So in an effort to continue writing 1000 words a day, I have the pleasure of also entering in my submission for the next flash fiction that is being run over at Terrible Minds. This week the theme is flea markets, so I decided to write up one. Fitting as I just ended up going to one with my buddy Todd a week ago. I find flea markets fascinating as it is, and I also love mythology. So I decided to combine the two. Now, I'll admit that one of my favorite books is Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and I was inspired by some of the themes in that novel for this short story. So enjoy and as always, let me know what you think.
There are few places as interesting or as full of life as the flea market. The sea of people arriving early in the morning to either sell their wares or to buy what is being sold is astounding. It is where I survive. Not many of us are left anymore...at least, not the old ones. Mostly the newer, younger gods get any attention anymore. We are left scraping an existence off of what is left behind. And the flea market is one of the few temples left anymore. If I had a name in the old world, I can't remember it anymore. I used to have a family, but I can't remember them anymore either. That saddens me, when I stop to think about it...though I rarely do anymore. I mostly just content myself with my people.
It is pure in its insanity. People walk by carrying a muffler, a blanket, a box of books or an old toy or two. Families, single people, groups of friends...they all come and worship at my altar. Young and old...it makes no difference to the flea market. You see an older man with a mullet and a denim jacket walking past a college age girl wearing designer jeans and sunglasses. The conversations, oh those are phenomenal! The amazing depth and breadth of discussion spans across a veritable plethora of topics. Politics, religion, pop culture, history, themselves, ...all that and more discussed in one boiling mass.
Each booth is like an tiny little shop. Placing out items that have no more use for the owner, but you the passer-by may find new uses. Yes, that little blanket might work well for your pet to sleep on. Or that old Star Tours sticker will look fantastic for your collection. That gentlemen two rows over has the three Spider-man comic books you have been searching for. That old woman has the most darling set of tea cups. That old jacket could be perfect for the Comic-Con costume you've been working so hard on. All this and more at my temple. All this and more.
Moving among my people as they shop is a joy to me. You won't see me, even if you look. But you'll feel my influence. That seller who just wouldn't budge on the price suddenly finding himself amiable to your new price. That buyer who picked up the knick-knack and was about to put it down when they realized they just had to own it. I feed off of the energy of the sales. The hopes and dreams of the seller are my bread. The desire and plans of the buyer my water. It may be a simple life, but it is one that brings me pleasure.
I am not ungenerous to my followers. The men and women who come week after week; living and dying on the sales they make. They are my priests. The regular customers, the lookers, the pickers, the curious...they are all my congregation. Their voices rise up on the morning of the flea market in a beautiful chorus of worship. “How much for the dresser?” “Is that a real giant lobster mounted on the board?” “Would you take a dollar fifty?” “I couldn't go lower then fifty dollars for that bookcase.” “Tell you what, you buy the Dukes of Hazzard car model and I'll throw in the Dukes of Hazzard card game as well.” “Does it work?” “My wife is going to kill me for bringing all this home.”
The young gods hate us. They always have for some reason. I try not to confront them for there is not much left to me and they could easily destroy me. Already they have begun to pick apart my temples for their pleasure. They are blights upon my realm. You see them, putting out boxes of shrink-wrapped toys. They bring new items into my temple. Not just new, but mass produced, cheap junk. Things that will break after a single use. Loud electrical noises piercing through the patter of the sellers trying to talk to a buyer. Each screech calling out to you, “Why buy this old box of random toys when you could buy a boot-leg 'Super Guy' with laser light-up eyes?” Each cackling chirp a condemnation of “Why sort through a bunch of used DVD's when they sell brand new ones?” Sure, it may not be an official copy, but it's new.
They know that my domain is in the magic and wonder of the old. And they come in and destroy it by showing how much better their new things are. They hiss as the venomous serpents they are in the ears of my people. By their mere presence they strip away my magic and present the items you may have thought about purchasing as junk and mere clutter waiting to be moved from the sellers home to yours. The people selling old and used items must compete with these parasites and it leads to harder times. No, my children, if you any love for me never give your business to those false prophets...those lackeys of the new ones. They sadden me for the simple fact that eventually they will destroy me.
That is not any time soon though. While there may be whole flea markets taken over by their sort of poison, there are still others flourishing around this country. And while one flea market exists where a man can put out an old lamp or bucket of assorted bottle-caps and sell those items; I shall exist still. While people can still go forth and haggle with the seller by making an offer; I shall thrive. I am clever and I am smart. The new ones have no concept of what the knowledge of the centuries can be used for when you are as clever as I. Maybe I shall die someday, but for now I can live and enjoy the worship of my people.