|Plucking Pigeons (standard:humor, 2548 words)|
|Author: Walt||Added: Apr 17 2012||Views/Reads: 1546/918||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|An old scoudrel meets a young girl who becomes his partner in crime|
Plucking Pigeons I was working in my wood shop behind the house on Saturday morning when a very small, high-pitched voice behind me almost made me jump. The kitchen chairs, table and hutch were in my workshop for some touch up work before I placed them for sale in my store. The items came from Jimmy “the Crowbar” Kelly, a ‘collector' of potential antiques. Jimmy's stuff was sometimes a little warm and it was wise to change the character of the items before displaying them to the public or the prying eyes of the local police. “What are you doing, Mr Jenkins?” she asked. It was that little six-year old girl from down the street. Blonde braids, blue eyes, one front tooth missing. I don't believe in all that angel crap but I guess most people would call her angelic. Maybe a cherub. I should never have stopped to buy lemonade from her last month. I must have been out of my mind – a momentary lapse in judgement. The lemonade was too sweet and I told her so. “You can't make money using all that sugar,” I said. “But I'm not trying to make money, Sir,” she says, “I just wanted people to have a nice cool drink on a hot day. In case they do not have bottled water. I am against bottled water.” Well, I'm against bottled water too. It is a rip-off. City water tastes fine – well, all right, I admit those fools down at the city waterworks put too much chlorine or fluoride or something in the water. Claim it saves your teeth from cavities. Cavities, be damned – if people don't want cavities – brush your teeth like I do. People have to look after themselves – don't expect the government to babysit you. If it is icy on the streets, – stay home – don't be stupid and try to walk on icy sidewalks when you are old and stiff of limb. Serves people right for getting themselves into messes that they can avoid. Anyway, I told the kid to cut down on the sugar or raise her prices. We discussed her margin of profit and I told her she had to make at least 30%. I helped her with the math and marked the lemonade up to 15 cents a glass. I gave her a dime, telling her that I bought it before the price went up and she said that was okay. Her parents should have known better than to set their kid up with a poor business model. Come to that, parents should not put their little kids out on the street to meet strangers. God knows there are any number of perverts and misfits wandering around out there. I stood there talking to Victoria – that's the kid's name – for a good five minutes and there was no sign of a parent watching over their daughter. Turns out the kid was using the money to go to a movie about some barbaric pirate in the Caribbean. Waste of money. The kid should be at home – cutting the grass, doing dishes or something useful. I use my small shop behind my house for repairing and touching up pieces that I sell in my store – Joshua Jenkins Antiques – downtown. Some items simply need a little glue, however occasionally I have to do some woodwork and then ‘age' or ‘antique' the items to make them saleable. Some items need re-colouring. The chair I was working on will likely bring in five or six hundred dollars from some gullible customer looking for a piece of early Americana. I'll sell it as a late Ben Franklin but it was most likely made during the Teddy Roosevelt years. Unless their friends really know furniture, they will be happy to have the conversation piece. I had the legs off the chair and was drilling a very small hole into each leg into which I would insert a fine wooden peg. Once I glued the dowel and tapped the leg back onto the seat, no one would ever see the repair and the chair would be stable – no wobbles, which is how most of my customers buy antique chairs. Victoria asked again, “What are you doing, Mr Jenkins?” “Don't you ever knock?” I asked, turning off my drill. “The door was open.” “That doesn't matter – you should always knock and ask permission to enter. If I was using my saw you might have startled me and I could have cut off a finger.” “Sorry, Mr Jenkins. What are you doing?” Click here to read the rest of this story (225 more lines)
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