A found photo, a discovered memory I didn’t know was there…

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For Sale

“How can I assign a worth to my two little girls? They are both priceless.”

“I know it’s hard, but everybody’s got a price. What if somebody offered you $500 for Zanna and Abela?”

“No, I’m not selling my kids.”

“What if they offered you $1,000?”

“No way. I’d never sell my kids, and certainly not for $1,000. Not for both.”

“$1,500? Cash in hand.”

“No. I said no.”

“$2,000? Think of what you can do with that kind of money.”



“$3,000? For both?”

“Yes, three thousand dollar bills in your hand today.”


“We just found a price point. Let’s add $500 to it and call that your asking price. So, two kids, already pre-named, $3,500. Now, let’s see how low you’d go to make the sale.”

“$3,500. I’m at $3,500.”

“Dear, that’s what you’re asking. You hope someone’s stupid enough to give you that, but in reality, this business is all about negotiations. People love to haggle. Nobody pays sticker price these days. Let’s work our way down.”

“It sounds like a backwards auction.”

“It sort of is. So the tag says $3,500. Let’s say someone offers $3,200. Deal?”

“I guess so.”


“That’s what I already said.”

“Let’s keep going. $2,600?”


“You need to say more than just no. Come back with a counter-offer.”

“I’m not sure I can do this.”

“You’re doing fine. Let’s say you counter at $2,800.”


“So the potential buyer asks you to meet in the middle. That’s $2,700. Deal?”

“I really don’t want to sell my kids. Not both of them.”

“Your personal feelings are irrelevant. This is business. I’m asking do we have a deal at $2,900? If the potential buyer sticks out a hand to shake on it, is it a deal?

“Yes. I shake.”

“Congratulations! Now, let’s look at it another way.”

“I need a break.”

“One more thing, then you’re ready for your some real customers. Last scenario: The tag says two daughters, $3,500 for both, fine. What if the customer asks how much for just one?”

“Split them up?”

“Answer the customer’s question. How much for one of your two daughters?”

“Half of $3,500. How much is that?”

“It’s $1,750, but that’s not how it’s done. Your daughters are not of equal value. Price them according to worth.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at them. Be objective.”

Girls for Sale Two for One

“I can’t be objective. I’m their momma.”

“Then I’ll do it. Look at Zanna first. Now look at Abela. Do you really think that they should be equally priced? I was thinking maybe $2,200 for Zanna. Maybe more like $2,500. For Abela, no more than $1,000. Maybe $800. I mean, look at them. They are not of equal worth. It’s obvious.”

“They are to me.”

“Well, you need to maintain objectivity if you’re going to succeed in business. So let’s wrap this up. The first wave of tourists will be pulling up soon. Someone offers $1,500 for Zanna, what is your answer?

“She’s reasonably priced at $2,500, so are you willing to meet me in the middle at $2,000?”

“Sold! Good job! And for Abela? Remember, her individual worth is lower. Let’s write $1,000, then mark it out and put $800, priced to sell. What if a customer offers $500?”

“No! Absolutely not. Don’t insult me. Not a dollar under $750.”

“Not bad. You came on a little strong that time, but not bad. Firm but respectable.”

“Thank you. I’m so nervous.”

“Let’s look at the numbers. If you sold the pair at, what did we say?”

“Package deal priced at $3,500, sold at $2,700.”

“See! You’ve got a good mind for the numbers. So, $2,700, minus my cut, subtotal that, minus taxes, that’s about $1,000 cash in your pocket.”

“A cool grand. That would help out.”

“Oh I see it in your eyes now! You’re hooked. So that’s as a pair. Individually, Zanna sold for $2,000, and Abela for $750, so $2,750.”

“So it’s a wash. If I sell them together or individually, it’s $50 difference.”

“Yes. Even if we’re optimistic, and someone feels sorry for Abela and offers the asking price –”

“I take home $2,800.”

“Well, minus my cut, minus taxes.”

“Of course.”

“You may get that customer who’s stupid enough offer full price either way. I’ve seen it happen.”

Zanna and Abela’s momma looked around. No bus had pulled in yet, but she heard a roar near the top of the ridge.

“Is that them?”

“Sounds like the sound of a bus gearing down to me.”

“I hate those speed bumps.”

“Oh, me too.”

“How much for an adult?”

“What? Dear, you can’t sell yourself. Think about the kids. Who would take care of them?”

“Just curious. Although, sometimes, desperation does take over a person.”

“Tell me about it. Healthy adults range from $15,000-25,000, depending.”

“And with your cut and taxes?”

The shop owner looked over Zanna and Abela’s momma. “Turn around. Again. I’d say your daughters would take home about $8,000-12,000 if you sold yourself. That’s already minus my cut, and taxes.”

“And without your cut? They’d pay the taxes of course. They are good girls.”

The shop owner never had a chance to do the calculation. Zanna and Abela’s momma spun the shop owner’s head around 270 degrees. There was a muffled crack, and the sound of her plastic calculator hitting warm concrete.

When her head stopped, she was looking down her left shoulder, only it was by way of her right shoulder then her back. If she should have seen, that is. Also, if the shop owner could still see, she would have seen the first bus pulling onto the oily sheen of a newly paved parking lot, and coming to a stop between the long orange strips with “BUS & RV” painted in the spaces between.

“Just like wringing a chicken’s neck,” Zanna and Abela’s momma said. Zanna and Abela nodded in agreement.

“Be good girls and help Momma. Each of you girls grab an end. No, Abela, not on the same end as Zanna. Go to the other end. How many times does Momma need to tell you? That’s it, baby. Head and feet, head and feet. Now, count to three and lift. Abela, don’t try to count. Just lift when your sister does. That’s my big strong girls. Now, follow Momma. Hurry! Here come the customers.”

Zanna and Abela’s momma met in the middle, and took home $20,000, but that was before taxes. She let the girls play the money on the drive home.

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