First published September 2012 at The Danforth Review
It was late Sunday afternoon, and the yard sale had been going on for two consecutive weekends. A man in salmon-colored shorts with pleats and cuffs said, "Is this all that's left? It looks like nothing but stuffed animals."
A woman sitting on a plastic stool said, "There's that," pointing to some kind of exercise machine that consisted of a seat, handlebars, pedals, and a giant front wheel. It had a sign on it that said $20. "And there's a table back there, and all the books that are on it," she said.
The man went to have a look at the table and the books. In the grass next to the table he saw a black rectangular case with two silver clasps and a handle. It looks like a trumpet case he thought to himself. He picked up the case, laid it on the table and opened the lid. Very likely it held a trumpet at one time, but the inserts had been ripped out, and inside the case now was a large pink rubber dildo. He stared at the dildo briefly. It was not wrapped in packaging of any sort, but it looked brand new. He glanced over his shoulder at the woman sitting on the plastic stool. She was not paying attention to him. He closed the lid, fastened the snaps, and carried the case over to where the woman was sitting. "I found this old trumpet," he said, "but there's no price on it. How much?"
"I don't know anything about that," she said. "People just drop things off here all day long. How about, I don't know, five dollars?"
"Sounds fair to me," he said.
The man lived in a quiet neighborhood in a small town. By 10pm the streets around him were usually deserted. Carrying the trumpet case, he left his house by the back door, walked out his driveway in the dark, and turned onto the street. A few houses up and on the other side lived the mayor of the town. In front of the mayor's house was a statue of St. Francis with his arms extended in front of him, palms upward. The shallow recesses of the palms were probably meant to hold bird seed or a small amount of water, so that it would appear that the birds were seeking care and nourishment from the hands of the saint. The small upturned palms were dry and empty. The man placed the pink dildo across St. Francis's palms. The dildo was large and drooped down a bit at both ends.
The man returned home and listened to music until he fell asleep. What he listened to was a CD of short pieces by the English composer Henry Purcell. He listened to O Solitude over and over, for all he really wanted was to be left alone and not bothered by other people.