The Auctioneer and the Career-Ending Comma #microcosms

Philip Ribbault disliked auctioning Japanese erotic carvings. It was like waiting for the second boot to drop; as soon the artistically-crafted genitals were paraded in front of the bidders you waited for the stifled snigger or suppressed snort. Until his first auction he hadn’t realised how many ways a penis could be represented in wood or stone. Normally he’d say no, but Masterton asked him to come and what Masterton wanted, Masterton got. ‘Charity’ was all he’d said.

To make matters worse, Masterton and his business nemesis, Outwood McGee were competing for this highly polished, bulbous-veined oak monstrosity.

‘Do I hear 15?’

They both glared at him. He knew he had to drop the hammer for Masterton and here was the hesitation he was looking for. That was when Dolores, manning the phone bids said, ‘Someone called, Phil.’

Who was phoning in a bid, now? He glared at the woman. She stared blankly back. ‘Well?’ he demanded.

She shook her head frantically and indicated, with her eyes, where Masterton sat.

Damn. He knocked his hammer and said, ‘Sold to…’

Uproar. Somewhere his mind registered, ‘15’. He took in Masterton, on his feet, furious and McGee, leaning back, grinning. McGee had bid and he had dropped the hammer on his boss and path to success.

He was dead; no, worse – a laughing stock, an out-of-work laughing stock. He spun to Dolores. ‘Why’d you say some called?’

‘I didn’t’, sir.’

‘You said ‘Someone called, Phil’.’

‘I wasn’t talking to you, sir.’ She indicated her mobile. ‘I was telling my husband the name of a plumber. It’s someone called Phil. I wouldn’t call you Phil, sir.’

A plumber. After the rodding through he was about to receive, the last thing he’d need was a plumber.

This story comes courtesy of the latest Microcosms prompt: Someone called Phil, charity auction, comedy: click here to find the prompt and give it a whirl

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. 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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14 Responses to The Auctioneer and the Career-Ending Comma #microcosms

  1. Ritu says:

    Uh oh! Misunderstandings!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh dear, Geoff, a tough situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    No internet bidders thank goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah,damn that punctuation!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the name Outwood McGee. Do you suppose his nickname is Woody? Seems like Philip had his fill of Phils in this story.


  6. Poor Phil_ip. I laughed out loud. Pro’ly poor Delores, too. Good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    Outwood McGee! You sure do pull the niftiest names out of the hat. Yes, commas can make all the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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