He’s in trade #snobbery #carrotranch #flashfiction

Charli’s prompt this week isย 

May 11, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.

gran with a young Archaeologist

My gran was in trade. Once it was a sneery thing to say someone was ‘in trade’ like it was of the lowest class and unfavourably compared with having a profession. Not that she cared. She loved the cut and thrust of making a bargain. She made my dad money from his garden that allowed him to buy two greenhouses and umpteen tools and produce. And her abilities netted her a husband when she had resigned herself to a spinster’s life supporting her much put on mother, running the family bakery and grocers. She understood customer service and loyalty; she was ‘good with figures’ in the way a darts player may be ‘useless at maths’ but can subtract from 501 in seconds – practical through practice.

‘Netted a husband?’

Grandpa’s shop – when he moved n from motorbikes to electronics

My grandfather ran a motorcycle shop from a old pub near where my gran’s family had their shop. Grandpa was useless with the accounting side so Gran helped him. He was shy and never suggested he felt any more than a friendship for her. She was independent and would no more press herself forward than give a crook a discount. And then one day my great grandfather who was the epitome of a dirty old man did something which my gran felt unforgivable – whatever it was is lost in the mists of time – so much so she packed and left. Her mother, who had relied on her for a long time, understood she had to go. But where?

gran at the wheel – that was her, steering her way through…

What took her to the shy mechanic Percy, war hero with many injuries? Whatever it was, she told him she was off. ‘Where?’ She had no idea. ‘Then marry me.’ And she did.

He knew the private secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury – they fought together in France – and procured a special licence that allowed an immediate wedding with no three weeks of banns being read – the Archaeologist still has that licence, fancy seal and all – and they wed almost immediately. He borrowed a plane – he was in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1 and his brother ran a flying school so he had the contacts – and flew them to Paris for a honeymoon. And all because she was ‘good at figures’ and understood trade. No sneering in my family for a woman who happily lived up to my father’s estimation as ‘one tough old bird’.

As for Penny and Mary,

A bargain’s a bargain, whoever you negotiate with
‘Mum, can I get a job?’
Mary peered over her glasses. ‘Have you something in mind’
‘The village clothes shop.’
‘In principle yes.’
‘Great. What do you mean? In principle?’
‘Well, what are the hours, the pay. Is it legal at your age? What about your school work, music practice..’
‘Ok. I get it. I can’t, can I?’
‘If you’re giving up so easily you don’t want it then.’
‘That’s not fair.’ Penny looked furious.
‘If you’re going to work in retail you need to know how to sell your product…’
‘Forget it. I should have asked dad.’
‘Probably.’

If you want to catch up on Mary and Penny and their family, click here.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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17 Responses to He’s in trade #snobbery #carrotranch #flashfiction

  1. Loved hearing about your Gran, Geoff, what an incredible woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    I love how you weave more tales from your family into these prompt posts His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an intriguing tale of non-romance!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norah says:

    Loved the story of your grandparents, Geoff. Their reasons for marrying seem as good as any. Look at the produce! Sorry to hear about your great grandfather, though I think there’s probably at least one in every family. Interesting conversation between Mary and Penny too. Poor Penny just couldn’t get it right.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Love both stories, especially the real one!!๐Ÿ’๐ŸŽ†โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting story about your grandparents! Such a different time…
    Loved your flash and the dilemma the mom presented, forcing her daughter to learn to think through such decisions. Good life lesson!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Love the back-and-forth with Penny and Mary. True, but funny with that zinger last line.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    What a great story of your Gran! A quiet man might have taken the time to see her value. I like that she carried those skills into later life and produced gain from your father’s produce. I can hear a bit of the wise, tough edge in Mary’s response to Penny’s inquiry. Mary goes right to the details that matter without much haggling left from Penny.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Trading Stories « Carrot Ranch Communications

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