The Estate Sale

Written in response to: Start your story with the line “I’ve got a plan”. ... view prompt


Friendship Fiction

“I’ve got a plan!” Marcus yelled, barging into the room and swiping everything off of Dominic’s desk.

“Does your plan include cleaning all of this up you absolute psycho? What the hell is wrong with you?” Dom stared at Marcus in shock and amazement.

“Sorry, I’ve always wanted to do that. But seriously check this out.” Marcus spread out a newspaper on the newly cleared desktop. He flipped over to the obituaries and slammed his finger down aggressively staring at Dominic with a sinister smile.

“So are you going to explain yourself or just grin at me you creep?” Dom gave Marcus an eyebrow raise as he walked around the desk to avoid upside down reading. Marcus moved his finger and crossed his arms in a satisfied manner, watching for Dom’s reaction as he read:

“Douglas Atwood, loving husband, father, grandfath…” Dom trailed off, “wait, Professor Atwood?”

“The very same.” smiled Marcus.

“You’re really creeping me out. I didn’t like him much either but why are you this happy about it?” Dom considered backing away from his increasingly maniacal Brother.

“Oh I couldn’t give a hoot about the old timer kicking the bucket. But they’re having an estate sale. Auction style. Everything must go!” Marcus threw his hands up in the air in celebration.

“I’m clearly missing something here. I can’t imagine you getting this excited for an opportunity to buy some antique furniture or some art you have no place to hang.”

“Not the art, Brother. Cards.” Marcus said still grinning, “the old coot was obsessed with sports cards. I remember him bringing those boxes he had full of them to class once and he had so many that they must be worth a fortune. They were in great condition but he kept them in those old boxes and most people wouldn’t even take a second look at them. I just know they’re going to sell them off as a lot and I plan to be there to cash in when they do.”

Dom was upset with himself at how much he actually supported his Brother’s plan. “Aren’t they going to notice if you start bidding randomly on these cards? You don’t have that much money, what if somebody notices and outbids you?”

“Well,” Marcus started, “my plan is to bid on a few items here and there but make sure that I get outbid on them, so I don’t raise any suspicions. It’ll seem like I’m here to buy just about anything. Then when they pull out the cards, I’ll submit a low bid and hopefully fly under the radar.”

“This is a stupid plan,” Dom said, even though he didn’t believe his words, “but I’ll join you either way because I need to see this for myself.”

“I was hoping you’d say that Brother,” Marcus looked into his eyes, “because I’m pretty broke and was hoping you’d help me out here.”

“This plan of yours is sounding worse and worse by the minute.”

“Please Brother. You know I know what I’m talking about here. Once we sell the collection, I’ll be able to pay you back and then some.”

It was true, Marcus did have some expertise in this kind of thing. He had been a collector of sports memorabilia since they were kids.

“Alright fine, but I’m not made of money either. If this thing gets too high I’m out.”

“Don’t worry Brother, we’re going to make money out of this.”

Several days passed and the two brothers made their way to the estate sale of Marcus’ former professor in hopes of scoring big. They decided not to dress up for the occasion in hopes of flying under the radar. They were welcomed by Professor Atwood’s Daughter at the gates of his marvelous home and their keys were given to a valet. There were several classic cars in the courtyard that would also be featured in the biddings. Dom looked at the vehicles and did some quick math in his head.

“Marcus, what makes you so sure they’re even going to include those cards in this sale?” Dom nudged his brother. Marcus turned to grill him.

“What do you mean? Why wouldn’t they be included?”

“Well look at some of these cars,” Dom pointed, “these things must be worth thousands and thousands of dollars. You’re sure they didn’t just take one look at the boxes of old cardboard and toss the things?”

“Why would they toss them? You’re being paranoid. Let’s go inside and see for ourselves, shall we?”

The brothers walked inside the house and into the foyer. The items for sale were featured along the walls of the front hall and into the living and dining rooms. The bidding would take place in the back lawn where chairs had been placed for the guests with small paddles on each chair. They two split up and browsed around and some of the items. Mostly there was art and furniture as Dom had suspected, a few cases with some old jewelry, some electronics here and there, an old record player, and unassumingly tucked away in the corner of the dining room sat a large cardboard box full of trading cards. 

“There it is, I told you Dom.”

“Okay fine you were right. You’re certain these things will be worth some money, right?”

“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life, Brother. Come on let’s go take our seats.”

The two of them walked out into the back lawn area where a few people had taken up their spots already and decided to take two seats right in the back row.

“Okay now the plan is to bid on a couple items first so nobody suspects we’re here just for the cards.” Marcus whispered.

“This is stupid you know. What if somebody else knows their value? There are a lot of smart looking people here.” Dom fidgeted in his seat.

“Yes that’s true, but there are also a lot more valuable items here and judging by the looks of everyone else, they all have too much money to worry about a dusty old cardboard box of cards they’ll have to resell.”

Dom conceded that his brother may have a point and sat facing forward in his chair awaiting the rest of the guests. Once everyone was seated, the auctioneer took his place at a podium before them.

“Thank you all for joining us today, though we wish it were under better circumstances. Mr Atwood lived a long and prosperous life and as you have seen, had acquired a great number of things that his family simply has no space or need for. The house itself will also be up for sale in the coming weeks but first there is the matter of clearing out its contents. We will go through the items featured here today one by one, if you wish to bid on an item please raise your red paddle above your head. Let’s start with our first item, this antique armoire. Shall we start the bidding at $1000.” 

One guest raised their paddle, then another, the price rose to $2000. Marcus raised his paddle.

“What are you doing? $2000? Marcus we can’t afford that.”

“Relax Dom, someone will outbid us.”

“...going twice. Sold to the gentleman at the back.”

“Or not.” Marcus was too afraid to look at Dom. “Relax, once we win and sell the cards we’ll have more than enough to cover the armoire.”

“Why on earth would we want that armoire anyway.” The Brothers were asked to hush by one of the attendants as the next item was brought up.

One after another, furniture and art and jewelry were brought before the guests and purchased. And Marcus, having not learned his lesson, was now the proud owner of an armoire, a classic rolex, and a painting done by a man whose name he had no hopes of pronouncing. The brothers were $10,000 deep.

“I’m telling them we can’t afford these things as soon as this is over I hope you realize that.” Dom was drilling a hole in the side of Marcus’ head with his gaze.

“Brother you can’t. Look we can resell all of these things, we’ll just write them a cheque and tell them not to cash it until after we sell the cards.”

“You want to tell them we’re going to resell these items?”

“Well, no. We’ll just make something up about having to transfer money over to the account and a holding period or something.”

“You’re an idiot you know that?” Just as Dom was about to continue taking shots at his brother, the attendants brought up the next item. The cards.

“Shall we start the bidding at $100?” Marcus raised his paddle. But so did several other guests. Over and over the guests upbid the old dusty box of cards.




The price kept climbing but Marcus was stubborn. After all this he refused to be outbid. The price finally ceased to climb after reaching $2500 and Marcus was now the proud owner of a dusty old box of sports trading cards, as well as $10,000 worth of other things. The two brothers sat in silence for the remainder of the auction.

Once the auction was completed they wrote up a cheque for $12,500 and the family actually bought the story of having to transfer funds and gave the brothers 3 days for the cheque to clear. The items were delivered to their home and Marcus and Dom sat together on their couch in silence. Dom got up and walked over to the armoire.

“What are we going to? There’s no way you can sell all of those cards in 3 days, and I very much doubt they’ll go for anywhere near the amount we need to pay for all of this. What were you thinking?”

“I may have gotten carried away.”

“I’ll say,” Dom said as he pulled the doors of the armoire open to remove the rest of the items inside that his brother had foolishly purchased, “what in the world are we to do now? We should just come clean. Where are we even going to put this old thing?” Dom leaned over to pull out the bottom drawer. No luck. He tried again and again.

“Of course, not only did we buy this stupid thing but it’s broken.” Dom kicked the side of the dresser and they heard something drop inside. He looked at his brother Marcus and then back at the armoire. Marcus got up to join his brother and the two of them pulled as hard as they could on the drawer finally releasing it from its track. The momentum caused them both to tumble backwards. They picked themselves up and looked into the drawer and their eyes lit up when they saw the contents.

A duffle bag full of cash. Stacks and stacks of hundreds.

Marcus looked at Dom. Dom couldn’t take his eyes off the money.

“You see brother, it all worked out in the end.”

“So it did,” said Dom, “you’re still an idiot.”

“A rich idiot.”

“Did…did we learn anything? Is there a moral to this story?” Dom continued to stare at the bag.

“No, I really don’t think we did, Brother.”

November 02, 2022 23:07

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