Do Unto Others #StoryADayMay

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.

Bella fit the bill. She answered my singles ad the day after I placed it on the Future Without Shock users forum.

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


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Do Unto Others #StoryADayMay

  1. Pete Laberge

    May 2, 2017 at 9:51am

    HA HA HA! What an ending! KUDOS! I fell for it!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 2, 2017 at 3:23pm

      Isn’t it, though? As someone once said, “Their stuff is junk, but our junk is stuff.”

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    May 2, 2017 at 3:18pm

    Sweet – I’m still chuckling. Did NOT see that coming. Great indirection.

    As I conspire with my assistant to get rid of 90% of the contents of this house…

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 2, 2017 at 3:27pm

      My mother used to say she wasn’t going to clean out her house; she just wanted to walk away and leave everything. And she did! She relocated with her job and left everything with me (we lived together then). So then *I* had to junk it when I got married. She plans to do it again, when she passes on. Stinker! lol

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Deborah

    May 3, 2017 at 9:13am

    Ha! I didn’t see the end coming out that way at all.

    My daughter is a bit of a hoarder. UGH! I can’t stand it!! Of course if you look at my garage full of stuff you’d think I am one too. I do plan to purge it starting this summer. Really. I mean it this time! 🙂

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 3, 2017 at 10:11am

      LOL! Charlie and I tend that way, too. We’re reading a book about the disorder, called STUFF. He has one sister who’s on the opposite end — she can’t stand to keep anything she isn’t actually using, and she uses very little. She’d probably live in an empty house, if she weren’t married. The rest of us fall somewhere along the hoarding spectrum right up to and including actual disorder status. Me, I’m not a hoarder, I’m just lazy.

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