All The Pretty Dead Things, Some Exciting News

If I had to catalogue all the items in the antique market where I work, it would take me the rest of my life. With almost 1000 booths and three giant floors, there have to be millions of things there. Yet, surprisingly, some of the most popular, after vintage comic books, Pokemon cards, and old vinyl LPs, are dead things. Now don’t get all semantical on me—yes, I know that technically anything inanimate could be considered dead, but I’m talking about things that USED to be alive and now, are not, because we have two or three vendors who specialize in selling dead things:

1) Bones

Me: Are you ready to cash out?
Girl: Yes. Aren’t these cool? (points to a bundle of narrow bones)
Me: The tag says “cow bones”. Maybe.
Girl: What do you mean?
Me: How can you be certain? But don’t worry, I’m sure they’re not human.
Me: Have a nice day!

2) Dehydrated animals

Me: Ooh, what do we have here? A “dessicated chick with moss miniature terrarium” (in the item description, I write ‘dead chicken baby’.) What are you going to do with it?
Guy: Put it on display with all the rest.
Me : Cool. Now that’s an interesting aesthetic.
Guy: A what?
Me: Have a great day!

3) Skeletons

Elderly Woman: Can you take both those bat skeletons encased in resin out of the showcase? I’d like to compare them and see which one is nicer.
Me: Certainly. Personally, I’d choose this one. It looks more dynamic, like it’s just about to take flight. If it wasn’t dead.
Elderly woman: You know, you’re right. That one IS nicer.

What I really wanted to say was, “NICER?! Lady, neither of them are nice! They’re dead f*cking bats.” But I restrained myself.

4) Jewelry made from animal bones

Me: (reads tag) “These earrings made from fox ribs are ethically sourced.” I suppose roadkill could be considered ethical if you don’t actively TRY to run small animals down with your car.
Boss: I think she gets them from an importer.
Me: Importing roadkill? Now there’s a niche market.
Boss: Too bad that raccoon you saw in your yard yesterday is gone. You could have made a fortune on it.
Me: I’ll stick to more traditional stuff, thanks. The only thing in my booth that was once alive is a vintage leather Harley Davidson ballcap.
Customer: Excuse me—I’m ready to pay.
Me: Here you go. Would you like a bag for your coyote foot?
Customer: Yes, please.
Me: Have a wonderful day.

In other exciting news, my second novel The Dome has been translated into Arabic. The physical copies won’t be available until closer to the summer but the Middle Eastern publisher is doing some great pre-promotion. The original cover was the Toronto skyline, but since they’re trying to make the setting a little less specific, here’s the new cover, which I quite like!

41 thoughts on “All The Pretty Dead Things, Some Exciting News

  1. Talk about burying the lede. It’s really cool that The Dome has been translated into Arabic and that it’s getting an eerie, cool cover. Although it is all thematically connected, at least for those who think dead things are cool as well as eerie.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. If there is one thing that should not have to be imported in the US (and I’d assume Canada as well), it’s roadkill. I could have ethically sourced a goose that wandered into the road last week an refused to move out of the way…. but I went around it. I had no idea I was passing up a possible fortune!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bones, dead animal…whatever and even more colorful people? How could you not have the time of your life working there? I so jealous, I now have real annoying coworkers to deal with. I’d rather deal with bones, dead animals and skeletons 🙄.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “All the Pretty Dead Things” — I thought you were channeling Cormack McCarthy. Don’t you have another short story collection coming out?

    The Antiques Roadshow IS sometimes fascinating, mainly due to the bogus appraisals that people take for granted. “At auction…” If that’s not the biggest continuous lie ever told… I suppose it’s the untold stories instilled into antiques and ancient artifacts that is the appeal. Humans imagining other humans, other creatures, other geological processes working at leaving a legacy. A legacy now told in a thousand booths, in a building three stories tall.

    Yet, if the *real* Apocalypse doesn’t show up here soon, thereby rendering all useless things, um, useless, I may have to take matters into my own hands.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, and it’s going to make a great title for a story to add to the collection! Personally, I think that people like buying dead people stuff because it provides a connection with the past. I love getting a piece of pottery with a registry mark from 1891 and imagining who it might have belonged to, and how incredible that it survived intact for over 100 years, especially when none of us do.

      Liked by 2 people

    • A lot, depending on what they are and what condition they’re in. We have vendors that sell old comic books for quite a bit! And thanks–the idea that people will read The Dome in Arabic is so cool to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For a science class, I boiled a dead chicken (head, feet, and all), picked it clean, and reassembled the bones with glue. It was fascinating, and I kept that thing around for years! I wish I still had it. I’d make a fortune! A fun post, Suzanne. And huge congrats on the book in Arabic! How cool is that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmmm. Puts me in mind of when ladies wore dead foxes around their shoulders. A clasp was placed in the jaw. Where it chomped on the other end of its body. I was fascinated with the poor creature resting dead and truly mesmerized by its little black sightless eyes. I also remember very well the tiny legs that hung haplessly on the matron as a sign of taste and glamour. A most lurid memory. On the boneheads collecting bones…? A lurid mystery.


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