The Surprise Item

Published: Thursday, 18 June 2015 Written by Dominique John-Phillip


It was a nice and warm morning, when I was reading the Count Daily and came across an advertisement that said that there was going to be a garage sale in my area. I quickly wrote down the address and got ready to leave the house. For some odd reason, on my way there, I got this strange feeling, it felt as if my stomach had butterflies. But I chose to ignore the feeling and continued to the sale.


Once there I began to walk around the yard, viewing the many items this person wanted to get rid of. After about twenty minutes, a beautifully carved urn caught my eye. It was shaped like a cube and was made out of dark mahogany wood. On it was a beautifully carved mermaid with long flowing hair and seaweed tangled around its body. Upon examining it, I thought that it would look very lovely on my living room bookcase.


I then took the urn and found the person hosting the sale. He was an old man, probably in his late sixties, had greying hair, dark skin, of average height and looked very friendly.

            “I see you have come to buy this.” He said a little too cheerfully. The butterflies in my stomach that were previously ignored came back but worse.

            “Yes,” I replied, trying to keep my voice as even as possible to not give away my nervousness and second thoughts about coming here.

            “That will be $50.” He said a bit too quickly. Seeing the surprised look on my face, he began to tell me about the urn,

            “It was a useless gift from my mother,” he said “although I have no use for it, I accepted it because I did not want to feel guilty and know I have no need for it anymore.”


Believing his story, I happily bought the urn and proceeded on my way home.


Once home, I went to the kitchen sink to wash of the urn since it had a bit of dust on it. Upon opening it I was shocked as to what I found. Inside the urn where someone’s ashes. I immediately closed it and went back to the place of the sale. Fortunately, it was still going on and the man spotted me looking for him.

            “You’re back!” he said surprised.

            “Yes, I came to ask you about this.” I said while showing him the urn.

            “What about it?” he asked. I then told him about the ashes I found in it when at home.

            “Oh! I’m so sorry,” he apologised, “I’ll give you a refund and you can have anything you want for free.”


Accepting his apology, I took the refund and started looking at the flower vases.

            “I’m so sorry,” he said again, “I forgot that my sister put the ashes of our brother in it. I’m so very sorry.” Taking into consideration the man’s age, I simply brushed it off.

            “It’s fine. It was a simple mistake.” I kindly said.


After picking out a vase, I left the garage sale once again. This time making sure that what I got was empty.

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