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Contest Archives Short Stories Contest Archives The things they sell at Swap Meets
 

The things they sell at Swap Meets Hot

 
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The swap meet is one of my favorite places to go on the weekend.  It’s where you can go to relax, catch some rays, people watch (one of my favorite


activities) and look for stuff.  You can find wonderful treasures if you dig far enough and look long enough in the piles and piles of everyone else’s left over junk, I mean treasure.  I usually go there to find something in particular, say, an old soda shop ice-cream scoop, and end up picking up and old tire iron and a pair of socks that will probably last a couple of months but that I will wear for a year before I concede the holes in the toes and heels mean another trip out to buy more. 


 


But there’s more to the swap meet than an old tire iron and socks as I saw the last time I went to the Rodium Swap Meet.  Of course there are the standard


spaces that sell the standard garage sale items that wouldn’t sell at a garage sale.  Then there are the cute novelty items like contacts with bizarre looking


eyes printed on them. You know the ones that make you look like a snake or an alien or a dozen other things. Then you have the spaces that sell new stuff; stuff


like socks for five dollars a bundle, bras for two dollars each; tools of every kind, foodstuff, and spray paint, whose vendors will sell to anyone under eighteen (Do I smell tagger?). And there are the paper products like toilet paper and tissue paper and the paper things women use on those special days of the


month. 


 


Then we come to the real specialty spaces. The oddball ones you never used to see at a swap meet but are popping up with more regularity.   Spaces that include things like massages (fifteen minutes for ten dollars), cell phones (some brand names and some from companies I’ve never heard of), real estate agents, and satellite dish vendors. 


 


But, this Sunday there was something I had never seen before.  I was so shocked by it that at first I walked by as quickly as I could.  But, then I stopped and looked back, stared for a moment, or maybe two.  Then I couldn’t stand it anymore, I had to go ask. Why.  What was this thing doing at a swap meet?  And did it actually sell?  This thing, if you can believe it, was a coffin.  That’s right, an honest to goodness coffin. Red stained with super high gloss shellac that made


it shine like glass with antiqued looking long handles.  It also had little child like angels at the ends waiting to fly the person off to heaven.


 


Now, I’m a swap-meeter from way back and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never seen anyone selling a coffin.  But, this gentleman swears they sell quite well.  His hook?  They sell at half the price of what you would pay at the funeral home, and they have a layaway plan. What an interesting proposition, I thought.  Buy now,


use later.  Maybe not a big deal in the funeral homes where you can buy a coffin, a plot and the service you want.  But the thing is, everything is kept there at the funeral home until you need it.  However, when you buy a coffin from this man you take it home with you.


 


Take it home with you? Where are you going to put a coffin? Would you put it in the pantry, or maybe on a shelf at the back of the garage?  Or maybe you’re the fun type and you’d put it on display in the living room or game room.  Or if worse comes to worse and you need a place to put drunk Uncle Joe; well, it might serve him right, right?


 


He went on to tell me the types of coffin I could get, everything from solid wood to pressed board to fiberglass.  The pressed board model was extremely cheap of course, around four hundred dollars, but would you want to be buried in a pressed board coffin? Then they have the fiberglass model.  He was very


excited when he told me about this because, as he put it, the manufacture of that model says that you will be preserved in that coffin forever.  Which means, the worms won’t eat you, and you may become mummified? And, after all, isn’t that what everyone who gets buried in a coffin wants?  And he goes to your house and helps you choose the right one for you.  Is that service or what?


 


He said he would be glad to give me his card and set up an appointment.  Backing up slightly I politely let him know I planned on being cremated and quietly slid away from his booth.  Then I rushed over to a space two rows down from him and bought some kind of tool.  I don’t know what it does but I’m sure I need it much more than I do a coffin.  And I didn’t have to put it on layaway.  I can’t wait to go next weekend to see what new and wonderful things they have.  Say, army tanks, maybe?





By



Joseph Orr


 

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