Rather than spending Sunday morning drifting peacefully in and out of dreams about owning a Street Fighter 2 arcade cabinet or Stargate SG1 season 12, I’m wrestling with an arcane puzzle from the shadowy corridors of history known as a trestle table at the local market. I’m sacrifing my Sunday to sell bits and pieces of retro stuff in order to – you guessed it – fund the purchase of other bits and pieces of retro stuff.
The trestle table is misnamed, it’s no mere table. It’s an ancient test of logic and cunning probably created by the Hittites of the Bronze Age to befuddle the likes of me. And befuddle it does, eloquently, as I attempt to get the legs out and the damn thing upright.
After minutes of haphazard fiddling, I gain a stable platform. That’s when they come. They are the other stall holders, who – in the darkness – take it upon themselves to rummage through your stuff before you’ve even unpacked it from boxes. Like tripod aliens from War of the Worlds, they flick from box to box with their dinky little search lights, mumbling and murmuring from beneath their stained Movieworld caps and greasy hair, generally being annoying twats.
I feel violated, touched obscenely.
The worst part is that these cretins, these tainted carnie folk, will buy what they deem worthwhile off you then take it to their stall, hike the price by $10 and then re-sell it! The dirty little nazis. Yes, that’s right, you con artist stall holder. You with your high vis vest, bald patch and one sad tooth searching for its companion teeth in a blackened cake hole that hasn’t seen Colgate since Desert Storm.
All this – combined with the crazy scenes of yelling as stall holder and customer alike accuse each other of everything from petty theft to pedophilia – contributes to an underlying seedy feeling.
This isn’t a market, this is the fringes of civilisation itself.
Step right up folks, buy your pirate DVDs, belt buckles and leave your soul at the door! This is no-mans land. Dante didn’t dare to put pen to paper about this circle of Hell.
It’s not all bad though, I did manage to score a chipped Playstation 1 and Street Fighter 2, Mega Man X, Battletoads and Yoshi’s Island for the SNES for $4 apiece. Awesome deal. I also made a tidy profit shedding some NES carts, Xbox 360 games and a few other things I didn’t need or want.
Looking forward to next time. Sort of.