I had trouble getting started today. They won’t all be gems — assuming any of them are.
Do Unto Others
by Marian Allen
They say you can’t be too rich or too thin. “They,” not me.
I like my women like I like my chocolate: strong and full of fat. Rich or poor makes no difference, as long as they’re tough and at least a little hefty.
Single white male seeks female with flexible principles, preferably overweight, for special project.
I can always tell if a woman is right by the first thing she asks about the ad when we meet.
At the restaurant, Bella sat before I could hold her chair for her and said, “Why overweight?”
You could see the word cannibal all over her face, hear it in her voice.
I like ’em smart, too. I explained, and she was in.
You ever heard of the Collyer brothers? Two rich, highly educated guys, who never got rid of anything. Newspapers, tin cans, clothes, printing presses – anything they got hold of, they kept. When they finally died, the cops had to crawl in over the top of stuff packed to within two feet of the ten-foot ceilings.
There’s plenty of people like that. A lot of them are like the Collyer brothers: rich and highly educated. They call them hoarders these days, and they call their houses Collyer houses.
I get wind of one in a wealthy neighborhood, see, with one man (or woman) living alone. I send my big girl to the front door, all dimpled and reassuringly chubby, with something I find cheap at a yard sale – a baby buggy or a blender or something. She says she’s cleaning house and heard they might be interested in this whatever-it-is.
They invite her in and want to know all about the thing: where she got it, what it means to her, how can she possibly want to get rid of it. She gives it to them to look at, and they never give it back. She pretends to change her mind, and they talk and talk, persuading her to stick with her original plan to hand it over, because now, in their minds, it belongs to them, see?
Meanwhile, I’m in through the coal chute or the bathroom window or some other little scriggle-hole I’ve scouted out previously. I’m in coveralls with the state seal on the back, so any neighbor who sees me thinks I’m official. I go in over the top of the stacked newspapers or whatever, kind of stuff-surfing, you might say, looking for treasure.
You’d be amazed.
This time – this time with Bella – the old lady of the house turned out to be an organizer. That makes it easier, in a way, because you find all the jewelry in one place, all the books in another place, and so on, but it isn’t as much fun, and you actually have to find where the good stuff is instead of sometimes coming across a flower in the dust, as it were.
I shifted a bundle of International Short Story magazines and hit the jackpot. Boxes and boxes of jewelry. I had to sift through it all, of course, because emeralds and rubies in sliver and gold settings were mixed in with dime-store junk, but I stuffed my pockets with some excellent takeaway before I heard Bella’s high-pitched, “Ohhhh, goodbye, little picture frame!” (It was an ornate gilded picture frame this time.) “I’ll miss you! Goodbye!”
I surfed back out and met her at the car.
Her eyes twinkled with the fun of it all. “Any luck?”
“No,” I said. “Sometimes it’s like that. You still get paid, though.”
“That doesn’t seem right. You did all the work and took all the risks. All I did was shoot the breeze and drink tea.”
“You did what I asked you to do,” I said. “Fair’s fair.”
We settled on my paying her half of what she’d originally agreed on.
I dropped her off and drove home.
I had to park on the street, because the garage was full.
I let myself in by the back door, threading my way through the tunnel past the sink, stove, and refrigerator, past the clearing where one side of the table and one chair were clear, and through the narrower passage into the back bedroom. As I went, I tucked boxes of jewelry into any spaces large enough to hold one.
Those Collyer types are crazy. I won’t have anything but the best in my house.
I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about a mozzarella salad I made this weekend.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: Raid, rich or poor, thin, Golden Rule