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Plucking Pigeons (standard:humor, 2548 words)
Author: WaltAdded: Apr 17 2012Views/Reads: 1583/938Story 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 

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?” 

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