North of Dayton is a town called Huber Heights, where there's a bunch of restaurants and a huge Menards. There is also a little-known gem called "Mr. Flea."
Mr. Flea is a flea market, and it's in a building next to a pool hall. The pool hall has billiard tables and slot machines and pinball, but the huge sign says "NO GAMBLING- TABLES FOR SALE ONLY." It sounds good, except when you look in the window and see a bunch of guys playing pool. I guess they were just taking them for a test drive.
We went into Mr. Flea thinking we could find something cool. We're big into flea markets up here, so we were expecting a certain atmosphere as we walked in. We were not expecting what we saw.
Now, I need to clarify something here. Lisa says Ohio isn't very far south, but I don't think the people here got the memo. Everyone we have seen has a thick Appalachian accent, which I would expect in the south eastern part of the state, but I guess they're migrating. Most of the men I've seen have overalls and a maximum of thirteen teeth, none of which are next to each other. The old guys have big bushy white beards. I know it sounds like I'm stereotyping, but I'm not. I'm dead frickin' serious. So when I tell you about what I saw, you need to envision thick pseudo-southern accents, because Appalachian accents aren't quite southern. They're just flattened out, kind of.
So anyway, I put The Babe in the wrap and The Hub grabbed Beastie, and the girls all followed single file and we went into Mr. Flea.
Oh. My. God.
Nothing in this place was newer than say, 1985, but nothing was antique either. The very first booth was a place selling screen-printed sweatshirts. Most of the designs featured naked women draped over low riders, with scraps of American Flag covering the naughty bits. The next booth sold body jewelry, three bucks a piece or three for seven. Then, a booth full of fishing lures. The biggest booth in the flea market, and it's selling fishing lures. The next was Dorothy's Crafts, and I know this because I met Dorothy herself. She was about seventy, with a white poufy perm and thick blue eyeshadow. Her hot pink lipstick had migrated all over her face, and she wore blue polyester pants and one of the screenprinted sweatshirts. "Heya darlin'," she drawled to The Hub. You could tell she had smoked for years. "Them yer bodyguards?" He looked at me and the girls behind him and laughed nervously. "Yeah, I guess so," he said, and we walked away quickly.
Then a man came up to us. "Hey!" He yelled to The Hub. "Kin ah schteal that bay-bah?" My dear husband could not understand him. He looked at the man quizzically, and the man said, louder, "Kin AH SCHTEAL. That BAY-BAH?" The Hub looked at me. "Tell him no," I whispered. "Tell him NO." So he told him no, and we walked away, and I translated for him. "He wanted to steal Beastie."
We were walking faster now, because it was becoming very apparent that we were totally, completely, one-hundred-percent out of our league. To put it mildly. We rounded a corner and found a couple pool tables, with disheveled teenagers playing. There was an older man sitting on a chair watching, drinking a beer, and when I walked by he covered it with his hand. Nice gesture.
And then we heard it again. "Thar's that BAY-BAH! I'ma SCHTEAL that bay-bah! You kids want a apple?" That creepy guy was behind us again. "Walk faster," I hissed, and we did, but then we were stopped by a throng of bikers checking out a booth. There were eight or ten of them all gathered around a small glass case, and then I heard what was possibly the funniest thing I have ever had the chance to hear, ever.
In a thick southern drawl, a clean shaven man in black fringe says to the vendor, "Them stun guns... yall got them in a differnt color? I want one fer mah ole lady. 'S 'er birthday tomorrah."
I looked at The Hub. "GO," I told him. And we barely got out the door before I had an asthma attack from laughing so hard. "That," I said, "was the most stereotypical redneck place I have ever been in my life."
I think maybe Mr. Flea wasn't real. I think we had to have wandered onto a movie set. We had to have. Real people don't act like that or talk like that. At least I hope not.
My Mom Body (aaay_macaroni)
4 days ago