It happened every Sunday, down at the old courthouse. The courthouse was the scene of the last public execution in Canada, so – a good place for a flea market. Sunday was a good choice too. I read somewhere that God rested on Sunday. Probably went to the flea market. He could get a lot of good ideas there.

The usual throng was gathered, looking at people’s stuff. The people looked back at them. The throng looked at the stuff. The stuff just sat there. It was all about looking. I came for a look.

I saw a cluttered table – a real cornucopia of stuff.   Behind it, sat an old man in a walnut swivel chair. He turned and shifted, as if testing the chair. Anxious to make a sale, I thought. I stood before him. He stopped shifting and looked up at me. I looked down at him, then his stuff. He stared at me blankly. I saw an old Soviet soldier’s lapel pin from the early 80’s. A rare find, outside of an old Soviet soldier’s lapel – in the 80’s. I picked it up and looked at it. The old man looked at me. I looked at him. It got started.

“How much is this?” I asked.

“How much do you want for it?”

I paused to think about it.

“I’ll take five dollars?” I said, unsure.

He gave me five dollars and left. I looked down at the empty walnut swivel char. It just sat there.

“How much do you want for the chair?”

Someone was looking at me. I gave them a good look.

I paused to think.

“Fifty bucks?” I said.

He gave me fifty bucks and left. I looked down at the cluttered table missing a chair – and a Soviet lapel pin. A crowd started to gather. They all looked at the cornucopia of stuff. Then they looked at me. I slowly turned and walked away, wondering what the hell just happened – but $55 better off.




“The flea market” by Dimitar Variysky is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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