Autumn

Autumn

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Flea Markets

I give up. There isn't a decent flea market left in North Florida, or at least in my neck of the woods. Today, after I closed shop, Sweet Wife gave me a cute smile and said climb into the car. I asked why and she said you will take me to a flea market. I sighed. 

I knew I was in for a great sweat. But, I thought, I might find some interesting items. Things I need. Prep items, ammo cans, perhaps a good book, Coleman stoves and lanterns. It was possible to even shop for a bit of fresh produce; a few bananas, tomatoes and green peppers and then, perhaps later, I'd make a big salad for dinner

What do I find instead. A third world country. Black market junk.

Bangles and bobbles and broken trash and the sweet sickly scent of dollar a gallon perfume and rusted bits of sad cast iron and old ladies trailing fifteen ragamuffins each in full scream as their weary mothers trail behind with both hands filled with plastic grocery bags of ten for a dollar strings of Christmas lights and tacky shower curtains and torn tube socks and that, 'oh just perfect black velvet bulldog painting.'

I find dirt lanes and oppressive heat and dust and sun bleached wooden tables filled to the brim with day old cabbage and wrinkled vegetables and paper bins filled with small watermelons - most burst, covered in flies and wasp where older black men stand with dangled cigarettes and whiskey weary blood shot eyes long past care or ambition.

Piles and piles of old VHS tapes and broken children's toys and little glass topped containers filled with Chinese made knives and fake silver dollars and as you walk the hucksters monotone shrill chant of buy one get one free, over and over, and my ears ring and I'm thirsty and my shirt is heavy with sweat and my throat begins to burn and when I take her hand to hurry us along she resists and my anger grows. I can't catch  my breath and I'm about ready to punch someone, anyone, to escape.

The crowd deepens. Finally, I've had enough and take her hand and demand an exit. She relents. Then, as I'm almost free I see the thin man, his shiny black face covered in sweat with dirty towel wrapped around his neck and he too yells, "Come on man, buy one, buy one, buy one man and I will give you the second for free."  To me. He yells this to me.


At that point I am not a man you want to piss off. I'm ready to hurt you. I make my move towards him and he finally sees me. He steps back and lowers his voice and pats the container under his bony hand, and it sounds like, 'bong bong.' I take in the bong. Two twenty mil ammo cans. The price on the side indicates ten dollars.

In one smooth movement I reach inside my pocket and slap a twenty in his hand and reach and take both cans. 

Never again. You can have your flea markets.

Stephen  

21 comments:

  1. It's the same here. Pirate DVDs, chintzy Chinese garbage, "jewelry" that turns your skin green, nick nacks and old broken junk, lousy overpriced food, herds of zombies with their offspring in tow, or running loose making a nuisance of themselves... A nice day cleaning out a septic tank is more appealing to me than a flea market...

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    1. I can remember, Craig, when flea markets were Ma and Pa Kettle types with their farm and household items spread on the tailgate of their truck. Nice things, with fair prices. Now, its Obama bots with gold teeth selling crack pipes, Mexican illegals pandering cactus leaves, and white trash buying both. Thanks, my friend.

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  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)September 8, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Sadly, when the SHTF, that is how the unprepared ones are going to get their stuff. And all that crap is going to be expensive. Lucky you came away with something good, useful and hard to find!

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    1. Phillis when it hits they'll, sadly, die.

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  3. So very true. You didn't by a stack of tube socks or stinky old lady perfume? I used to love flea markets when real people came to sell their stuff instead of having garage sales. Those days are long gone.

    That's why I switched to Estate Sales ... the real ones.

    I may stop at a yard or garage sale, IF the sign hasn't been up for months. If it has, those people just can't afford a booth at the flea market, not worth the time it takes to get out of the truck.

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    1. Guess I should follow your lead, Sweet One. Thanks, and no, I left with only two huge ammo cans.

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  4. ugh. my poor dear sweet one. i got nothing but ugh. (you should mail me the the walther. we should test customs. just sayin'. bahahahahahahah! love you!)

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. That, my dear, would be an expensive test. And, probably a bit of jail time for me. Thanks, sweet one.

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  5. The name says it all, you go to a flea market, and come home with fleas right?

    One step above the flea market is the "antique mall" that sells things that are way too new to be real antiques.

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    1. True. The antique malls now sell dogs and cats too, and smell like parakeet poop. Thanks, Sweet Lady.

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  6. There's a store in a nearby town that sells "donated items." My guess is that it's easier to drop stuff off at the store than at the dump. Trash, nothing but trash.

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    1. Same here. Then the democritters come through and scrap and sack the leftovers. Thanks, my friend.

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  7. Yes my friend, like DFW said, we need to hit some estate sales. The flea markets in our area are for the most part, total garbage. Maybe we should ride south on 301 and make a day out of it.

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    1. Sounds like a plan to me. Let's make a date.

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  8. I was used to the gala type of flea markets in Indiana. So imagine my disgust when visiting Floridian flea markets. Old spoons, saucers without cups, tube socks and leather belts 1/2" thick. Throw in some dragons painted on black velvet and I'm swerving around the "boiled peanuts" and heading through the dirt, looking for our truck while hoping I didn't get bedbugs instead of fleas.

    Gimme the Walther just so Kymber will leave you alone.

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    1. Sure makes one want to come home and wash your hands, doesn't it. Nah, I'll keep for a while, maybe set it aside for my grandchild. Thanks, Joy...

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  9. I went to a church rummage sale today. Came away with 4 qt jars, 8 pint, & 12 half pint for $1. ;) Made my day

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    1. Great deal, Elaine...good for you. For my efforts I got a wet shirt and cans...

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  10. My friend always bragged about the flea markets here. I've avoided them thus far & from the reports above I haven't missed a thing. Stopped at a yard sale in Inglis today but didn't buy a thing. Talked to the woman about the wild pig that killed her dog; admired her two cats and told her she didn't have anything that I wasn't trying to get rid of myself. Made out better volunteering at the local thrift store. Most people here are so broke they can't afford a decent yard sale price. Those who have money drive to Ocala or south to shop and yard sales are beneath most of them.

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  11. One of my sons, besides being an electrician, also runs a booth at his local antique mall. He started out with a small booth in the very back, but in the year he has been running it, they have moved him to the front with window space. Why? Because he only buys things that are actual antiques OR have a high nostalgia value. No "Made in China" crap. For example, he has one section devoted completely to Roy Rogers memorabilia. The real deal. No reproductions ( He HATES those). Cap gun sets, posters, signed pictures, etc. He recently acquired for me what he plans to give me for Christmas...a Hop-a-Long Cassidy poster! (He is still searching for my Holy Grail...the Hop-a-Long Cassidy breakfast set...bowl, plate and mug with the silverware) Yeah...I kinda LOVED Hop-a-Long as a kid.
    There are people at some antiques malls that care about the merchandise they offer...just takes a bit to find them.

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  12. It's the same in California, at least when I was last there. At least you ended it on a somewhat high note!

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