I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hi! My Name is Pearl! or Might I Interest You in Our Truck-Stop Line of Dishes?


Today’s episode is Part II of III, Part I being yesterday's post.  

Go ahead.  Go read it.  We’ll wait.


My dad and I stare down at the clean piles of dishes.

“Once a mold-covered threat to health,” he says, smiling, “now gleaming stacks of salable goods.”  He takes a drag from his cigarette.  “How much you thinking of asking?”

I look at him, surprised.  “You don’t want a cut?”

“I want my $4.50 back,” he says, smiling, ashing carefully, away from the crockery.  “This is all you, though.  You give me $4.50 back and we’ll consider these babies yours.  Anything you make, you keep.”

Think and Grow Rich, my dad likes to say, and already I’m thinking and growing rich.  Why, I’ll just load these in the big yellow cart that my brother uses for his Sunday route…

That night, after dinner, and after my father’s interference regarding whose night it was to dry the dishes (mine), I set out with a cartload of sparkly, genuine truck-stop plates, cups, and saucers.

It is small-time stuff, really, and these are the words I repeat to myself as I pull the cart.  “The cartload of dishes?” I say, grinning into an imaginary microphone. “Oh, that was small-time stuff, really.  But the sale of those dishes?  That's how I made my first million – and that’s the hardest million, you know.  The first.”

Surprisingly, the first trailer isn’t interested in used dishes.

Nor is the second or the third.

My dad's words ring in my ears: There are nine "no's" for every "yes", Pearl.  Selling is no time to get sensitive.

At the fourth, I sell four plates for a quarter apiece.  I stuff the dollar bill into my pants pocket and smile.  I am a dollar closer to being debt-free.

It is at the fifth trailer that the clouds part and the setting sun sprays me with prisms of pearly, truck-stop potential.

The One Percent.

The One Percent live one lot down from us.  They aren’t our neighbors – they are our neighbors’ neighbors; and while there are three people and one dog living there, you'd never know it by the traffic they generate. 

The One Percent are not subscribers to Better Homes and Gardens.  The aluminum steps that lead to the front door wobble in a drunken manner when climbed; and the screen door is missing both its screen and the spring that will keep it from being grabbed by the wind and slammed against the side of the trailer.  The trailer itself is rust-streaked, giving a world-weary impression.  I stare at it, let my eyes un-focus, imagine it heading toward California, a family of Okies inside, worldly goods piled on top and strapped down with baling twine, a biker chick in a rocking chair perched at the top, ala The Beverly Hillbillies.

In contrast to all this?  Three spotless, dust-free Harleys, lovingly parked atop carpet remnants on a pristine, re-surfaced driveway.

I look up.  This particular model of mobile home has the kitchen at the front.  The windows have been broken out, shards of glass on the sidewalk.  

On the sidewalk leading up to the front door are the broken pieces of what just may be every dish this trailer  has ever housed. 

I smile.

Already, I am Thinking and Growing Rich.  

43 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I can see the wheels turnng Pearl.

Pearl said...

I just gotta play my cards right. :-)

vanilla said...

Oh, this going to work out really well, isn't it?

Austan said...

I have uneasy and vaguely giddy butterflies right now...

Pearl said...

vanilla, I'm thinking it will. :-)

Austan, me, too. :-)

Shelly said...

Entrepreneur, thy name is Pearl. So glad you are continuing this story~

Jenny Woolf said...

Breath holding time...

Leenie said...

The sun of providence shines on those who are prepared. Pearl has the training, the know-how, the product---and now the opportunity.

Wow.

Eva Gallant said...

If their dishes are broken, they maybe needed new ones?

Pearl said...

Shelly, funny how stories start. I didn't even remember this one until suddenly recalled the nasty stack of dishes I washed...

Jenny, :-)

Leenie, it's gonna be a glorious sale! I can just feel it!

Pearl said...

Eva, this is my sincere hope. :-)

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh Pearl. We are from the same stock, we are.
Have a great weekend, my friend. :)

Ms Sparrow said...

I lived in a mobile home with a front end kitchen until my fourth kid was a year old. Once two little girls came to the door selling woven potholders they made. I asked the price. They said they were ten cents each or two for a quarter. I just smiled and said I'd take two.

Pearl said...

Dawn, I take great comfort in that! Happy weekend, baby!

Ms. Sparrow, hard to not love the kids selling something practical...

Jeannie said...

Oh - what are the chances! : )

esbboston said...

I bet this is how Donald Thump got his start, dishes. "The First Million is the hard one" - hah!

Question: Do you happen to stiLL have any of these dishes?

Buttons said...

Oh I can see money in your pocket from this trailer. I wait with anticipation to hear how you did. B

~Sia McKye~ said...

Love the truism of your Dad-"there are 9 NO for every yes. Selling is no time to get sensitive." What a great bit of advice. :-)

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hey! Even those one-percenters have gotta eat, right? I can practically hear opportunity banging in your head.

fishducky said...

It's frightening to think of what would've happened if Ebay existed at that time!!

Camille said...

Can't wait for the "grand finale" of this story Pearl!!! :-) Love it.

jenny_o said...

Hah!! Now it becomes clearer why your Dad haggled your dish washing wages in the "up" direction!!

I can't wait for part III :)

@ Ms Sparrow - "ten cents each or two for a quarter" - you lovely lady, you :)

Silliyak said...

Was THIS on your ipod today?

http://www.myspace.com/music/player?song=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.myspace.com%2Fthedishes-46128878%2Fmusic%2Fsongs%2Fflim-flam-69734278

Daisy said...

Looks like a steady customer to me! Can't wait to find out what happens next!

Nezzy said...

Sounds like job security for a dish maker to me....gotta find another truck stop!!! hehehehehe!

Great story sweetie.

God bless and have yourself a fantastic weekend!!! :o)

Joanne said...

What time tomorrow is the next installment published. Don't forget, you're in a different time zone, so I need EST.

Pearl said...

Jeannie, the chances are good!

Esb, sorry to say that I don’t. Sold them all. :-)

Buttons, I love that you’re in the trailer one over…

Sia, it’s true, isn’t it? The race goes not only to the swiftest but to those who won’t stop.

Susan, oddly enough, the one-percenters were pretty decent people!

Fishducky, oh, think of all the stories that would’ve been different if there was a cell phone, or call waiting, or a million other things that we now have…

Camille, I’m so glad!!

Jenny_o, he’s a wily one!

Silliyak, hey! :-) Good one!!

Daisy, looking back, I’ll bet I could’ve made some money cleaning that place…

Nezzy, dish makers, house cleaners, lawn mowers… The One Percent had what I would term a “relaxed” lifestyle.

Joanne, hmmm Nine a.m. Central, so 10 Eastern. :-)

CarrieBoo said...

You'd have done well in my old neighbourhood, waiting around the corner for couples to stop screaming and throwing stuff... then in she strides, with replacement plates, like magic. It's a brave move.

Glen said...

I wish someone would come selling plates here - I wouldn't buy them - I just want them to try

Jocelyn said...

I CANNOT believe you're going to make me wait! Stop stringing me along, you strop.

Okay, well, while I'm waiting:

with you, I always love the whole story and then focus on random thing--quite senselessly. Here, I was left exclaiming, "You had a cart? What did it look like?"

Linda O'Connell said...

You sur ehave a way of story telling. You make me smile.

Gigi said...

Ooooh! A cliffhanger!

Pearl said...

Carrieboo, honestly, in some neighborhoods I think that might not be a nice little weekend gig. :-)

Glen,I'd get a kick out of that too.

Joce, strop! STROP! Heaven help us, that is fabulous.
Of course we had a cart. At one point we had two carts, deep metal carts painted yellow. Kevin was a paperboy, pretty hardcore, for two or three years. I was for maybe two, Sundays only. The cart was for Sundays, the thick papers piled high and sometimes even wired down. Quite the elaborate set-up, especially for Kevin, who's Sundays would pile feet above the rim of the cart... Shoot, I feel another story coming on...

Linda, I'm glad you think so!

Gigi, part of my elaborate marketing scheme to get more readers! ha ha ha ha ha!!

Pat Tillett said...

Opportunity came a knocking! And so did you, me things...

Juli said...

All about supply and demand, baby.

Go get 'em girl!

Pearl said...

Pat, opportunities, Pat! Opportunities abound!!

Juli, I'm just gonna march up there and knock on their door...

cloudia charters said...

I raffled off a turtle in the neighborhood at age 8



Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

bill lisleman said...

I once sold vacuum cleaners for a few months. Selling doesn't appear to be difficult until you try it. Too bad you didn't bring along some polish for the motorcycles. You could have made a special package deal.

River said...

I hope you were clever enough to only sell them enough plates to eat off, then go back time and again after they'd broken the ones you sold them.
I love Harleys. The Tourers, the Fatboys, heaven on wheels.

The Elephant's Child said...

I'm with River - I hope you milked that market for all it was worth. A Ducati fan here though.

the walking man said...

I am wondering if you sold them as dishes or flying saucers?

Diane said...

Pearl, I should tell you about my plate-breaking story. Oh, wait . . . I did. Have I really reached the age of the twice-told tale? Yes. Yes, I have. Squirming in anticipation here. Can't wait for the dénouement!

NellieVaughn said...

I am loving this. It just gets more adorable. May there be many more parts to this story.