Take It or Leave It

Image via Bing Images and Flicker.com Creative Commons, courtesy of — frugalandthriving.com.au

Short Story – Make sure you look over your items before holding a Garage Sale.


I only wanted to clean the attic. It’d been months since I’d had a chance to take a look up there. I’d been busy doing this and that and never got around to going up there. Now that I had time, here I was. The entire contents came with the house. It didn’t matter to me what was up here, I wasn’t going to keep any of it.

Old mirrors, a wooden trunk, rickety rocking chair, baby bassinet, a high chair, and books, lots of books piled to the ceiling. Well, I could just donate those at the next school fundraiser event. Better yet, I could make some money off this stuff and hold a yard sale.

I dragged it all down and piled it in the garage. Marking everything was too much of a bother. I decided on charging a dollar an item regardless of what it was. It rained that day. So much for a big turnout I’d expected. There were a couple of people who showed up looking for antiques. The rocking chair and the mirror went first. I hoped that the books would go too. I even offered to through a couple of them in for free, but I had no takers.

It wasn’t but for an hour before the next customer appeared. That was when I began looking at the titles of the books. Most were classics that I’d already read. Those ones I put aside closest to where I sat hoping that they would draw the eye of the next person. I wasn’t looking forward to lugging all those books back inside and up to the attic.

Next I noted the books I had heard of and hadn’t read. Those ones I scattered about on different tables. If they didn’t sell, I’d still have a chance to read them. There was only one book among them that got my whole attention. It was a diary. I opened it and started to read it when the next group of people arrived. I had just set the book aside when a customer began ogling it. I thought of slipping it under the table out of sight. I wasn’t done with it yet.

“How much for that book?”

I was surprised by the question. “Which one?”

The man fingered the diary. “This one.”

“I wasn’t going to sell it.”

“No? What would you say if I offered you a hundred dollars for it?”

That raised my eyebrows. Hmm… I was still reading the book. “It’s not for sale.”

“Five hundred bucks for the book.”

His companion turned his attention to our haggling. “Do you know what happened to the owner of this house?”

“I do, they moved far away.”

“Not as far as you think, more like six feet under.”

“They died?”

“Yes and without a will.” His eyes stared at the diary. That longing look, it made me wonder what was so special about the book. “I’ll give you a thousand dollars for the book.”

I thought the dude was joking. “Are you serious?”

The guy pulled out his wallet and began counting out hundreds. How could I not accept that? It was more money than I had anticipated for the entire contents of the garage. I wanted to get rid of the stuff, all of it.

“I’ll tell you what… For the thousand dollars, I will give you the book, but I want you to take the rest of this stuff too.”

“Just the book. That’s all we want.”

“No, you have to take all of it or leave it.”

“How about we just take the book and you keep the stuff.”

The guy was ticking me off. I hadn’t spent all those months in the field to sit here and continue to haggle over a stupid diary and a bunch of junk. I followed my instincts. I drew my weapon and cocked it. The handgun was pointed at the man’s temple. “You give me the money and take all the stuff.”

He didn’t say another word as he handed over the money. Surprisingly his hand didn’t shake as he accepted the book. But now he had all the other stuff too. I stood there watching and waiting for them to begin loading their vehicle. They’d probably have to make a couple of trips.

“Allen, have a look at this.” The guy who’d offered me the hundred bucks first opened one of the classic books. It was hollow, but not empty. He pulled out a bag of white substance.

“Just as we thought.” He pulled out his badge and his gun and pointed it at me. “Your under arrest for distributing. Drop your weapon.”

“You got to be kidding me!” I never once looked inside any of the books. “How was I supposed to know that was there?”

“It doesn’t matter. You sold us the contents of this garage and that was included.”

I did lawyer up. But that’s another story, I’ll tell you some other time. Hopefully when I’m out of this cell that I’ve been sitting in for the past four months. My court date isn’t until next month. I just pray the lawyer I hired will be able to get me out of this mess.

Copyright © 2015 by Linda Nelson


ROW80 Check In:

So much for that work in progress. It was a long week at work. I was so tired after being out that long. No matter though, I’m happy to be back to work. The writing will come another day. What better way to get back into the grind than by writing a bit of flash fiction. I’m not much into writing crime and mystery, so if someone would like to collaborate and help me finish this story, that would be fun. I always wanted to try doing a collaboration with someone.