Podcast, Literal Systems, July 2008
Podcast, Roy Trumbull, September 2008
Finalist, Aurora Award for Best Short Form Work in English, 1999.
German translation (Christian Spließ)
Everything in this story (except the part about the alien) really happened. I love thrifting, I love yard-saling, I love junk. I moved into a huge warehouse space in Toronto nearly three years ago, and I've been steadily filling it ever since. There's the wall of Sputnik clocks, the tiki bar, the 15' high library, the deck, the chinoise figurines, the Disneyland board games, and so on ad nauseum.
This was my first professionally published story (though it was my second sale -- Gardner Dozois bought "Fall From Grace" a month earlier, but took eight months longer to publish it, and the response has been overwhelming. David Hartwell and Glenn Grant have bought a revised version for reprint in Northern Suns, the sequel to Northern Stars, a hardcover antho of the best of Canadian sf.
Craphound was there, of course. I knew he'd be. It was where we met, when he bid on a case of Lincoln Logs I'd found at a fire-sale.
I'd known him for a kindred spirit when he bought them, and we'd talked afterwards, at his place, a sprawling, two-storey warehouse amid a cluster of auto-wrecking yards where the junkyard dogs barked, barked, barked.
Inside was paradise. His taste ran to shrines -- a collection of fifties bar kitsch that was a shrine to liquor; a circular waterbed on a raised podium that was nearly buried under seventies bachelor pad-inalia; a kitchen that was nearly unusable, so packed it was with old barn-board furniture and rural memorabilia; a leather-appointed library straight out of a Victorian gentlemen's club; a solarium dressed in wicker and bamboo and tiki-idols. It was a hell of a place.
Craphound had known all about the Goodwills and the Sally Anns, and the auction houses, and the kitsch boutiques on Queen Street, but he still hadn't figured out where it all came from.
"Yard sales, rummage sales, garage sales," I said, reclining in a vibrating naughahyde easy-chair, drinking a glass of his pricey single-malt that he'd bought for the beautiful bottle it came in.
"But where are these? Who is allowed to make them?" Craphound hunched opposite me, his exoskeleton locked into a coiled, semi-seated position.
"Who? Well, anyone. You just one day decide that you need to clean out the basement, you put an ad in the Star, tape up a few signs, and voila, yard sale. Sometimes, a school or a church will get donations of old junk and sell it all at one time, as a fundraiser."
"And how do you locate these?" he asked, bobbing up and down slightly with excitement.
"Well, there're amateurs who just read the ads in the weekend papers, or just pick a neighbourhood and wander around, but that's no way to go about it. What I do is, I get in a truck, and I sniff the air, catch the scent of crap and vroom!, I'm off like a bloodhound on a trail. You learn things over time: like stay away from Yuppie yard sales, they never have anything worth buying, just the same crap you can buy in any mall."
"Do you think I might accompany you some day?"
"Hell, sure. Next Saturday? We'll head over to Cabbagetown -- those old coach houses, you'd be amazed what people get rid of. It's practically criminal."
"I would like to go with you on next Saturday very much Mr Jerry Abington." He used to talk like that, without commas or question marks. Later, he got better, but then, it was all one big sentence.
"Call me Jerry. It's a date, then. Tell you what, though: there's a Code you got to learn before we go out. The Craphound's Code."
"What is a craphound?"
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