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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Al, His Jar, and Me - 1. Chapter 1

Al, His Jar and Me
 
 
 
My old truck was a heap. Like a good man, age only intensified the joy and contentment that old truck could arouse. It had belonged to my father first. It ran great, I saw to that. Had new tires and was clean. Red all over it was… faded a bit (a lot) with a few dents and scratches (more than a few). A lot of chrome, the old fashioned way. It was my friend steadfast and true. Family kind of. With the windows rolled down and with my elbow sticking out in the breeze, I was getting out and away for the day. I was in the zone with the radio playing and with a bittersweet smile I felt like everything was going to be okay. Again.
 
At my age I had routines and habits. Structure. I was somewhat settled in life. Some success and some setbacks. But, life always seemed to have other ideas than the ones I had. Made life interesting… ? Sometimes I felt it was a tug of war. Sometimes…
 
Just sometimes, what I needed was a road trip to the Flea Market. Go ahead and laugh. That’s what I need. Right now today.
 
A perfect spring day. The kind of day where every little thing was special. Where every moment counted. Even traffic and crowds of people seemed to move in harmony. Yeah, I felt better today.
 
A super flea market had been a “Happening” at this former drive in movie lot on the interstate for the last forty years. It had everything. From trash to high end stuff. You could look at second hand tractors for sale or wedding rings. You could get fake designer clothes or vintage Chanel. Never mind why I know that fact. Some of the established long time dealers were famous local characters. At the moment I was interested in unusual furnishings and architectural antiques. Maybe, because at the flea market it is best to go with the flow. To see what is there, not what you want to see there.
 
“How much?” I simply hate (maybe not) having to ask ‘how much?’ something is at the flea markets. But I guess it is part of the haggle. The bargaining. Why can’t they simply put a starting price on things. Then you know where to start or whether to walk away or run away. I know these guys like (want) to “deal”… but really, I always feel like they start out squeezing me.
 
“One thousand. Cash or credit card with ID. No checks.” The woman said. She looked like someone’s sweet little grandma who moonlighted as a bouncer.
 
Sitting on the asphalt was something like a… well an urn. It didn’t look classical in design, flowing with simple lines and form, it looked bold and exotic. Like something I had never encountered. Could it be an original piece, an architectural ornament maybe. The surface was all black and crusty that gave it a look of age or harsh weathering. I thought it fit what I was looking for and was something I could use. I was irresistibly drawn to it. It definitely caught my eye and my eye found it intriguing and timeless the way only something of value and quality could.
 
But, dang! That price had me back to reality. Every thing in this booth seemed so over priced, or I think it is when I am interested in buying it. Maybe there are other hidden treasures lying all around here but I just didn’t see them much. However, I really liked this big vase thing. Okay I wanted the damn thing. What was it made of? Was it ceramic or pottery or maybe glass? Stone? Metal? I’m not sure what it is made of. Hard to tell with it being so dirty. I liked that it was big and different looking. Kind of dramatic even. Okay, I was gushing over it on the inside… it was beautiful. I thought. To me. I wondered if it would clean up well. There was a sign saying do not touch stuck to it so I was hesitant to try and rub some of the dust and crud off it. Nobody else seemed to be giving it a second glance or even a first glance. The dealer had walked off to attend to all the other people who wanted to know what things cost. I didn’t think this was a particularly efficient way to sell junk at all. Sorry, priceless hidden treasures. A thousand bucks was a no way deal for me though. Even if I could talk the price down to 300 it would be a waste of time right now. And I have to be practical, I can’t throw money around. I just can’t. Even though I still want it. I know where I would sit it too. It would be perfect in the niche I had them build into the walk-in shower. I spent all my money on my dream house already. I worked on the design over the years and saved my money for even more years and now it was almost finished. Course I had to face reality a lot in the process and had to compromise and change things but the basic design held and I had a house that was mine. Thanks to my new friend and architect/contractor. And thanks to plain dumb luck to I guess.
 
I had only purchased a few furnishings as yet, cause… well, money was tight at the moment after making the final payment. It might be tight for a while. I was forty now. When you make your living with your face and body, 40 can be the end, unless you got something extra that people want for the sake of their agendas and fantasies. But today was my time, not work time. I was going to furnish my place slowly and only with things I found and felt a passion for. The same way I designed the house.
 
I looked at the object of my discontent again and shrugged knowing I would regret not getting it and later kick myself but a man has to have some self control over these things. I walked on down the aisle.
 
I spent the next few hours forgetting about my lost prize or trying to and tried to get that flea market buzz back. I love going to them. As much as I complain about them it’s like going to the fair or a parade or a circus. I did find another prize near the end of the day. I ended up buying a horse. Not something I would normally think of getting. I saw it on a shelf with about a hundred other horses and suddenly in a flash of memory I was a kid again holding my mother’s hand. She was telling me to stay close to her and no matter what I was not to touch anything. Aunt Pink didn’t like children running around in her house. I don’t know why mama was there to see Aunt Pink and never got to know either. This was the one and only time we ever went. I was led down the long hallway to the back door. Mama opened the door to a big back porch that was simply covered in wood shavings. I thought maybe they were tiny leaves or something, actually I had no clue.
 
“Hello Uncle Jay, I need a few words with Aunt Pink. Can my boy wait out here with you. I’m really sorry to intrude but I …
 
“Hush Ruby. Of course the boy can stay and visit with me. Don’t you fret any more. Go see Pink. Leave the boy with me.”
 
How old was I then? Three. Four. Uncle Jay looked just like Santa Claus. Except he was wearing blue. Blue overalls. A big straw hat. And a leather apron. He was sitting at a large work blench. He had a block of wood in his hands. Well that is not quite right. He had a block of wood that had a horse coming out of it. He also had a knife… a pocket knife like Daddy‘s. “Have a seat over on the blench there and sit a spell. I got to get this job done here. So you just watch me and learn something about work.” Uncle Jay smiled and began to carve away at the wood. Little shavings flicking up and flying to the floor. He whittled.
 
I carefully picked the wooden carving up from the dozens of other horses on the dealer’s shelf and turned it over and saw there the initials JR carved into circle. “How much?” I had to ask yet again. It didn’t matter this time what the dealer would say, I knew I was going to take this horse home with me.
 
I was very happy, content with my find and the memories it held, on my walk back toward my truck. I had forgotten all about the vase-like urn-thing… whatchamacallit. I told myself. That is until I saw it again. The dealer was packing up, a different dealer actually. This one a man with a sour look about him. I stopped and once again became enchanted or maybe bamboozled with the big bowl like object with a lid and four feet. I stopped and gave it a farewell. No point in cataloguing it’s many virtues again in my eye. Adios you big old flower pot.
 
“I see you want this?” The man questioned waving his hand at me and the pot. I didn’t realized he had noticed me and was now standing next to me.
 
“Yes. Well, I like it, it’s just too expensive.”
 
“Then this is your lucky day. I’m fucking tired of hauling the fucking thing around all the fucking time for my wife. I’m going to sell it right now or dump it in the dumpster over there. Nobody likes it. And I don’t think anybody is going to buy the ugly thing anyway because some idiot filled it up with concrete.” He lifted the lid and sure enough the thing was full of what kind of looked like concrete. “It weighs a bloody ton and a half. Give me a hundred, that is only twice what my wife paid for the thing a year ago and it is all yours. I’ll even help you load the thing. I hope you got a truck.”
 
Yep. I bought it. So I couldn’t put anything inside it because of the concrete, no big deal. It was beautiful on the outside and rock hard on the inside. Kind of the way I was… or was going to be from now on.
 
“You’re kidding?”
 
“Nope, I dropped this thing the first time I tried to move it. The wife had a hissie fit. She couldn’t find a crack or a scratch though, just a little dirt fell off. So now I just round the thing around to move it. We can round it over to your truck and up my loading ramp. But you got to tie it down secure. You don’t want this thing bouncing around loose, it could cause a lot of problems doing that.”
 
I was hesitant to move my purchase this way but he convinced me by adding, “Look, if the thing breaks while we are loading it I will give you your money back. Honestly this is the easiest way to move it. What ever this is made of it is tough. Ugly as all crap but tough.” Why he though it was ugly was a mystery to me. But he was right. Rounding worked. It was like a block of lead. I do think my truck groaned a little from the weight of it and I strapped the base secure with every elastic cargo tie I had. I put the lid in the cab. Time to go home. My day of adventure over. I found two treasures.
 
I was maybe over doing the happy on the way home. Why did this one activity always ease my soul.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6/25/14
 
But written in 2013 sometime.
 
Copyright © 2015 Foster; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

I love allegory. The message here is a personal one for 'me,' and we only ever partially invited to seek it out, but that does not mean it is not there.

 

On a shallow level, I would like to know how it looks in the niche of the shower. At least there, all the exterior dirt will be washed away, and that surface – that surface like a man – which gets better with age will be wet and glossy and new-looking. Yes, I bet it's beautiful in the specially-built home of 'me's psyche.

 

The home as dream notion of as the symbol of the self seems pertinent here. And perhaps that is why it reminds me of another very allegorical story indeed. This one:

 

http://www.online-literature.com/melville/160/

 

Al, His Jar, and Me is a fine story, Foster, and I hope you know that. Please write and post more.

 

AND, the line "She looked like someone’s sweet little grandma who moonlighted as a bouncer" is wonderful. Love it, and maybe this is the way Aunt Pink looked too.

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On 07/28/2014 10:03 AM, AC Benus said:
I love allegory. The message here is a personal one for 'me,' and we only ever partially invited to seek it out, but that does not mean it is not there.

 

On a shallow level, I would like to know how it looks in the niche of the shower. At least there, all the exterior dirt will be washed away, and that surface – that surface like a man – which gets better with age will be wet and glossy and new-looking. Yes, I bet it's beautiful in the specially-built home of 'me's psyche.

 

The home as dream notion of as the symbol of the self seems pertinent here. And perhaps that is why it reminds me of another very allegorical story indeed. This one:

 

http://www.online-literature.com/melville/160/

 

Al, His Jar, and Me is a fine story, Foster, and I hope you know that. Please write and post more.

 

AND, the line "She looked like someone’s sweet little grandma who moonlighted as a bouncer" is wonderful. Love it, and maybe this is the way Aunt Pink looked too.

There is a chapter two, I was too embarrassed to post, where I frolic deeper into my private goofyland. I'm not capable of the creation of the likes of a Melville chimney. But I thank you for kindly writing a review.
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