Now old Maurice was really uptight about his wares. There's hardly anything in his shop you could talk him down for. But his wife Candice would work the shop on Saturdays and that's when you could strike it rich. Something about the smiles of innocent children made an affable sale seem more important than cold currency.
One Saturday morning, after a couple hours of catch down at the sandlot, my friend Pete and I went down to Plum Pickin's for a score off the old batty woman. She had graying brown hair, and it was tied up in a bun on this particular morning. She was wearing a blue dress with frayed hems around the wrists. Pete and I had dirt all over our clothes from the ballfield and so she insisted we go outside and brush ourselves off before we look around.
In the back of the store — where all the good stuff was — we found an old chess set with about half the pieces missing. The pieces themselves were fair quality, made of old oak, and there were more black pieces than white. Carrying that and a set of used boxing gloves up to the counter, we asked Candice Pinsleton how much.
"Altogether that should be 10 dollars boys."
"Oh, but Mrs. Pinsleton," I groaned, "we only got five dollars on us between us both."
"Well, those boxing gloves are right expensive for a boy your age." (I was eleven) "You should ask your mother if she could get them for you as a birthday present." (My birthday was in two and a half weeks, but there's no way she could have known this)
"Well this chess set here is missing about half the pieces, and as you can see, these gloves have been used."
"Well everything in this store's used, Quinton, you know that." (Pete nudged me to indicate he was ready to leave. I shot him a look and he looked at his shoes.)
"But Pete doesn't have any money, and I'm buying these gloves mostly for him." Pete looked at Mrs. Pinsleton and became obnoxiously sullen. Mrs. Pinsleton sighed, and turned back to me.
"Do you boys have any change on you? Or just the five?"
"I've got a quarter and two dimes," Pete piped in.
"Well there you go," Mrs. Pinsleton was sold, "I'll take $5.45 for the lot."
We gave her the money and turned to leave when Maurice Pinsleton walked in, back from an early lunch or so it seemed.
"Howdy, what's going on here?" He asked.
Thinking quickly, Pete punched me in the stomach with one of the boxing gloves and I chased him out of the store.
I was mad though, because he had hit me hard, so I actually did chase him down and punch him in the back. Pete was ten.
From inside the store, the sound of the Pinsletons arguing became audible through a couple of the store's open windows. Meanwhile, I tried to think of ways to make a chess-based game that involved boxing. I also scanned the ground as I walked for any spare change that may be lying on the ground.