One-Liner Wednesday, StoryADay May: Mainly It Were So

This post is part of StoryADay May ( #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory #OneLinerWednesday

This is something my grandfather used to say if a story didn’t exactly line up with the details.

Mainly It Were So

George prided himself on his honesty. Not to the point that he would tell you when the tie you were already wearing at the funeral was too loud, but to a point.

When Edgar came to him with a business scheme, George felt compelled to tell him it was a bad idea.

“No, it ain’t, buddy,” Edgar said. “It’s a good idear. It can’t miss. And it ain’t dishonest, so there’s that.”

Edgar wanted to offer to partner with the three funeral homes in town and offer his and George’s services to sort out the dearly departed’s stuff. For a reasonable fee.

“And anything they want to throw away or give away is ours, free and clear,” he said. “We can sell it online or open a booth at a flea market or something.”

“That seems kinda cold,” George said.

“No such thing! It ain’t our dearly departed. And it would be stuff the client was getting rid of, anyway, see? They’d be keeping the sentimental or really valuable stuff.”

Well, that made sense, so George agreed. He was single and recently retired and hadn’t taken time while he was working to develop any hobbies and hadn’t yet figured out if he wanted to volunteer somewhere or go in for gardening or gourmet cooking or go to seed in front of the television or what. Being an entrepreneur hadn’t occurred to him, so Edgar’s plan actually appealed to him.

To George’s surprise, all three of the funeral directors agreed that it was a good idea, and promised to pass the brochure Edgar had had printed up along to the bereaved.

The first call came two weeks later and they kept coming, on an average of three a month.

It was hard work, physically and emotionally. Sometimes they were asked to come back another time, because the bereaved wasn’t as ready as they thought they were. Sometimes the “bereaved” was a distant relative or a law firm or whatever, and Edgar and George were ordered to take everything away.

Before they knew it, they were knee-deep in discarded belongings. George’s garage and shed were full, since Edgar’s wife objected to “dead people’s things” being in or around her house.

Edgar had been true to his plan and had sold some things online and some things through various flea markets and, between that income and their fees, they were turning a profit. Not get-rich-quick profit, but a profit. Still, stuff was mounting up. George had talked Edgar into donating a couple of pick-up trucks of good stuff to local thrift stores and clothes pantries, but he was still running out of room.

“I tell you what,” Edgar said. “Let’s have a yard sale.”

“In my yard?”

“O’ course in your yard! I couldn’t have it in my yard, could I? I can’t even have this stuff in my garage, let alone out in front of the house.”

George agreed that made sense, so he painted up a few YARD SALE signs with directional arrows and waited for a nice day, and he and Edgar carried a yardful of boxes out to the front lawn. They slit the boxes open and laid the contents out on the spread cardboard.

“We gotta price these,” Edgar said. “That’ll take three days.”

“Pay what you want to,” George said. “Some people’ll stiff us, and some people’ll give a fair amount, but some people’ll pay more than we would have asked. And I won’t have to kill nobody for trying to haggle fifty cents down to a quarter.”

“Gotcha, buddy,” said Edgar, and wrote PAY WHAT YOU WANT on the sign in the yard.

Business was brisk, and money piled up in twenties, tens, fives, singles, and change. One of their items was an empty tackle box, and George had commandeered it as a money box.

“What we gonna catch with that tackle?” Edgar asked every third time he came around from making sure nobody stole any of the stuff he and George didn’t want.

George gave him a different answer every time which, he came to realize, was encouraging him to keep asking.

It was early in the afternoon when two men pulled up in a gray car that was so nondescript it was almost invisible. The men who got out wore jeans, t-shirts without anything printed on them, and ball caps without logos.

As more people came bargain hunting, the unmemorable two joined the other people strolling up and through the lanes of stuff. They stopped by a display of leather satchels. They squatted down and examined one, turning it over, reaching inside, and nodding to each other.

One of them carried it toward the car and the other one gave George a five dollar bill.

Two shoppers came up behind him, and two went up behind the man carrying the bag.

The men were put in handcuffs. One of the “shopper” cops tore open the bottom of the bag and showed the cop next to her what was inside. The cops read the men their rights and led them away to the cop cars parked maybe around the corner.

Another two cops took George’s and Edgar’s statements while shoppers grabbed whatever was handy and came up to pay, hoping to hear something juicy, maybe hoping to carry off some kind of swag right under the cops’ noses.

George and Edgar never did know exactly what that was all about, but they were more than happy with all the stuff that had been bought that day and how much money they’d made.

One of the things they spent it on was dinner at a medium-nice restaurant, where Edgar regaled their server with the story of how they had worked closely with the police to catch a couple of bad guys.

The server raised a skeptical eyebrow and looked to George for confirmation or refutation.

George couldn’t throw his buddy under the bus, but he couldn’t flat-out lie.

“Well,” said George, “mainly it were so.”

MY PROMPT TODAY: My grandpa’s saying



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 “One-Liner Wednesday, StoryADay May: Mainly It Were So

  1. Dan Antion

    May 22, 2024 at 11:16am

    That’s a pretty good saying. Grandpa had a way with words. I’ve had precisely one tag sale in my life, and it was such a bad experience, I told my wife I’d never have another.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 23, 2024 at 7:51am

      OH, I’ve never worked a tag sale without wishing I had a shiv and a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Pay What You Want is much easier on my self-control, though not for my soul. I’m not tempted to kill, but I’m also not above planning warm places in hell for people who pay radically less than an object is obviously worth. Then my better angel notes that maybe they can’t afford more, but they really need the object and I didn’t want it anyway. It’s just too stressful.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
      • Dan Antion

        May 23, 2024 at 8:50am

        Ours ended in yelling and screaming and then with me giving everything to a needy neighbor.

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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