. We popped it up, tied it down between two SUVs, and lined it with tables and shelvs full of books.

Best estimate between 20 and 25 cartons. Of the standard Two Men and a Truck book carton.

Toni had put an ad in several papers, on Craig’s List, via the town crier, and the evening bark. Specified start time was 10:00 AM. We got there at 7:30 and started setting up. Before I could even get the crime scene tape stretched out to block the driveway, an elderly couple pulled up and asked if this was the place. While were still unpacking, a pack of ravening antiquers appeared out of nowhere and started opening boxes and rifling through the contents. There was one flibbertygibbet (who claimed to be a dealer, but — having known a few dealers in my checkered career — I have my doubts) who made a little pile of items she wanted — or didn’t, NO, did — no, on second thought, what do you think? — in the middle of the trafficway, which she then defended against all comers like one of those yappy little dogs that stupid socialites carry in their oversized and overpriced purses. She did spend a lot, but the idea was to get rid of the stuff fast — which she didn’t seem to appreciate.

Her “boyfriend” (he was probably 70 and she in her 60s) was fairly nice, if put-upon. Reminds me of Sunshine in Harlem Nights. Remember Della Reese? “Her pussy’s so fantastic, you could throw it up in the air and it would shine like the sun.” I hope the flibbertygibbet’s is that good. Otherwise, that poor guy is getting FWBO. (Fucked Without Benefit of Orgasm.)

What a Democrat.

Then things settled down a bit. The local businessmen’s association was having a sidewalk sale, so we had good traffic all day. There were some very nice people, even among the early birds. But they didn’t get the good deals. We were all sticking to our guns on price early on. I had a whinger complaining about the price on the books (a dollar for anything — really good stuff). She thought that was outrageous. I pointed out, while pocketing the proceeds from several sales, that we were getting it. She said, “That’s because the people around here can afford to be loose with their money.”

Another Democrat.

But later in the day, everybody got a little freer. Anything that got sold didn’t have to be packed up and hauled out. We were willing to make deals. Ten books for eight bucks, and so forth. I imagine it’s a pattern.

I never did get all of the books unpacked completely. They sold bookshelves out from under me. But then, there was this guy, a bookseller from Indianapolis as it turns out, by the name of Stan Solomon, and a really nice guy, you should patronize him if you’re looking for collectible books, who helped me unpack what I could get on the tables in exchange for first paw-through. I thought that was fair. And he was of a good humor and a pleasant conversationalist. I gave him good prices and threw in extras.

My wage for the work is the remainder of the books. Yes, I have to haul them away and dispose of them, but I get to pick out anything I (and/or Toni) want. I pored over the collection while I was tending it — after a manner of a shopkeeper — and made my selections, subject to sale, of course. When the last bookseller was gone, we started packing the books back up, and I threw my choices into separate boxes. I made choices of titles that have interested me over the years, or caught my eye there, of subjects that interest me or sounded interesting, and of books that just took my fancy — which I would not ordinarily buy for being on a perennially tight budget. I’ll be expanding the horizons of my Books To Be Read stack beyond science fiction, fantasy, and military history for at least a year to come.

It’s almost hard to decide where to begin. But, like the proverbial kid in a candy store, I think I’ll be able to work it out.

I’ve gotten most of my picks up on The Library Thing. You can sort the list by date of acquisition, in descending order to see the newest ones. By all means, go. Wallow in envy. I’m glad I did it (although that’s not the only reason — glad to help a friend).

And there’s more where those came from. Approximately 13-15 cartons. (Sold a lot, and took 3 cartons, but also packed tighter.) Now, Toni and I are going to comb the rest for further potential acquisitions, for donations, and for trash — books that have lost their covers or significant number of pages, and so-forth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *