Sunday, 3 a.m.
I creep down the sidewalk toward my truck, parked in front of the neighbor’s house half a block away from my own. I have a garbage bag full of clothes in each hand. The mist in the air is familiar, but distantly so. This isn’t the atmosphere guys with little kids are supposed to be exposed to. It’s for after-parties and dawn patrols.
I set one bag down and fumble for my keys, dropping them in the street.
The neighbor’s dog barks. Shit.
I’ve had a couple drinks, but it seems that my senses are sharper than usual. I hiss the name of the neighbor’s dog and tell her to hush. I pick up the keys noiselessly and open the camper top.
Headlights wash across the intersection at the end of the block, and a Prius follows them through, silent as a ghost.
I shove the bags into the only remaining space in the bed of the truck and force the door closed. That’s it. None of this will ever come back here.
Saturday, 6:00 p.m.
“Maybe we should see if those guys want to go get pizza or something,” I say as we pass our friends’ house in the minivan.
“Really?” she says. “We’ve got a lot to do before tomorrow.”
“You think it’s gonna take that long?” I say. “I thought you had it all sorted out.”
“Hah! We’ve got a long way to go.”
After feeding the kids and getting them to bed, we will spend seven hours sorting through outgrown baby clothes, finding mates for forgotten shoes, searching on hands and knees for components to cheap plastic playsets that someone handed down to us or gave as birthday presents or baby shower gifts. I will venture into the storage space under the stairs to find a box for a ball-popper and discover an entire world of once-crucial baby gear that has fallen into disuse. Infant car seats. Double Snap-n-Go. Bath seats. Nursing pillows. Bumbo chair.
Four hours after going to bed, we will wake up, drive to the affluent suburbs 20 minutes north and hawk our wares in an enormous parking lot under an unrelenting sun. Our children will sweat and whine, and wander like urchins through the twice-yearly open-air market where parents and other purveyors of used children’s goods vie for the attention of young pregnant women pulling red wagons or filling their newly purchased, slightly-used baby joggers with tiny, adorable dresses.
Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
We count out two hundred twenty two dollars on the dining room table, mostly in fives and ones, and feel very pleased with ourselves. We don’t discuss how our profits would translate into hourly pay.