"Yes, that is an Atari 400 from 1979 or 1980. Retailed for
approximately five hundred dollars. Uses a 1.79 MHz processor, and
I'm guessing it's been upgraded to 48K of RAM. Uses cassette tape or
5 1/4 floppy for storage. In my opinion, it was way superior
to the Apple II Plus."
Anyway, it looked like somebody set up a U-Haul office at a flea market. Mounds of paperwork were strewn about and dusty yard
sale items, clothes, boxes of trinkets, and children's toys littered
the counters and floor.
We stepped inside the office yelling, "I love yard sales!
Hey, how much for the desk?" and the lady cackled, "You here fur th'
fourteen foot? It's rat otsiiiide!" as her few remaining teeth
vibrated loosely in her rotting mouth.
So, we stepped back outside. Now what? Do we just drive off? Are the
keys in the truck? Is there paperwork? We waited outside while the
lady finished chatting with her customer/bingo partner.
"Ding dang dingy doo dang!" she would holler, as her
customer replied with "Gee durn blingity shucks!" Frosty
believed they were talking about him (and was about to become
violent), but I held the belief that they were in fact discussing
Wal-Mart's wonderful, soul-saving bargains using their stereotypical
southern dialects as a substitute for normal human speech.
By the way, it was beginning to rain. Four or five kids were
running around in circles, as kids often do when hyped up on the
"devil sugar" aka "Pop Rocks". A little girl
approached us and began mumbling about an umbrella. Slightly
slurred, drunken baby talk combined with a southern accent made her
sound as if she were speaking in tongues, channeling ancient demons.
So we pretty much ignored her. If there's one thing I've learned
from experience, it's that little kids possessed by dark gods are
usually pretty boring. "Lake of fire", "Ashes and
torment", "Skin peeled from bones", blah, blah, blah.
The lady, who will from now on be known as "The Lady"
finally put two and two together and decided to "help" us.
I had reserved my U-Haul and a trailer online with a credit card, so
she should not have had very much to do. The reservation for a
truck, trailer, dolly, and furniture pads was close to $600 for the
trip to Richmond, *BUT*
She decided that I only had to pay by the day, or something,
because she began backspacing every price on my reservation,
replacing said prices with much lower numbers. In my head, I began
to get the idea that I was being undercharged, but I was still very
confused about it. Where was she getting these numbers? Is this
extra? Because I'd already reserved everything.
She kept repeating, as she held my precious credit card in her
hand, that they never completely trained her. In actuality, they
probably simply gave up on her. Perhaps she was hard of hearing, or dyslexic
but everything that required spelling or numbers had to be repeated
"Your name?" she would ask.
"Michael" I would respond.
"No, damnit! I give up. Call me Mike."
2: Setting Up the Trailer