A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 122: A New Side Profession
Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran
By: Emmeran, 26 April 2021
Edited: nnpdad 2 May 2021
Published: 5 May 2021
I was now about to reach a new low in my illustrious lowlife existence. I was about to sell people on the Auction Block. Now to give the devil his due, I also intended to purchase them and free them in Rulo. But still, here I was selling people. I was simply confident that I had a bigger wallet than any person here. The bottom line was, I didn’t have time to interview them and I could actually be purchasing trouble. A lot was riding on my assumption that most of these slaves were decent people. No doubt, the ten percent rule applied, so I was sure that there was trouble in this entire undertaking.
The other thing I had to worry about was how to store these folks until we could hit the road. They needed to be under guard until we got them to settle down. And they needed shelter and food. I decided to go with my gut, but I needed to get the auction and purchases done also. I talked to the bank manager before I took to the block. I told him I might need to deposit more gold Monday and to hold everything in escrow until I got there that morning.
Then I took to the stage to warm up. Well the crowd had grown until it looked like almost 500 people had shown up. Apparently it was entertainment - I was the only show in town. There was no way they all would hear me. I also wouldn’t be able to pick-out bidders. That meant I needed to do something, quick. I turned to look for help and Timmons was there with a large tin megaphone in his hands. It looked like it weighed thirty pounds and when I hefted it, I realized that it probably did.
Timmons and Jeb saw the problem, asked me to heft it, took a quick measurement, and then they were off again. I decided to get the crowd organized and then go warm up back behind the stage. The large, and growing, crowd had me a little off kilter. Where was Esther when I needed someone to charm them?
I gave the phone a try.
“Howdy there, folks!” I projected through the tin cone and I’ll be damned if it didn’t boom out the other end. But it was heavy.
“Howdy!” They hollered back, which caught me completely off guard.
“Well, folks, this is a surprise. There are a lot more of you now including a bunch of ladies, I’m sorry but the tea kettles have all already been sold.” This brought a chuckle from the crowd.
“Can those of you at the very back hear me? If you can, please wave your arm.” The back of the crowd folks gave a wave and I was suitably surprised.
“Now folks, I’m going to need all of the bidders up here at the front so we can see them. We’ll do this at every lot change, but for this first set of lots we are selling ‘yard birds,’ chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. So any person who intends to bid on ‘yard birds,’ come up to the front so I can see you.”
“Please folks, we need a path up the middle here for people to walk. So if you are on this side of me,” I waved my right hand, “Please take three steps to your left and you folks on the other side, please do the same to your right.” It had taken me a minute to get my mind sorted on which way they needed to go and a couple of guys directly in front of me just stood there looking confused. So I said, “If you are standing in front of me and are confused just take three steps to your left. That’s right sir, either left will do. We just need a walk path.” The crowd chuckled again. The lost folk moved all except one and eventually someone came out and helped him. ‘Wow! Just f•©king wow!’ I thought.
“Folks, while you’re getting organized, I’m going to head back here and warm up. We’ll start the bidding in ten minutes, give or take.” With that, I put the megaphone down and walked off behind the dock. Byrne was there with his wife. She had brought me a glass of warm saline water flavored with lemon to gargle with and loosen up my voice. She told me it was something she had learned in singing lessons as a young lady.
I smoked a quick cigarette first and then gargled multiple times with the lemon-saline. It was time to see if it helped. I started slow and quiet.
“Weeelll, thank you lady, thank you ma’am, it no longer feels like a rusty can. I’d love to have some more aaat breeeaak, I’ll do anything whatever it takes, to get to the end of this surprising daaayyy.” I chanted out and then coughed.
She clapped in delight and had a bright blush on her face, “I’ll be back with more in an hour, maybe even a taste of John’s fine bourbon!”