A Quick Buck and I'm Done by Hattie I. Day
Posted on May 9 2010 at 04:27:09 PM in Literature
– The Yardsale –
… a disembodied voice drifted from beneath the tablecloth that dangled from the homemade yardsale display. A quick survey, toward the direction of the plaintive din, culminated with the discovery of the voice’s owner. One small cowboy boot attached to a bare, skinny, juvenile – leg peaked out from behind the boarder of the cloth. “Travis you come out from underneath that cloth before you tear down the whole table” mom barked. “But mom I am sooooo bored and tired of not ridin Bitsy”,whined Travis. “You may ride Bitsy later after the yardsale. Why don’t you go get those two big plastic buckets that are laying by your swing and then bring them here? We will turn them upside down, put a couple of boards across them and make a sales booth just for you”, said mom. The toe of the cowboy boot wiggled from side to side and then in circular motions for a split second then slowly slid from beneath the table, dragging in its wake a lanky – legged, dust-covered five-year old. “What could I sell?”, he asked. “Well, do you have any toys that you don’t play with anymore”?, mom asked. Travis tapped the pointed toe of a boot into the lawn, squinted one eye half closed, cocked his head to one side and thought about it.The bare colt-like legs attached to cowboy boot clad feet suddenly bounded toward the direction of the front door.”Make certain to wash your muddy hands before you get the toys!”, shouted mom.
When Travis returned from inside the house mom helped him build his table. After the table was finished, they covered it with a green tablecloth that was just like the one that mom had on her table. Travis arranged the toys, that he planned to sell, all over his table. Then he and mom sat in lawn chairs to await the arrival of the customers. Travis did not like waiting at all. “When are they gonna get here?”, he demanded. “Soon Travis, soon. Just be patient”, mom assured. A few moments later a car arrived but there weren’t any children in the group. “Ah shoot”, mumbled Travis. I ain’t gonna ever sell any toys”. The people looked around, chose some items and then paid for them. Travis helped mom to place their items in bags. He was just about to bag a book when a van that was filled with children arrived. Travis dropped the book back onto the table and took off running toward the children who had begun pouring from the van. “Hey, I have toys to sell! Come look at my toys!”, Travis yelled.
The children, freed themselves from the constraints of the van, spilled out upon the small lawn and scrambled toward Travis and his table. No toy on the table was left untouched. Travis shared some of his stories about how he had gotten each one. He had even put one of his barely used bandaids on the table. Travis thought that since he had only used it for a little while that it must be worth something. He told the group about how he had fallen off his favorite horse and skinned his knee. His mom had put the band-aid on the sore spot but he had taken it off that same day at bath time.One of the older boys in the newly arrived group did not seem interested in any of the toys. Travis tried to get him to look at them but the boy said, “I’m seven. I don’t play with baby toys”. Travis felt sad. He wasn’t a baby! The older boy glanced around. He saw a big plastic rocking horse tethered to Travis’ lawn chair. The boy walked over to the horse. It was suspended by heavy-duty springs hanging from a sturdy steel frame. “His name is Bitsy”, offered Travis. “Nice horse”, the big boy said. Travis beamed with pride and replied, “Thanks, he is a Pinto horse. I used to ride him all the time but now that I am a big boy I don’t ride him anymore”. “Why’s he out here then?”, the boy asked. “To sell”, fibbed Travis. Bitsy was Travis’ very favorite toy. He still played with him everyday and treated him just like a real live horse. But he could not tell that to the boy. He did not want him to think that he was a baby. After all, he had already finished two whole years of pre-K and would be in kindergarten this year. “Can I ride him?”, the boy asked. “Sure, if you want to” Travis mumbled. Travis always shared but he did not really want to share Bitsy with the big boy.
“How much is this toy”?, screamed one of the girls as she waved a brilliantly colored, glow-in-the dark, Hoola Hoop in the air. Travis ran over to close the deal. “It works real good but my grandmother gave me a new one that has water in it”., Travis huffed in an out of breath tone. How about a dollar”?, asked Travis. “Okay, it’s a deal”, the girl said. She unzipped her change purse and handed Travis a folded dollar bill. Travis put the dollar into his shorts pocket and ran over to his mom’s table, grabbed a bag, ran back to his table and gave it to the girl.”Thanks, this is for the toy”, he told the girl. “Thanks”, replied the girl, as she stood looking puzzled at the big Hoola Hoop and then at the small bag. “Sorry, we don’t have a bag that’s giant ‘nough”, Travis said. The girl was already busy gyrating her body trying to keep the new toy in motion around her waist. One of the other children bought four half used cans of neon colored Play Dough for a quarter each. “I didn’t use it much. My mom told me that if I add a drop of water to it and squish it around some it will be good as new”, Travis explained. He finished the sale and counted his money. Wow, he had just earned two dollars and the sale had just begun! Travis looked over to where Bitsy was tethered to the lawn chair. The big boy was riding him. Travis wished that he was the one that was riding Bitsy. The big boy grabbed the tether and used it as a whip. “Stop that right now” !, screamed Travis.
Everyone looked in the direction of the scream. Travis ran over and grabbed the tether. “I don’t treat my horse like that. He is a good horse. You have to get off right now”!, demanded Travis. The adults were watching the exchange. The big boy said he was sorry and got off of Bitsy. The boy walked back over to the toy table while Travis stayed behind to make sure that Bitsy wasn’t hurt. He and Bitsy went on all sorts of imaginary journeys. They had been out west on the prairies roping steers, in the Great Smoky Mountains where they saw a bear, and had even visited New York City. Bitsy was a police horse in New York City and Travis was a police officer. Travis wanted to stay and play with his best pal but the children were wanting to buy more of the toys. Travis tethered the horse to the lawn chair and gently patted him on his nose. He whispered into Bitsy’s ear that he would be right back and then returned to his sales table.
Each child wanted to buy a toy. Travis was tired of all of the questions about the prices. He put his hand into his pocket and felt the two dollar bills. He wanted to give mom the money he earned to buy a can of spray paint for Bitsy’s springs. They were getting some rusty spots on them and mom had said they needed to be repainted. Travis wasn’t sure how much the can of paint would cost but he believed that three dollars would cover it. He had to sell just a little more to help Bitsy. He thought to himself, a quick buck and I’m done! One of the boys decided to buy a baseball cap, Bobo paddle, and a wooden flute for a dollar. Travis was happy that he could get the paint now. He did not want his prize horse to rust. They still had a lot of places left to visit. Bitsy and Travis were a team. He stuffed the dollar into his pocket among the other two. The childrens’ parents were ready to leave. They called for them to get into the van. The group ran in unison toward the van, flung open the doors and scrambled back in. All of the riders buckled up their seat belts and the driver pulled out of the driveway. Travis watched as the van drove down the street and out of sight. As soon as he could no longer see the van Travis asked his mom to turn on the outside water spigot. He dragged the water hose over to Bitsy and began to wash the plastic Pinto horse. Mom grabbed the towel that she had used to cover her lawn chair. She gave the towel to Travis to dry the horse. She knew that Bitsy was his very special toy. “Mom, would it be okay if I stop sellin toys and ride Bitsy? I think that he wants me to stay with him ’cause he’s tired of all of the strangers comin here today”. “Sure Travis, that would be fine”, mom said. She leaned down, hugged Travis and then patted Bitsy on his back. Travis smiled and climbed up onto his favorite toy.
It was getting late. They had sold almost every item. Travis’ mom began to pack up the remaining things and take down the tables. When she got to Travis’ sales table she noticed the used band-aid and wondered why it was there. She finished cleaning up the days project and tossed the mystery band-aid into the trash along with the other waste. When everything was done she called to Travis who was still riding Bitsy. “Travis, its time to go in now”. Travis was very, very tired. He was barely able to stay on Bitsy’s back. He had already dozed off several times. Each time that he had nodded off, the bobbing motion of his head had awakened him. Momentarily alert, Travis would automatically pat Bitsy’s mane, grab onto the posts jutting out from the sides of the horse’s head, lean back as far as possible and pretend to use the tether to lasso an imaginary object. He was so tired now though that even his bobbing head did not awaken him. It was a struggle to keep his eyes open at all. Mom stood at the screen door and called for Travis to come in once more. Travis mumbled, “Okay mom, a quick buck and I’m done”. Travis slowly leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Bitsy’s neck in a big hug. “It’s up to you now, boy”, whispered Travis, as he gently laid his head on Bitsy’s mane, and fell to sleep.About Hattie I. Day's Tales I write tales and create new worlds for people of all ages to enjoy. Examples are Historical Romance, Children's Stories, Medical Romance, as well as paranormal novels. All of my excerpts are copywrited.