Steve Conway’s “Don’t sit on my flag,” is my next volunteer for my “Quotes” story collection.

The doorbell rang…

Brian looked at his alarm clock and cursed. 6:28 in the morning. Fricking garage sale.

It didn’t matter that his whole garage was filled up with crap that he never threw away, his neighborhood was populated by the blue hairs and the bargain hunters and they all expected his garage to be open by at least 6:30.

He opened the door and looked at the man in the wheelchair who stared at him as if he was violating the Geneva Convention.

“Is this where the…, “the man started to say.

“The signs, everything says 8 A.M. Not 7, sure as hell not as early as 6:30 in the morning sir,” Brian said yawning.  Realizing that he was still in the off white wife beater, plaid pajama shorts and pink bunny slippers he closed his Dallas Cowboys robe and yawned again.

“You know son, the early bird gets the worm,” the grizzled man said back to him.

“And he also gets a door closed in his face until 8 A.M. See you then,” Brian said as he shut the door.

Brian started making coffee and changed into a pair of shorts and a “Tom Landry for President” T-Shirt. He ate his cereal as the line around his house got larger.

“Don’t people have better things to do at 7 in the morning, like SLEEP” he yelled to no one in particular?

As he walked to the garage he looked at the collection of junk that he had out for sale.  From the gas weed eater that he couldn’t use anymore because the fumes bothered him too much to the collection of Clearly Canadian salt and pepper shakers that he had almost a case of.  He had an American flag draped over a chair that he intended to fly on the flagpole. His girlfriend was tired of tripping on the “treasures” that she said had to leave so she can move her stuff in. But of course, she stayed over at her apartment last night.

She laughed as she left last night, “See you in the morning. I’ll be there about 10 when everyone starts showing up.”

Yeah, right.

“Let’s release the assholes,” Brian said as he started to open his garage door.

“I’ll give you $5 for the weed eater,” an old lady started the haggling.

“What’s it say on the price tag?”

“I won’t pay that much, this is a garage sale, not K-Mart,” she countered back.

“Look lady, it’s 8 in the morning and you guys are pawing through my crap like it’s the Holy Grail,” Brian said with a sigh, “so pay the damn price or…”

“Wait till noon when all the vultures are gone and he really wants to get rid of the stuff,” said a voice.

Brian turned and it was the man in the wheelchair.

“They’ll steal you blind if you aren’t watching son,” he said as he started to carve something out of a block of wood.

“What do you want? I feel bad for slamming the door in your face,” Brian said as his eyes wandered from left to right as he started to move tables of junk out into the driveway.

“Just give me first chance on whatever isn’t sold son, you wouldn’t let me be the early bird, but I’ll still get the worm,” the man said as he continued to carve without even looking up.

As minute by minute passed he watched the people who were trying to screw him become more plentiful.

He caught some kids trying to get through the locked back door to see “what other shet this guys got”.

And while he tried to help everyone, the man carved.  Brian tried to figure out what he was carving but was too busy helping the “customers” and putting the fear of calling the cops on the crooks.

At one point the man growled at a kid “don’t sit on my flag,” as some 300 lb kid tried to take a rest on the chair that the flag had fallen down into the seat.

“I’m sorry, I meant to put that up,” Brian said as he shooed away the kids.

The man rolled over to the flag and reached for it, cradled it in his arms and wheeled himself over to the flagpole.  He leaned over and connected the flag and raised it, saluting it when he was done.

Brian went over and wheeled the man over the grass to just inside the garage when all of the sudden the man’s eyes turned red and a gun appeared out of nowhere.

“Mamm, I suggest you either pay the man twice what he’s offering or leave his property, cause if he doesn’t shoot you for theft , I will.”

The woman who had tried to walk away with the gas weed eater placed it on the ground.

“Along with everything else that you have taken mamm,” the old man said as he cocked the gun.

People were scattering and I could hear the cops coming.

“I wouldn’t run if I were you,” Brian said as he tried to inch closer to the man’s right side, “his hand seems a bit shaky but I think he could nail you from that distance.”

“I left some money for the weed eater while you were busy with him,” she motioned over to the table.

Brian walked over and saw a single $5 bill on the table.

The police car came out and the old man put his gun down in his lap and held his hands up in the air.

“What do we have here Frank,” the cop said to the old man.

“We’ve got theft and attempted breaking and entering by Lucy and her kids again Steve,” the old man said with a laugh.

“Why can’t you just RETIRE Frank?”

“I’ll retire when I’m dead Steve,” the old man said as he started to wheel himself two houses down, “You know where to find me when you need to fill out those reports and check the kids too, I think they stuffed his baseball cards down their shorts.”

The woman knew she was caught and laid on the ground with her hands behind her back, her sons joined her as more police cars joined into the situation.

The old man turned back to Brian and told him, “I’ll give you a fair price for everything else for the youth and senior center if you never let anyone sit on MY flag again.”

Brian just nodded.