Flea Market by Raymond Hopkins

We had a day out last Saturday.  Well, when I say a day out, I mean we spent a lot of time going from one flea market to another.  There are plenty of them in this town, let me tell you.  Don’t get me wrong, I like flea markets, but then I don’t mind where I am just as long as it’s with Sandra.  Not that she asked me to come along, just took it for granted really, but it doesn’t matter since she always thinks I shouldn’t be let out on my own.

Anyway, there we were in what is probably the biggest flea market in the area, and wandering slowly around the four hundred or so little stalls, looking to see what was on offer.  There’s some really interesting stuff there, if you take your time to search properly, and time was what we had plenty of, Sandra having a few days off work on account of her not taking all her holiday last year, and she has to take it now or lose it, if you understand what I mean.  As for myself, I’m sort of self employed on the building sites, and get good money, so I can afford to have a little holiday whenever I feel like it, which happens every few weeks or so.

Here, said Sandra, what do you think of this, Dumdum?  She always calls me Dumdum, at least when she doesn’t call me by another word, but which has the same meaning.  If anybody else said that to me, they’d be crawling around the gutter looking for enough teeth to make up a full set, but Sandra says I should learn to control my temper and act like a gentleman, which is what I try to do.  At least I always hold the car door for her when she gets in, though Sandra reckons that’s only because I’m hoping for a flash of her leg, which happens to be true, especially when she makes a point of wearing short skirts and getting in the car very slowly.  I don’t suppose I need to paint you a picture.  Anyway, I don’t mind when Sandra calls me names that I don’t take from anybody except her.   Sandra’s special, and it’s a sort of compliment when she says it.

Well, naturally I looked at what she was holding.  This is still in the flea market, in case you got lost.  She was showing me a piece of white plastic that was shaped like a human foot, only not quite the right shape.  Distorted, Sandra calls it, but then she’s clever and has had an education.  There were a couple of holes where the heel would be, so you could screw it into the wall or somewhere like that, and the toes – six of them, which looked a bit odd, but who am I to judge, since I don’t go around checking how many toes everybody has – were spread out in a way which brought tears to my eyes just looking at them.

What is it, I asked Sandra?  It’s a tea towel holder, she explained.  Look, you put loops on your tea towels and fasten them over the toes.  Well, we stood looking at it for a bit, wondering if it would make a good back scratcher, though we have other ways of doing that than using a bit of white plastic in the shape of a foot.   Sandra wondered what sort of a person could even think that that was something the world really, really needed.

Of course, you see a lot of that sort of thing in a flea market.  Like angels with stupid grins on their faces, probably embarrassed at having to wear their nighties in public.  Then there are home made clay things that are supposed to be something, but which never really are, and are usually painted as though the artist was some three year old with no taste at all and not a great deal in the eyesight department.  Not that I can do any better, colouring in a picture without going too much over the lines being my limit, but then I have enough sense not to offer it for sale in a public place.  Should I mention the cigarette stubbers?  All right, I will.  There was this little metal thing on one stall, round and just big enough to fit in the palm of your hand.  It had four small tubes on the surface, each about as deep as the thickness as Sandra’s little finger, which really makes them small.  You were meant to stub out your ciggie in one of these little tubes, but I could see at a glance that your average ciggie is bigger than the tube it was meant to fit, so there didn’t seem to be much sense in it at all.  Besides, what idiot is going to carry one of those around, when nobody’s allowed to smoke indoors nowadays anyway?

Honestly, there’s all sorts of rubbish like that, and most of it damaged in some way.  Broken books, broken locks, broken toys, broken mugs and plates.  Broken dreams, more like.

Sandra gave me one of her funny looks when I said that, and commented that either it was the most stupid thing it was possible to say, or else it was so wise it would take a whole generation of philosophers to work out what I really meant.  I didn’t understand what she was talking about, but she looked pleased, and held my arm round several aisles after that, which is a thing I always like, even if Sandra does claim she’s only trying to keep my wandering hands under control, although I happen to know she would be the first to complain if they were.

It was then we caught sight of something a bit unusual even for a flea market.  At least, I caught sight of it, and I’m pretty sure Sandra did as well, but she is a lady and often pretends she doesn’t see, or hear, certain things, and pole dancing kits certainly come into that category.  The writing on the side of the box said “Mit Erotisches Garter”, which is another thing I didn’t understand, not having been taught French at school.  I asked Sandra about it, because she is bright, and knows all sorts of things, but she just went pink and said she hadn’t been taught French either.  I copied it down on the back of a fag packet in case I ever found anyone who might know, although it wasn’t so difficult to guess when looking at the picture on the front of the box.  I’m good at reading pictures, so that was all right.

Anyway, Sandra said she’d give me pole dancing when we got home again, so that is something to look forward to.

Raymond Hopkins

Banner Image: Pixabay.com

3 thoughts on “Flea Market by Raymond Hopkins

  1. I loved this story as much as I love going to a flea market, which is one of the highest occupations on my fun-to-do scale. Looking at myself this cold, rainy morning, I see that my cotton shirt, my robe, my woolen sweater and hat, my scarf, and my fuzzy slippers all come from the thrift store I visit every Tuesday afternoon. And that’s just on my body. You should see the rest of my house! Cheers, Raymond!


  2. Hi Raymond,

    A story that painted a very clear picture and made us all smell musk!
    Your description is spot-on and there is a lot of feeling within your words

    All the very best my friend.


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