Mark was sitting in his truck, pounding on the steering wheel with his fists, and his fingertips. Alternating fist pounds, and finger thumps, he was keeping time with a loud obnoxious music he was playing. As he pulled into his parking spot, he turned off the key in the louder racket he truck clinging to a stop. The door didn’t really lock, but he didn’t care anyways, who was gonna rob his truck? He hopped out of the red dusty thing, and slipped on his leather jacket. He was thirty-six, and was about to step into the familiar thrift store for the thousandth time.
Today he was on a quest. He wanted to find the girls a new bike seat. He had two beautiful daughters, Coralina who was loud and seven and Beth who was four years old. Beth was quiet and reserved, and barely spoke to anyone. She was so incredibly shy he wondered how he could be her father. He didn’t feel shy at all.
But there you have it, he had one daughter with his personality that was boisterous and loud and the other one was as meek as a mouse. He was looking for new bike seat for Coralina. He bought her a bike at the thrift store a few weeks ago, but the bike seat itself was so brittle from the sunshine, that the first time Carolina rode, it cracked in half. As he wandered up and down the aisles, he saw in the furniture section a large wooden dollhouse. It had individual shingles on the roof, and he almost didn’t look at it any further. Individual shingles, for a dollhouse. His own roof had less shingles than that tiny little dollhouse.
It was clearly a collectors item and probably over a thousand dollars. After an unsuccessful search for a pink bike seat, finally he asked one of the workers, “Any chance you have a bike seat?”
“Sure, let me see.” In the scraggly old man wandered towards the back of the thrift shop. Everything was piled fairly neatly, and Mark found himself glancing back at the perfectly shingled very expensive dollhouse.
“How about this one?” Said the old man, handing Mark a pink bike seat. It didn’t look too sun damage, and even seemed like maybe it would look good with the bike. Although looking good was never a priority. Function over form.
That’s what you do when you’re broke.
He looked at the price tag of the bike seat and it was three dollars. No problem. He could skip lunch today so that Coralina could ride a bike. Besides, he was constantly battling the nervous feeling in his stomach that maybe, just maybe he was a terrible father.
After all, in order to get his kid is used bike seat he had to skip lunch. That was not the sign of a good father, that was the signs of a fuck up. Sure, he’s fixing the bike, but he shouldn’t have to shop at a thrift store for a freaking bike seat, and skip lunch to get it for her.
“What’s the price of the dollhouse?” Mark said, before he even managed to stop himself. He didn’t really want to know, he might as well ask what the price of a Lamborghini was. He wasn’t going to get that expensive high quality dollhouse today.
Not when he skipped lunch to buy used bike seat. He stuck his hands in his leather coat and he stared at the perfect little shingles in a nice little line. The house was better than his own actual home.
“The dollhouse? Oh, I think it’s five bucks.” Said the old man as he started to shuffle away to help some other customer.
Mark’s eyes were so big from shock that they fell out of his head, rolled across the floor, and got kicked by kid who was screaming at his mother. Five dollars?
Not a second later he was running towards the dollhouse. He picked it up, without even looking inside. He could put it on Craigslist for two hundred bucks, and come out ahead. New bike seat, and a bunch of lunches.
Or… As he was standing in line holding the bulky dollhouse, his mind started to wander away from the profitablity of this purchase. What if he gave Beth and Coralina the most expensive dollhouse they ever had? Would that mean he was a good father? Or… Was he indulging them too much? Or… Does it not even count because he’s getting a dollhouse for five dollars?
In the end he decided it didn’t matter. And on a whim, just like that he brought home a gorgeous, eight thousand dollar dollhouse.