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419389_3348428747052_521140782_nMy mother and I drove up and down the alley-ways to look for hidden treasures, thrown out by the unappreciative. We were scavengers and we made a living off other people’s junk. At least they saw it as junk. I was quite handy at fixing broken furniture and restoring it. My mother would re-upholster old couches and chairs, and then what we spent next to nothing to fix, we could sell at a very generous mark up. We had managed to survive doing this for years. Going down the alley off of Chester Blvd where the residents were, a little wealthier than middle class, proved to be a good move. Today was no exception.
We pulled up behind a large white home gated by a wooden fence to keep out intruders that had some interesting and unique children’s bedroom furniture laying by the dumpster. I got out of the truck to inspect the contents of our find. The canopied bunk bed top was gorgeous and would fetch a good amount, or so I thought. It seemed that there was some pretty extensive damage to the frame work from the bad storm we had the night previous. Even now in the early morning hours the sky was still dark, but business doesn’t wait. Being pretty sure of myself I still began to haul the merchandise into the truck when I heard a rattling at the gate. I stopped in my tracks, though technically I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
The gate swung open and standing before me was a very skinny blond woman. “What are you doing with my stuff?” I sat down the bed and took off my glove to introduce myself. “My name is Nina, ma’am. My mother and I restore furniture. We had assumed since it was by the dumpster that it was trash.” I noticed that her eyes were red and puffy, not from crying, but more so like she was on something. She frowned at me and proceeded to tell me that they were actually items from a yard sale she had yesterday. “I have some more stuff inside if you are interested.” I looked at my mother and she nodded the ok to go ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I am an adult but this is her gig. I’m just along for the ride, she calls the shots.
I went into the gate following the blond in the silk blouse, A-line skirt, and house slippers. She led me into a large area under her patio that had several items, but I did not initially see anything of interest. Immediately my eyes were drawn to, what appeared to be, an antique curio cabinet. As I headed toward it to inspect it, my black flat fell off of my foot. I heard a quick shuffle of a foot and when I looked behind me the shoe was gone. I saw a box of shoes with several black shoes, none of which resembled mine. The anger rose in me as I heard the blond cackling. “Where is my shoe?” I demanded. She continued to cackle and finally said, in between her annoying snorts of laughter, “I can sell you a new shoe.”
I of course did not find this crack head hysterical and was quite annoyed. “WHERE IS IT?” I screamed at her, again. Apparently she had not taken my threatening tone seriously. With a flash of my tattooed arm I grabbed her by the neck. Her eyes bulging in my direction showed fear, but yet I still had not received an answer to my question that I liked. She simply replied, “Hide and seek.” I released her and the cackling laughter began again. This was ridiculous. I had no idea if my mother had even realized that I had been gone so long. Finally a flash of my black flat caught the corner of my eye. It was sticking out from underneath a table that was housing several boxes.
I bent down to grab it and the bitch hit me on the back of the head with something hard. It completely caught me off guard and I fell to the ground. It seemed everything was spinning and I could feel here trying to dig through my pockets. “Damn crack heads,” I moaned. After I got a hold of the situation I turned and punched her. Down to the ground she went. I bent over her and grabbed her up by her pretty silk blouse, now soiled from the dirty ground. “Perhaps you didn’t take me seriously initially. Look, you piece of shit, get yourself into rehab or something. Next time I won’t be so nice.” She groaned and passed out, her bloodshot eyes closed tight and her dried lips parted. She was knocked out cold for the time being.
I loaded up the crap from the alley and had my mom help me with the curio cabinet. I figured I deserved it after that episode. “What happened to her?” My mother questioned. “She pissed me off. It doesn’t matter now anyway, I took care of it. Thanks for your help by the way.” “Your welcome,” she said with a smart ass smile on her face. I just shook my head at her in response. “I really need a new fucking job.”

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