A Killing in Antiques

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Authors: Mary Moody
little survival money until Thursday.”
    “Aha! Thursday. I’ll bet you want a place at May’s, and you didn’t reserve it ages ago, so when you got here all of their spaces were taken.”
    That field is a top draw at Brimfield. About six hundred dealers sell there, many of whom have kept those spaces for years. And there’s a waiting list of names lined up to take the place of anyone who drops out.
    I dismissed his problem. “It’s not the end of the world,” I said. “There are plenty of other places to sell from. Lots of good places are still available.”
    “That’s not quite my problem,” he said.
    “Well, you’ve got a whole lifetime,” I prattled on. “You’re young. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.”
    “I’m twenty-two. And age is not my problem.”
    He paused and pulled the bill of his cap down over his eyes, releasing bright orange curls that sprang from the back of his head. He leaned his head back and looked out at me from under the cap’s deep arch.
    “No, in fact, I do have a spot at May’s, and I managed to get it without reserving in advance, and I’m still twenty-two years old.” He looked at me.
    Cocky. Was he bluffing? “How did you do that?” I asked.
    “Guy I know, Frankie, claims he’s doing me a big favor. He’s full of big favors, old Frankie.” Coylie pulled his cap off and tossed it from hand to hand. “Gonna show me the ropes, gonna help me out, gonna put me on the map. Left me in the lurch this morning.”
    “What happened?” I asked.
    “I moved some of his stuff here from Scottsdale, where I met him at a flea market. Frankie’s been in the business a long time, and he had some great advice. I’ve been struggling to make it, and he gave me some good ideas.”
    “Sounds okay so far,” I said.
    “It sounded good to me, too. I’d help him drag his stuff here, and help open his booth.”
    “Then he’d let you sell your stuff from his booth?”
    The kid grinned. “Yeah, how’d you know?”
    “Half of the folks here have that deal,” I said. “So, you agreed. That still sounds good to me.”
    “Yeah, both of us would make out.”
    “But what?”
    “But he had to leave here in a hurry this morning. He didn’t want to lose his spot by turning it back in. So he sublet it to me. I’m taking it in his name.”
    “What a break,” I told him. “That field has hundreds of buyers lined up. They wait in line for hours for that field to open. He did you a favor.”
    “I’m not so sure,” he said. “I’m here alone, and Frankie has my cell phone, and most of my cash.”
    “Do you mean that he took it without asking?”
    “No, he asked for it as a loan. I’m to pay myself back when I sell some of his inventory.”
    “Coylie, that seems fair enough. That field is a premium place to sell antiques.”
    “But their rules,” he said. “I just read the rules Frankie gave me, and they’re impossible.”
    They do have rules. They even have some enforcement.
    “But sellers love that field,” I said. “They come back again and again. There must be a way to keep within the rules and sell your stuff without having to quit the business.”
    “I wish,” he said. “But the silliest rule is the one they seem most serious about.”
    “Which one is that?”
    “The one that says that I can’t set up and unpack my stuff until after the buyers have been let in. Meaning that I’m unpacking my truck, and setting up for display, while customers pile up in front of me. I can’t do that. I have to at least set up my tent in advance, so I can get my inventory where the customers can see it, and I can see them.”
    “But, Coylie, the buyers know you’ll be setting up.”
    “Yeah, right,” he said. “And they’ll be right there to take advantage of the chaos.”
    “It is chaotic. That’s part of the fun.”
    “You call that fun? The sellers aren’t even allowed to set up the damned tents until the customers arrive. Then we can take our

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