LAWNMOWER, reel type push mower. $35. Call 555-2291.
I picked up the phone and called the number. The reel would work perfectly for my current project. Usually I just went to the junkyard but I was looking for something pretty specific and hadn't been able to find anything that would work. I couldn't believe I'd actually found something this cool in the paper.
"Hello, my name is Nick. I saw your ad for the mower. I hope it is still available."
The guy on the other side of the phone laughed. "Yeah, dude. Not too many people interested in one of those these days."
I sat back in my chair. "Great! Can I come by and take a look at it sometime today?"
"Yeah, I don't have any plans this morning. I've got the mower at my place; I'm over on Tidel Street, number two oh four."
"Great, I'll be over in an hour," I said. I hung up the phone and got dressed quickly. The door on the entrance to the warehouse squealed as I opened it. "Need to get some grease for those hinges," I muttered. My car was pretty beat up too, but I didn't really care. It got me where I was going, which was to the perfect part. It was a good thing I'd decided to look at the paper that morning.
A young guy answered the door at the address I'd been given. He had a cigarette in his hand and I stepped into the wonderful smelling cloud of acrid smoke. "Those will kill you, you know," I said.
He shrugged. "Not today." He flicked the cigarette into an ashtray on a table by the door.
I laughed. "Probably not. I'm here to look at the mower."
That got me a skeptical look. I guessed a woman in a skirt and the day-glow yellow tank top wasn't what he was expecting. My voice was super deep but having a name like Nick tended to confuse some people. I just smiled at him and pushed my large brown bag up on my shoulder. "I'm Nick, I'm an artist." I held out my hand to him, unembarrassed by the smiley face band aids that covered several fingers.
He hesitated and then shook my hand. "Terry." He led me through the house. "I've been keeping it on the back porch since Gramps moved. I couldn't believe it when I saw he was still using that old thing to mow his grass."
I smiled. I liked it when the objects I found were really used. It gave them a lot more character.
"Well, here it is." Terry pointed to an old mower propped in the corner. The reel was dark with age and the metal on the handle was a bit bent. "It's not much to look at, I guess. I thought $35 was fair. I know I could get that at the scrap yard for the metal."
I nodded. I got a lot of metal at the scrap yard for my projects too. "You sure you want to get rid of this, since it was your grandpa's? I'm going to take it apart and stuff."
Terry laughed. "Sure, it's not like I need it to remember him by. The old coot just moved into that senior village over by the golf course."
I picked up the mower and looked at the reel. The blades looked like they were still pretty sharp. I tested the spin by pushing down on a blade and nicked my finger.
"Careful!" Terry leaned forward and grabbed my hand away from the mower's blades.
I shrugged one shoulder. "No big deal. I do that a lot. Careless of me, I know." I put the mower down and dug into my brown bag, finally coming up with a new band aid. This one was bright pink. Terry was still holding my hand so I just wrapped the band aid around it. He finally let go with a sheepish smile when I finished and he still hadn't let go.
"I'm all current on my tetanus shots," I promised him. "I'm making this huge metal statue I'm calling Twisted Ballerina. This reel would work perfect for the fake music box I'm building for the ballerina to dance on like an old jewelry box I had as a kid."
"Huh," Terry said. "Sounds kinda cool."
I grinned at him. "Yeah, the ballerina is this old mannequin I found without a head. I twisted up a metal colander and put Mr. Potato head parts on it to make the face. Then I put it on the torso on backwards."
"So you want this mower then?"
I dug around in my purse and came up with some crumpled bills. "Yeah."
He took the money, his fingers slow to pull away from mine. "I'll carry it out for you, if you like."
Terry helped me wedge the mower in the trunk of my old car. He paused for a second as I tied it down with a rope I kept handy. I took home a lot of scrap sometimes. "You can come see it sometime, if you want. It's for an exhibit at an art show at the college." He hadn't said a whole lot, but Terry seemed like a nice guy. He hadn't looked at me like I was a total freak, just a bit weird.
Which was okay. I was weird. It made life fun.
I pulled a flier out of my purse before I tossed it in my window. "Here. See, this is the exhibit."
He took it from me and looked at it. "Saturday?"
I nodded. "Yep. Maybe if you want we can go get a drink afterward." I pushed my hair behind my ear. I could almost see his surprise. Maybe he just was being polite and concerned when I cut my finger.
"Or not." I shrugged. "No big deal." I knew I was kinda out there for some people.
"No, I was just . . . .” He ran his fingers through his dark hair.
"Taken aback by my awesomeness?" I grinned at him. Being bold got me a lot of things, and it looked like it was going to get me a date for Saturday this time.
Terry laughed. I liked the rough sound. "I was wondering if you'd still be there around nine. I have dinner with my grandpa that night, but I'd like to see your sculpture and have that drink afterward."
I waved my hand. "Nine is early. The show doesn't end til eleven."
Terry's grin was huge. "Great! How about you give me your number, since you already have mine?"
I was really glad I'd decided to read the paper that morning.