Feb. 20, 2013: The phone rings at the Bell Desk and I answer it.
Pretty thrilling so far, right?
THE HOOK: Bell Desk, Robert speaking, how may I help you?
VAMPIRELOVER (The wife): Hey, Skippy! (Go ahead and giggle; the wife loves me, I know…) Book March 2 off, we’re going to a Police auction!
I really had no desire to enter into a bidding war to purchase a police officer – although I suppose it would be convenient if I got pulled over – but I’ve been married long enough to know the Golden Rule of Marriage.
THE GOLDEN RULE OF MARRIAGE: Shut up and agree with the wife. Always.
THE HOOK: Sounds good! I’m not going to regret this am I?
VAMPIRELOVER: This is going to be great! They’re going to have hundreds of bikes and other confiscated items. I can’t wait!
March 2, 2013: The plan was simple: Get up early, wake the kid, and head out to the auction. Should have been a breeze, right?
Anyone with kids – or a full life – should know better, but to be clear, we were exhausted and so our departure wasn’t exactly reminiscent of the Charge of the Light Brigade….
9:01 a.m.: We arrive at Peninsula Liquidators Auction in St. Catharines. A ridiculously cute kitty cat greeted us at the door.
Seriously, a vast auction house visited by hundreds of people a day had a cat greeting potential customers at the door.
I have no idea what the cat pulls down after taxes, but it looked like a sweet deal. He just sauntered around like the Kitty King of the Castle until he found a soft spot on a used couch to crash out. End of story.
As for our story, it was just getting started.
The auction began with a whimper, not a bang, as the auctioneer realized people aren’t willing to part with their money without a fight.
I could have told him that. In fact, the crowd wasn’t all that different than the one I’m used to dealing with.
- Well-meaning, but cranky old folks.
- Grubby rugrats.
Toothless carnies, I mean Canadian rednecks.
- The usual suspects.
The first few stolen bikes just weren’t moving and so the auctioneer bellowed “Throw ’em in the scrap pile!” Things picked up soon after and the ill-gotten gains of unsuccessful criminal masterminds became the new-found treasure of many a citizen. But bikes were not the only order of the day, and so the auction staff began rolling out other items police had removed from the greedy, grubby fingers of low-level, wannabe Lex Luthors.
Among those items were pry bars, hammers, chisels, wire/bolt cutters, and utility knives. In other words, or rather the words of the auctioneer, B & E Kits were up next.
“Do I hear 5$?”
For a moment at least.
“I have 5$! Do I hear 10$?
He didn’t. You could however, hear the cat snoring. Seriously.
“Sold to the lady, #175!”
I thought to myself “Whoever bought that kit could just come back tonight and help themselves to whatever doesn’t sell!” I turned to the wife to share my brilliant burst of humor when I glanced at her bidding sign.
I was the proud and semi-befuddled owner of the first B & E Kit.
The die had been cast. VampireLover was on a roll.
From that moment on, a cycle emerged:
- A bike would be put up on the auction block.
- VampireLover would spot one she liked and turn to me.
- I’d point out the fact we had no time, energy or, solely in my case, the desire to ride a bike.
- She’d frown.
- Another B & E Kit would pop up.
- She’d bid and win.
- I’d laugh and shake my head.
Then, after a few more bikes came and went, an item appeared that piqued my interest. To say the least. I felt my blood race through my body, as well as a surge of electricity. I unleashed VampireLover….
By the time she was done I was the proud owner of a pair of construction-grade crow bars, bright yellow and larger than life.
“What exactly are you going to do with those?” VampireLover asked. “Are you going to work around the house, finally?”
My answer was classic Hook.
“Heck no, I’m going to put one underneath our bed and one under Sarah’s. The small one we won earlier is going under Dad’s (my father-in-law) bed. If someone ever breaks into our house, they’re going to be in for the surprise of their life.”
We left soon after, but Pandora’s Box had been ripped open.
Watch out, rednecks, VampireLover and I are in the grips of auction fever.
- Police Auctions and Government Auctions Website PoliceAuctions.com to Auction Cretaceous Era Fossil (prweb.com)
- A beginner’s guide to car auctions (confused.com)
- Jennifer Lawrence’s clothes from “Silver Linings” up for auction (thehimalayantimes.com)