Monday, August 22, 2005
Bear Trap Beatdown Part Two
"Good day miss, my name's Harry Lipscomb. Fine day today, is it not?"
A chubby girl stood in the doorway. She wore a cowboy hat, a Green Bay Packers t-shirt, and dull black beetle eyes.
"Yeah, I guess."
"If you have a moment, I'd like to tell you about this metal detector I hold in my hands. May I?"
"Yeah, I guess. C'mon in."
"Thank you, thank you. What's your name, miss?"
"M'name's Dorothy. Take a chair. Ya wanna a beer?"
"Ahem. No, no thank you. I don't drink until dinnertime. A glass of water would be just the thing for me. If it's no trouble that is."
"Sure, sure. Here ya go. So whatcha tryinna sell me?"
"Yes, well. This fine item here is a metal detector. Not the standup variety you see in airports, but rather, a handheld unit for searching under the very surface of the earth. I've sold hundreds already. It seems people all share a dire need to explore the land for treasure. I must confess I share that need, and have myself discovered all manner of historical artifacts during my travels. If you're the type who likes a stroll through the countryside- and you most certainly appear to, fit gal that you are- then this item is just the thing to accompany you. If you carry the Viking detector and a small spade with you, you can find all kinds of metals. Things like coins from centuries past, time capsules laid below the ground by past generations, and in some cases, copper, silver, and even gold. Truly valuable metals that can start you a mighty fine fortune. It's a dandy device, miss."
"I dunno. You said yer name's Harry?"
"Yes, Harry Lipscomb, at your service."
"Harry, my cousin Cleve got a pickup truck a couple years ago. Put it together hisself from spare parts. He goes 'round to construction sites and lifts all kinds a copper and spool wire in the night. Sells it for scrap. Copper don't go for more than ten cents a pound. A whole damn pound. I ain't never gonna find enough copper with that thing to buy even a pouch a chaw."
"Spittin' tobacco. An there sure ain't no gold 'round here."
"Let me share a story with you, Dorothy. About a year ago I took one of these metal detectors to an old civil war battleground. Chalk Bluff, right here in Arkansas. It wasn't a very large or famous battle, so the ground stands unspoiled by developers, tourists, and the like. It's still an ignored patch of forest on the bank of the St. Francis. I spent an afternoon waving this very Viking over that battleground, and it chirped like a baby bird all afternoon long. I found bullets, shaving razors, belt buckles, and all manner of finely crafted antique metals. Many were buried quite shallow! I stopped after a few hours, but I could've stayed all week long and kept digging and digging. There was so much to be found. When I got home, I cleaned and polished my findings, and made myself some papers stating where I got them. My wife is still selling them at antique shows today. We charge $20 a bullet, and quite a bit more, sometimes hundreds, for the fancier, rare items. Things like lockets and bayonets. So as you see, it's not just the type of metal you find, but it's the shape and age."
"Well I'll be damned. I gotta say that sounds mighty fine. How much fer one a these detectors?"
"That's the best part. The Viking X-550 only costs $49.95. You make back the cost just by selling three bullets! I happen to know that Confederate bullets fetch a nice dollar hereabouts."
"Dang, I haven't got any money. I promise I ain't wastin' yer time, though, mister. All you gotta do is come back here after four o'clock. My daddy is working over at the auto shop now, but he'll be back about then. I cook him dinner, and he never misses it. I'll tell 'im all about this doohickey a yours and 'splain why we oughta have one. He'll spring for it, I got no doubt about it."
"Wonderful, miss, just wonderful! It has been a great pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Harry gently shook Dorothy's hand. Dorothy wrinkled her nose as Harry's minty breath tickled her nose, and then she led him to the front door.
"Mister, how do you keep that white suit clean with all the dust on these roads? You keep the windows up all the time or sumthin'?"
"That and more, Miss Dorothy. A salesmen of fine wares such as mine must be immaculate in presentation and eloquent in oration to truly wax poetic upon the virtues of his commodities."
"I ain't got a clue what you just said, Mister. See ya at four."
"Until then, miss." With that, Harry bowed and tipped his white bowler hat to his prospective customer. After three days without a sale, Harry was hungry to move some units.
More tomorrow. 1:30 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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