Little Germ

Beginning my class at UCLA tomorrow – no longer a short story course (which was sadly canceled last week), but instead a flash fiction course. I figure it will help me tighten up my writing – plus, nothing over 1500 words really fits into my lifestyle these days. I couldn’t help but start a little something the night before, to get the juices flowing. Let’s see where it goes…


Cara rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand and stepped into the driveway. It was still dark and the early crowd was still hours away. The previous day’s heat rose from the concrete and made it feel like dusk as she tied a kerchief on her head and got to work. She unfolded dusty card tables and collapsible lawn chairs, laid out blankets on every inch of green lawn, and reviewed a small notebook full of descriptions and prices. The entire right half of the two-car garage was stacked with lidded cardboard boxes, and using a stepladder she pulled each one down, inspected it, and spread out its contents.

It was the standard estate sale fare for a man of a certain age and disposition – gold plated ashtrays and vases, black lacquer-framed Japanese prints, faded silk flowers, ceramic angels grasping their hands and looking to the sky, delicate crystal champagne glasses – not flutes, but the kind seen in hotel ballrooms in the 1920s. She struggled under larger items, particularly a brass bar cart with etched-glass shelves that no longer rolled but had a pathetic limp that required her to carry it. Cara consulted the list again and again, confirming prices and writing down the absolute lowest she’d go if the early birds wanted to haggle.

After two hours the entire house sat in the front yard, save for the bed and a few other pieces that could be viewed upon request. Cara eyed the final item in the garage, a stylish mid-century armchair that had been recovered in a graying mauve. It was by far the most expensive item in the house, and would fetch more at an estate auction than at a Saturday yard sale.


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