Yard Sale

Raoul and Endira had searched for years for that one elusive yard sale bargain, a concrete bird bath. Not the tree-trunk-and-chipmunk or spotted-mushroom-and-leprechaun kind, but an elegant, neo-classical objet d'art. And here was a yard chock-a-block with concrete creations.

They had driven past the ramshackle, one-story stucco house hundreds of times over the years, each time lamenting the legions of gnomes, the herds of deer, the flocks of pink flamingoes, the bird baths gathering moss behind a ten-foot-high cyclone fence. One time they boldly stopped to investigate. But after jiggling the padlocked door and peering through the grimy windows, they drove on. Now a yard sale sign enticed.

They pulled into the gravel driveway and stopped just shy of a battered old Pontiac Firebird perched at a jaunty angle before the front porch. Three small ragamuffins, a boy and two girls, knelt beside a tire. The boy pumped a jack.

"We saw your sign," said Endira.

"We want a bird bath," said Raoul.

"Bird bath?" said the younger girl. The older girl snickered. The boy chuckled and gave the jack handle one last thrust. The car teetered.

Raoul threw his weight against the fender. "Get back!" he snapped.

The ragamuffins jumped. Raoul hopped aside. The car toppled from the jack.

"You could've been killed!" cried Endira.

"You shouldn't be changing tires," scolded Raoul.

"My aunt's boyfriend told me to," blubbered the boy. "He said he'd break my neck if I didn't."

A barrel-chested man with a corrugated forehead stomped from the stucco house. A slack-jawed blonde with a black eye clung to his arm. They glowered.

Raoul and Endira edged toward their car.

"Bird bath!" chortled the younger girl, sparking peals of impetuous laughter.