Monday, November 19, 2012

EVERYTHING FOR SALE

Day after day, a man sat outside his house beside a large, white sign with bold, deep orange letters. EVERYTHING FOR SALE. His street saw its share of traffic and the home's ornate façade attracted many to stop and have a look.

"Is this a yard sale?" they'd ask. "A garage sale?" Their eyes would search for trinket covered tables to peruse.

Eventually the man would explain to his visitors that he didn't have dolls or tools or knickknacks to sell, that in fact all he had was the house itself.

Some would ask, "Why not list with a realtor? Why the funny sign?" implying that they'd been mislead.

So the man would further explain that the entire house wasn't for sale all at once, but rather any of them could purchase any piece of the house they liked. He'd invite them inside to see every room and every room had its own unique features: cherry wood baseboards and paneling, maple crown molding, solid mahogany doors. He told them that any part of the home they liked could be carefully removed and they could take it with them or have it shipped.

The house was cavernous, so the man expected to live the rest of his years selling it off little by little, spending less than he earned.

Word spread about the man and his house with EVERYTHING FOR SALE, all of the antique wood from which the home had been built. Soon his customers weren't just casual folks who happened to pass by; people came from surrounding towns to shop the man's home.

One morning the man awoke to find his bedroom floor flooded. He easily found the source of the leak: an area of the roof from which he'd sold the old tin shingles. He thought to hire a roofer, but realized his meager savings were only enough for his weekly bread. The realization came to him all at once that all he had left of his once beautiful home was the attractive façade and his own bedroom, now uninhabitable. He walked outside and removed the sign and wondered what went wrong.

10 comments:

  1. Sounds like a retirement plan that went wrong! I don't know there was something so very sad about this. - what he expected and what he got because he didn't think it through were two very different things.

    A lesson perhaps in the devil is in the details eh!

    I read this twice by the way Richard and loved it both times.

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  2. Thank you, Helen! I loved reading that you read it twice, this makes me very happy.

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  3. Liked the notion of him selling off the cavernous place little by little.

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  4. I think the sign should have read "Everything for sale but the roof" :)

    An unusual piece Richard, kind of comical yet sad at the same time.

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    1. Hi, Steve, and thanks for your comment. "Everything for sale but the roof" would've made a lot of sense. If this were a longer story, I might've led up to the selling of the roof with a greater sense of desperation.

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  5. As a fable, I could read a lot more into this. Perhaps he was one of those who spent his life giving of himself to anyone who asked, and in the end became an empty shell and had nothing left for himself.

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    1. Li, I like your interpretation very much, thanks for sharing. When I characterized this piece as a fable in the Friday Flash collector, this is just the sort of feedback I hoped to receive.

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  6. Reminds me of something my father told me, "Don't attempt vast projects with half-vast plans."

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    1. "Half-vast plans," that's fantastic! Thanks, Tim, love this comment.

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