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to fall off and crumble to the ground. It landed with a thud on the porch and rolled back down the steps with the force. Curtis peeked out from behind the door and after seeing what happened quickly ran down the steps to get it before the morning rain shower ruined it making it impossible to read. He cursed the delivery boy as the little brat sped off down the street on what looked like a blue mountain bike. Why all the kids were riding mountain bikes anyway these days made no sense to him. There was not a mountain in site. The stupid child hadn’t even wrapped the paper in plastic like he was supposed to do! Luckily, the paper had been salvaged from too much water damage and certainly the yard sale section was safe as it was tucked in the middle. Bringing his paper inside, Curtis smoothed back the thick tussle of brown hair that fell across his eyes. He loved the feel of his fingers running through his hair. There was just something so virile about it. His hair was a constant preoccupation with him – not the lack of it like so many 40+ men of his age were preoccupied with - but the dizzying amount of styling options he was lucky enough to have. Within the various men’s fashion magazines, all targeted at men just like him, there were photos after photos of handsome men with great hair. Men who were lucky enough to have thick luscious hair and the only thing that they had that eluded Curtis was how to style it. Every morning he tried his best to settle his mane in a reasonable design but usually, it ended up getting the better of him and he found himself pushing it out of his face throughout the day which was a terrible distraction. His boss even suggested he cut it to avoid the hassle. That was not a possibility. His hair was his best asset and he planned to utilize it. Curtis had another preoccupation as well, yard sales: yard sale bargains to be exact. He felt nothing but contempt for those yard sale hosts that put things out there at ridiculous prices! But when he found a bargain, there was nothing he loved more! Finding something relevant to him at a yard sale price was pure satisfaction: couple that with his hair compulsion and you had a man on a mission every Saturday morning. He scoured the yard sale tables for hair gels, mousse and any other hair product or gadget that he could try.
Single now for almost 11 years, he had tried dating on and off since his divorce from his first wife, Terry, but had not found a good fit as of yet. She left him after only a year of marriage. He blamed it on the book clubs and coffee shop groups that seemed to occupy so much of her time. Get those women together and they will just feed off of each other making even someone like himself out to be a jerk. Curtis did not think of himself as a jerk. He knew what he knew and what he did know, he knew well. Most women found that attractive. Terry found it “obnoxious” as she put it. He had tried his best to show her he was not obnoxious but quite the contrary because most of the guys in his internet gaming club thought he was “awesome” and they were a lot younger than her! In one of his last attempts to seduce her back into the marriage. He even told her his best fantasy, hoping this would bring them closer and make him seem vulnerable like the relationship self-help books at the time told him to do. It was the one where his best friend Todd and himself make love to her in an alley way. It didn’t have the desired effect. She seemed angered at the suggestion and even went so far as to suggest he “date” Todd instead of wasting time her time! Curtis did not have to resort to dating Todd. In fact, there had been a few other women since then but they turned out much the same – using some pathetic excuse to “cool” things off before they ever really began. The next woman would be different. He felt he finally knew women. Over the last few years he had become a devout reader of self-help books aimed at just that topic starting from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to the more recent He’s Just Not That into You. All these books were targeted at women. He knew that and now, he would know what they knew. Beat them to the punch, as they say. Though he was hoping no one would have to resort to violence he chuckled to himself confidently. He had read in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: “men need to overcome their resistance to giving love while women must overcome their resistance to receiving it.” This statement really resonated with Curtis. Terry was constantly resisting his offerings of love. One time he wanted to surprise her and set up a “Love Barber Shop” as the sign he printed out in the sexiest font he could find stated clearly on the door. When she opened up the door to the “shop” she was greeted with an erotically displayed selection of tools used for cutting various body hair.
“What do you plan to do with this?” she demanded. “I want to slowly, carefully and very lovingly shave your womanhood.” Curtis crooned. Her face became angry and she stated between clenched teeth that he could shave himself if he wishes but she wasn’t interested. “But I have!” Curtis exclaimed while he pulled down his pants to reveal his freshly shaven cock and balls. “Ugh!” she cried and stormed out of the room yelling back at him about being incredibly insensitive and re-growth and wearing pantyhose and on and on! He never did understand her anger. The feeling of no hair on his genitals felt wonderful. In fact, he had a hard time not touching the smoothness constantly. Clearly, she didn’t understand or appreciate her own sexuality much less his. Strolling down his hallway with his paper tucked under his arm, Curtis smiled, feeling very pleased. He felt good about today. He had narrowed his search for the perfect hair style down to two and just needed a good hair dryer and maybe a round brush to create that sophisticated feel the models sported in GQ. Not only that, but if it was one thing he knew – it was that there are ALWAYS hairdryers to be found at yard sales – easy - the round brush? Maybe not, but Curtis loved a challenge. And he felt up to the challenge of winning with women as well. A quote from the popular He’s Just Not That into You stated: “Men, for the most part, like to pursue women. We like not knowing if we can catch you. We feel rewarded when we do.” Curtis stood at his kitchen table inspired, feeling like a hunter waiting for its prey. He couldn’t stop grinning, totally absorb in the fantasy of pursuit until he felt the wetness of the paper seep into his robe. He quickly pulled it out from under his arm and gracelessly flapped in an attempt to dry out his now soaking armpit.
Sally’s dark blue Pontiac or the “Grand Jalopy” as she liked to call it pulled up a bit too fast outside of the first house address listed in the yard sale section of this morning’s paper. She had scribbled down the locations of the sales she thought might be worth looking at on the back of a
frayed old envelope that had been on the kitchen table. She slammed on the breaks in an attempt not to hit the car already parked in front causing the library books she had put on the front seat to fly to the floor. The book He’s Just Not That into You landed on top. Embarrassed that she even had that one, she tried throwing her sweatshirt over it to hide the title from any possible passersby’s but ended up just missing it leaving her sweatshirt in a crumpled up pile beside the heap of books. She didn’t need to read those kinds of books anyway. She had already discovered that “he wasn’t that into her” when he didn’t come home three days ago. They had been living together for almost five years. You think he would have had the courtesy to have a conversation with her about “needing to move on” before he actually moved on and just left a note! Along with himself, he also took many of the essential day to day items that she needed. He could have had the decency to leave the hair dryer. It was actually quite an expensive hair dryer that Sally had splurged on in the early days of their infatuation with each other. The passion came as quickly as it went leaving them with a dull aching desperation to make things exciting again. Candle light dinners, rose petals floating in the bathtub, secret notes and finally in what Sally later came to call “the most tortuous event of her life” – the Brazilian hair wax that she presented to him in an elaborate unveiling. This kept his interest for a while but even that waned when she developed a few infected lumps in her nether regions because of it. And, if Sally was being honest, they had struggled to enjoy each other’s company on a day to day basis ever since. She had been attempting to style her hair without the use of a dryer ever since his departure but had just ended up angering it resulting in a kind of Janis Joplin look which wasn’t doing her any favors. She was hoping to find a hairdryer at one of these yard sales she had listed. She really hated yard sales. They were so depressing. Everything from the people having them, to the people going to them depressed Sally - people selling their discarded old stuff hoping to recover any value that might be left and other people rummaging through the rejected cast offs to find something they couldn’t afford new. But despite her feelings about yard sales, she barely had two dimes to rub together these days so, desperate times as they say.
She had arrived a bit early and wasn’t about to get out and be one those people who loitered outside the yard sale house, putting the pressure on to start the sale sooner than later. She had heard of real enthusiasts arriving hours before the advertised time. The house hosting the sale was a two story wooden home in one of the old neighborhoods right in the middle of town. It seemed in fairly good condition but the detached garage beside it looked as neglected as Sally’s unshaven legs. The sale had been set up using the run down building and the broken up concreted driveway that presented it possibly in an attempt to keep the riff raff away from the main homestead. Several foldable card tables had been set up displaying an organized array of items for sale. The larger items set propped up against the old garage and almost seemed to be keeping it upright. An old woman wearing a muumuu of some sort and pushing a shopping cart and a man about Sally’s age with an incredibly shaggy head of hair were already outside pacing. They were chomping at the bit to be let loose at the first yard sale of the day. Sally let out a sizeable sigh and when it seemed a reasonable time to rummage through the yard sale tables, she opened her car door to begin her search. Because she had parked at quite a steep angle right up against the curb, the door swung open with such force that the bottom edge got stuck in the ground. She strained to pull it free but wasn’t having any luck when she heard a man’s voice yell at her from a few yards away. “It’s your weight!” he cried. “You need to get out of the car. Your weight is causing the door to be stuck!” Sally ignored the offensive voice that was yelling at her about her weight. Instead, she turned the car back on and eased forward, slowly as she pulled the door free of the ground. Climbing back out of the car, this time careful not to let the door fly free, she saw the shaggy haired man standing on the sidewalk watching her. He dashed down the small slope to help Sally over the up heaved earth she had left with her car door. “That works too” he grinned as he held out his hand. Feeling obliged, she loosely took it, though she could clearly get to the sidewalk without any help.
“I’m Curtis French.” He introduced glancing inside her car and noticed the book on the floor. “Now, that is a very interesting book” he remarked approvingly. “I wouldn’t know” she replied. “It is not mine, but thank you for your help” she said putting her hands quickly in her jacket pocket and tried to move past him as swiftly as possible. He was right on her heels when she approached the first table. Usually men like this tired easily and would move on but seeing that the only other woman there at the moment was wearing a muumuu and pushing a shopping cart, he remained close. She decided to pay no attention to him glancing around the sale for a table that might hold a hair dryer on it. Passing a bag of golf clubs on the way, she heard a woman call out from the front porch and start walking her way. “Make me a deal on the golf clubs!” She yelled. “It’s bargain time –he’ll never know!” The woman sniggered. She had a bit of a stagger to her walk and looked as if she had been crying. “Those clubs have been nothing but trouble not to mention the husband that came with them.” She laughed slopping some of her coffee on the concrete with her careless movements. “Good riddance I say to them and to him as well!” she continued. “Seventeen years for nothing!” A bit embarrassed, Sally tried to change the subject by asking about a hairdryer. The woman pointed her cup in the direction of a table toward the back of the garage. She made her way to the back table followed closely by her now constant companion – the shaggy haired man. She picked up the Vidal Sasoon hair dryer that was displayed with other hair products for inspection. It looked in pretty good shape but Sally thought a $10 price tag was a bit steep considering they were less than $20 new. She put it down not wanting to haggle when her “companion” swiftly snatched it up and yelled over to the teary eyed woman. “Is this the best you can do?” he demanded holding up the hair dryer. The sadness suddenly disappeared from the woman’s eyes and was quickly replaced with what appeared to be a rage. She swayed in his direction and narrowed her eyes to two little slits before she spoke. “I’ve always done the best I could!” she spat.
“These only cost $20 new.” He continued throwing a wink at Sally. “I’ll give you five bucks cash for it right now.” “The price stays as is.” She said coolly and started walking away toward the house with a fresh set of tears in her eyes. “Well,” he went on “It is clearly overpriced. I mean this lady put it down when she saw the price and I am willing to give you cash on the dollar now.” As she got to her front door she wiped away her tears and turned back to him her emotion changing once again to anger in response to his comment. “Take it then!” she said through clenched teeth. “I could always rip out the other five dollars worth from that mop on your head if I felt like it!” And with that, she flung open the door and stormed in the house once again in tears Curtis protectively put his hands to his hair but then casually ran his fingers through it instead not wanting to look as if he had anything to fear. “I’ll just leave this $5 out on the table then.” He yelled back up at the steps to the house and glanced over at Sally. “Bargains never coming easy,” he said and gave her another wink continuing with, “but it is the thrill of the chase as they say.” Sally didn’t respond and turned around toward her car to make her exit. Curtis put the money on the table and took his bargain with him. He watched as Sally pulled away from the curb. He smiled pleased with himself and how clever SHE was. Just like it said in the book – he would find her – the fun IS in the chase. She was playing him perfectly. It was going to be a great day. Perhaps, he’d find that round brush after all. He whistled all the way to the next stop.
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