Yard Sale

Grisly man at the yard sale thumbing old LPs that’ve seen better days. Some Bakersfield honky-tonk, some Top 40 from ’74-’78, a couple Billy Joel albums. All with grubby fingers and coat from army surplus. Nice lady looks nervously over but man can’t help the shaky fingers. You may be right. I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for. Man pulls some faves: how much? Lady scrutinizes: Oh, gosh, what does it say there, two dollars apiece? Man trawls his pocket, pulls out the dredge, dumping it on the makeshift counter: a wadded receipt, an ashy roach, a skittering of nickels and pennies and quarters. Lady eyes the roach but man pays no mind. She looks left, looks right. Man is no slouch but a gentleman: he counts out the big-time quarters first. Makes two dollars then starts in on the dimes and nickels with the concentration of a longshoreman. His hand slips and knocks coins and the roach to the ground. Look, the lady says, but she doesn’t have anything to say after that. Look, why don’t you. Grisly man bends to pick up the bits and start again. Behind him a young fella gets impatient, asks over his shoulder about the skateboard. Lady leans to address the fella: oh, that’s two dollars. Man’s still counting out change when fella taps him on the shoulder: hey man, mind if I? Man jams around. Enough! Enough already! Do you know who I am? Lady pleads: please, sir, that’s enough. She doesn’t recognize the throaty Arkansas accent. Man wheels back around, clutching the Billy Joel to his chest, clutching the Buck Owens Sings Tommy Collins. I’m Bill Clinton. I’m Bill Clinton. He swipes his claws in a wide warning arc. Fella jumps back. Other browsers stare, frozen with whatever piece of junk they were looking at slack and pointless in their hands. Bill Clinton stomps off down the grassy tree-lined street. Lady counts two eighty-seven and for a moment considers running after the man with his money.

Boy tugs the hem of his dad’s jacket: is that the president? Dad removes his baseball cap and slides it over his chest, gives his son’s shoulder a warm squeeze.