My mom, who is also a nearby neighbor, told me today that she would consider having a yard sale except she wouldn’t want to deal with the characters she would have to deal with in this ‘exciting’ part of town where we live. I nodded my head in total agreement and told her about the last time I had a garage sale in this part of town.
It was the day before Hurricane Bonnie blew in. That’s been over 20 years ago. Two friends and I had the sale together at one of the friend’s house. We had been open for a while when this man came walking up the driveway. When I looked at him the first thing I thought was, “That man is a pimp.” Then I thought to myself that I’d been watching too much Hill Street Blues.
“But look at him,” I thought. “He’s wearing slacks, a long sleeved dress shirt on a hot summer day, and a vest, and a pimp hat.” He also had a pager and nobody back then had a pager. As I argued with myself about this man’s occupation, I watched him browsing our tables. That’s when I noticed a gap in his vest and a shoulder holster underneath. “Oh, yeah. He’s a pimp alright!” I thought. Then I started to have a little argument with myself about him maybe being a cop but it just didn’t seem possible.
One of my friends had a sleeper sofa for sale and he asked her about it. He said he was interested and he would be back. When he came back, he was not alone. He brought a lady. You know. A ‘lady’. This is when it got really bizarre. The friend who had the sleeper sofa for sale, the pimp, the ‘lady’ and I all sat down for a little chat. It was just chit chat and all I remember is him asking if the sleeper part of the sofa was comfortable and my friend smiling a big ‘ol gonna’-get-myself-some-money-for-this-couch smile and telling him, “Yes, it’s very comfortable.”
The ‘lady’ and I looked at each other several times during this conversation and besides her looking miserable and bored, she also looked at me like she wondered what planet she was on. This was all not exactly in a day’s work for her and she and I both knew my friend had NO CLUE what was going on. This pimp didn’t just want a couch; he was recruiting in a fishing sort of way. He ended up paying for the sofa and said he would be back when we closed to get it.
Silly me panicked a bit. He was coming back at closing time – when all the money would be there that was going to be – AND he had a gun! I told my friend to hide her money so she put it in her underwear drawer. Now how many of us think a pimp is going to rob a garage sale and say, “Look lady. Hand over the money. I know you put it in your underwear drawer.”?
At closing time he came back and my husband was there to help load the couch. After he left my husband said, “That man is a pimp.”
I said, “How do YOU know?!”
He told me that his helper at work liked to eat lunch at a certain, uh, interesting restaurant here in town. They saw that man at the restaurant and his helper told him he was a pimp. How did the helper know? He, uh, did business with the pimp.
My mom is not going to have a yard sale in this ‘exciting’ neighborhood.