"This Auction Hunting stuff is huge right now Bucholz," Jack said from the door to the fire exit stairwell which I called my office. "You should probably do a column about that." "What," I began, leaning back in the nest I'd made out of an uncoiled fire hose and interesting bits of string, "is an Auction Hunting?" "You know. Those cable television shows. Auction Kings, Auction Wars, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, Storage Things, Auction Storages, King Kings."
"They play them on the Spike network in between
... where I began reviewing our archived footage of the various storage auction shows which have been steadily eating all the cake shows. The basic template goes like this: a variety of men, ranging from unattractive all the way up to unappealing, visit storage facilities that are holding forfeited property auctions. There, they bid on lots of goods, hoping they'll stumble upon something incredibly valuable, like antiques, or a hat made of hundred dollar bills, or the most valuable thing of all:
It doesn't look as good on me, but it still looks pretty good.... and hurled myself into the exciting and odorous world of auction hunting.
Have you ever seen anyone smiling while moving? This box is clearly full of poorly contained ether.Beside me was a guy, seeing more than me and taking notes. I craned my neck to get a look at what he was writing, but he noticed and twisted away from me. "What do you think is in those boxes?" I asked politely. "Baseball cards? Jewels? Rare stamps?" I struggled to think of more things that could be in boxes. "Pandoras?" "Fuck off, newb." Hoping to make him laugh, I proceeded to "fuck off" by thrusting my pelvis into the air so that I left the ground and traveled forward slightly, repeating the process until I was several feet away. I looked back to see if I had earned a chuckle or even a smile. I had not.
High in nostalgia value perhaps, but in resale value, worth less than urineBidding started on the first container and raced out to the astronomical sum of a hundred and fifty dollars. Feeling pretty flush with the expense account I thought I had (it turns out I did not have any authorization for any expenses at all) I put forward my own bid of $200. "Sold!" The auctioneer said immediately. "Isn't anyone else going to bid?" I asked. "No." I frowned, sensing a trap, and also quite a bit of snickering. Inside the storage container I found a trunk which contained no doubloons, a hat box which contained no hats and a suitcase which contained no suits. All containers in my winnings were filled with pairs of green shorts. "Do you think there's any chance these green shorts were worn by the Boston Celtics?" I asked one of the experienced hunters, honestly trying to recall if the Celtics had ever worn pea-green plaid. The '70s were a strange time for fabrics as I recalled.
Although the '70s were a disaster for fashion, they were the good-time decade for ad copywriters, of course.Wary silence greeted my query, so I went all in. "Would you be willing to buy these off me for five thousand dollars?" I asked. A punch in the sternum greeted me in return, which I reacted to instinctively by folding into a heap and crying. Several similar conversations later, I concluded that the shorts were worthless, and that I had paid two hundred dollars for the privilege of disposing them. Even that wasn't easily done, as the people at Goodwill refused to take them from me, and when I tried to leave them on the curb, I got a lecture from a homeless person about littering, as well as several unsolicited tips on fashion and romance.
The carpet did a wondrous job of preserving the wondrous odors of sweat and recreational plants and low standards.Not wanting to at all, I began opening hippie containers and airing out other dreadful hippie things. In the very back was a hippie wardrobe, tipped over, leaning against a dreadful hippie couch at a 45 degree angle. I righted my new, awful-smelling wardrobe, and opened the doors, revealing one dead hippie, who tumbled out, landing face-first in my lap. "AHHHHHHHH!" I announced coolly, somersaulting backwards out of the storage container several times. "Find a body?" someone asked. "Yes!" "Fuckin' newb." He walked off. This was evidently a commonplace event, as the managers of the facility already had a procedure in place. The procedure, implemented immediately, consisted of a container of wet-wipes, thrown at my chest, and a curt announcement that the police were coming. After wiping my hands and face and eyes, but not my soul, no wet-wipe moist enough for that, I warily looked back into the container. Food. Jugs of water. A chemical toilet in the back. The poor bastard had been living in there, until he stopped. Somehow the pros had known, using their dark, auction-hunting magic.
The problem is not that I don't know where it's been. The problem is that I do know where it's been.On the other side of the door, I could hear footsteps. "I hope you guys er ready!" A click, and the door rumbled upwards, a spreading sea of light silhouetting our sex-captor. "Bam! Mouth-Punch!" I said, doing just that as I ran past the villain. He fell to the ground, and I stopped a few yards away. It felt a bit too easy. Although I've often told people that I have "the eyes of a Van Damme" I can't say the same for my arms or chest or any other parts of me. How did I escape from this sex dungeon so easily? "Ow! That really hurt!" my prospective rapist said from the ground, rubbing his jaw. He was the owner of the storage complex, a sweaty man, with the name Daryl stenciled across the breast of his shirt. "Then I did it right." "I don't understand," Daryl said, looking hurt. "I tried to explain things to him," Ed said, emerging from the locker, his ball gag hanging around his neck. He shook his head. "Fucking newbs." "Get the hell out of here you fucking newb," Daryl said, standing up. "It's all money, money, money with you, isn't it, never sex, no, its never dirty clutching sex. We got no need for your ivory-tower sorts 'round these here storage facilities." "How about the police? You got need for the police round here?" Daryl looked worried. "You wouldn't." He was right, I wouldn't. I went through a bit of a crying wolf spell a few years earlier, claiming outlandish crimes were occurring and seeing what happened. Regicide, that kind of thing. Now I need my parents permission to call the police. Wordlessly, I left the strange storage folk, letting them stew in fear for awhile, before they got around to stewing in other, worse things.
"Yes of course I keep $50,000 on hand in case someone comes in here looking to offload two tons of herbs and forty Druish staves."The auction hunters on these shows all own their own pawn shops, and can sit on the mundane goods for months until they sell. As for the exotics, the people willing to pay a fortune for them are often as rare as the object itself. With my vintage Edison ball-gag, I was stuck with something possibly very valuable, but with no way to capitalize on it. I tried putting it on eBay, hoping that word would spread amongst the freaks that it was out there. But the bidding stopped at $18, and the emails I got concerning the auction were the worst things I've ever seen on the Internet. Trawling around sex shops and the back end of Craigslist looking for parties interested in vintage ball gags felt like a good way to actually meet parties interested in a vintage ball gag, which no sane man should ever want to do. I don't want to throw it away, but don't want it anywhere near me, because if seen, it will cause problems in my community. So I'm going to put it in storage until I can figure out what to do with it, along with several cases of green shorts which can't go anywhere but up in value. This will mean going back in to storage land, so if no-one sees me in a couple days, please, please come looking for me, with your most sympathetic, least judgmental eyes. _____________________________________________