The Second Hand Shop

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Copyright - John Nixon

Walt looked over everything in the shop.

Nothing but trash, he thought.  Who would pay for someone else’s junk?

All the whites were stained-over yellow, dust was several inches thick.

Place looked better from the street.

“Can I help you with something?” the owner asked.

“Help me?  ‘Cause I have a cane I need help?” Walt barked.

“No, sir. It’s just what I ask customers in my store.”

“Sonny, if I need help, I wouldn’t ask you.”

The owner lit up a cigarette.

“You can’t smoke in here!” Walt shouted.

“Read the sign, old man.  It says second hand.”





41 thoughts on “The Second Hand Shop

  1. Dear Tom,

    Do you smoke? I was wondering because you steered the conversation so adroitly. Walt sounds like a curmudgeon or three that I know from my New Jersey days. The owner needs to have a trap door for 86’ing quickly and quietly, customers like him.

    Goo djob painting him in such vivid strokes.



  2. Haha. I loved the dynamic between the crotchety old man and the rebellious young man. Very clever dialogue and great ending. I could see this conversation and the actions taking place in real life. Super job.

  3. I have to admit, it took me a long pause to get the second-hand smoke dig at the end. But what a good dig! One way to get the grumpy, old man out of the store. And I have to admit that I liked the testy dialogue between the two… I wouldn’t complain if Walt showed up in other stories. 🙂

    1. Dave,
      I could see Walt in a few stories…something to think about. Glad you liked the testy dialogue, it seems to come naturally for me.


  4. Hi Tom,
    That’s a vivid curmudgeonly character you’ve created. You infused a lot of life into a still photo. Next time I’m in your neighborhood, I’d like to go to the bar where Jack hung out. I’ve been to the bar in Oakland that was Jack London’s haunt and the whole place is slanted and unlevel because of the earthquake and it’s right on the bay. Ron

    1. Ron,
      I didn’t know you came out this way. I would be happy to show you around when you are in my neck of the woods. I have been living on Long Island for 45 years and it would be a pleasure to show you some of the cool spots. Walt Whitman’s Home, what’s left of the gold coast mansions, where the battle of Long Island took name it. That bar in Oakland sounds perfect to me. Thanks for the fine comments.

  5. Ha. I love this. When I see secondhand, I think of smoke too. It’s been so entrenched in mind. Great dialogue, Tom. I wouldn’t want to make Walt upset.

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