Garage sale

Published April 12, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

 José Abeto  Zaide
José Abeto Zaide

By José Abeto Zaide


It was Friday the 13th, with his Pinay wife Elsida back home in PH preparing for their balikbayan re-entry, when my deep throat source George Thomas Clark fast-forwarded his Walter Mitty plans for this Saturday:


GTC aka Tom reminds himself: This is going to be the greatest garage sale ever. I’ve advertised in the newspaper and posted pictures on social media and taped flyers throughout the neighborhood and told some neighbors and friends to come over this beautiful Saturday spring morning starting at seven. I open the garage door a half hour early and several people are already standing in front and waiting in cars. I’ve got six coffee tables full of merchandise in front and many items on the concrete floor behind me. People converge on the collectibles and soon start buying masks I acquired long ago in Africa and Latin America.

“How much is this one?” asks a young man.

“I paid forty but will take twenty.”

“How about fifteen?”

“Okay, fifteen, or a package deal of forty bucks for that one and these two? They go together.”

“All right.”

I’ve also got some wonderful hand-painted plates and cups and other delicate items too pretty and breakable to use and always in the way. When my wife returns from visiting relatives, I know she’ll love new space created by sales that more than pay for her trip.

“Five bucks apiece for these cups,” I say.

“I’ll give you twenty for five,” says a lady.


I sell a few more plates and cups, and some crystal wine glasses we never use since we quit drinking alcohol but my wife thinks look beautiful through glass panes of the china cabinet. By eight a.m. I ask the lady next door, who’s browsing, to be my cashier in the garage for a few minutes, and take a man inside where he pays seventy-five dollars for the rest of the china and fifty for the remaining wine glasses.

“I notice you’ve got a pickup truck,” I say. “How about two hundred for the china cabinet?”

“One seventy-five.”

“You got it!”


“I bet I’ve sold fifty dollars of knick-knacks,” says my neighbor.

“Keep it up. You’re the cashier.”

I see a man examining rakes, shovels, brooms, hammers, crowbars, and other tools hanging on a wall, and say, “Excuse me, sir. Those aren’t for sale.”

“You’ve got two or three of everything.”

He’s right, and that’s the point. “Pick out what you want, just leave me one of all the key stuff.”

In fifteen minutes I’ve sold almost two hundred dollars of tools including the lawn mower we don’t need because we’ve got a gardener.

A young family arrives and asks if we’ve got any clothes.

“Sorry, not for kids. Ours are grown. But we’ve got some nice men’s and women’s apparel inside.” Look at that damn walk-in closet. I thought it was supposed to be spacious. I can’t even see what I’ve got. My wife claims she knows where all her garments are. I don’t believe it.

“Pick out what you want,” I say “We’ll work out a price.”

They start examining clothes and laying what they like on the bed. I run outside. “Anyone else need some clothes?!”

A young lady smiles and says, “Sí!”

“Come on!”

Within an hour I’ve run ten or so people through that closet and sold about half our clothes and shoes, leaving us still more than we need.

“Do you have any jewelry?” asks the last woman.

I say, “Oh, yeah, but it ain’t cheap,” and open the large second drawer down the dresser. “Here it is.”

She’s evidently a lady of means and experience, examining many glistening pieces and saying, “This one’s gold, this isn’t. These are diamonds, these aren’t,” and making other complex assessments I have no interest in. She buys a handful of stuff for a few hundred bucks, and I hurry outside and shout, “Jewelry sale inside.”

Three women follow me in. In a flurry, several others arrive, and soon about two-thirds of my wife’s jewelry been transformed into wads in my wallet and both front pockets.

From her purse a young lady whips out a massive cell phone, or maybe it’s a tablet, and snaps photos of the rest. “I’m sending these photos to some friends.”

“Sorry, but my wife would kill me if I sold any more.”

“What’s Elsida going to say, Tom?” asks my cashier.

“Don’t know. I’m headin’ to Europe for a month.”


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