I found North America for sale at a car boot sale. In a box together with some old CDs and a one-armed tiny-tears doll. The old man selling it said he would chuck in a pair of cowboy boots (size seven and a half) and a moth-eaten kiss-me-quick hat, all for a fiver. But I was not sure, what did I need with a continent. I was tempted though, as the boots were my size, and I told him I would think about it.
‘Don’t be long,’ he shouted after me, ‘I’ve already sold Africa this morning and I’ve got this Russian interested in Antarctica!’
I mulled over my potential purchase as I walked about that field in the spring sunshine, the tinny sound of Showaddywaddy blasted out from a car stereo “Under the moon of love,” they sang, to the accompaniment of an approaching ice-cream van playing Greensleeves.
People had travelled far and wide to be there and the field was packed with fervent bargain hunters who circled the car boots and rickety trestle tables, piled high with goods, like carrion crows. I looked on, just content to watch it all as I walked about licking an ice cream cone, wiping strawberry sauce away from my chin.
As I walked I thought of America, I had always wanted to go but had never got round to it. Hollywood, the Grand Canyon, Disneyworld were as familiar to me as the streets on which I had played as a kid.
But the rest, I was pretty sure there must be a rest of America for all the cowboys and stuff to live in; well I knew nothing about that. And as he had only offered me North America perhaps that meant he was only offering me the icy bits, not the good bits I wanted. So, in the end, I decided to give it a miss.
I walked past the old man’s stall later in the day; the cowboy boots were still there so I haggled him down to 25p.
‘Aah, go on then,’ he said, ‘I’m feeling generous. Coz these Chinese men just bought most of the world and a whole box full of mint condition Elvis Presley LP’s for fifty quid.’
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