Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Antiques Roadshow adventure.

So I went to the Antiques Roadshow in Minneapolis at the convention center. It is a nice generic facility that seems to serve it's purpose. I walked up to the guest desk and proclaimed my presence. I was given a lanyard with a badge proclaiming I was a guest. I was told to follow a gentleman with slight limp. I followed him into the hall where I could see five hundred people waiting in a zig zagging queue. I was told that I would not have to wait in that line, I would be going right to the front. I walked past sneering line waiters smiling as big as I could. I was told to pick one of six tables to receive my tickets for my goods that I brought for appraisal. I step up to a table and am asked what I have brought. A nineteen twenties lamp and a turn of the century pocket watch. I get a ticket for decorative arts and one ticket for watches and clocks. I take my tickets and walk inside. It is set up like a hub. A large center area that is walled in by fabric banners. Inside the ring are the appraisers with their backs to the wall and the center of the ring are tables set up with cameras in the very center pointing out. Outside the ring are the lines to get inside. Lines inside are about five deep, lines outside are anywhere from none to fifty deep depending on the items.
I wheel my lamp around to the decorative arts line. Not a soul! Right to the front of the line and right to a table. I hoist the lamp up and the appraiser tells me it's 1920's alabaster American knock off of an Italian nouveau lamp. Two to four hundred at auction. Bleh. I leave the table mildly disappointed. I walk out of the inner ring and to the watch and clock line. Lots of watches, no clocks in the line. Six people ahead of me. Six people takes thirty-five minutes to get into the line inside the inner circle. I am looking around and I see a woman at furniture table. She is holding a chair. I have the exact chair at home. Sort of nouveau. Sleek curvilinear lines with some pretty ornamentation at the top. Garage sale find in college. Three bucks for it. There was another one at the sale, but I only wanted one.
I am fourth in this line and I haven't moved if fifteen minutes. The woman with the chair is being escorted to one of the filming tables.
My interest turns to the chair lady. I move up one space in line. I am watching very closely as the other appraisers gather around the table and they apply makeup to the chair lady. I move up one more spot. I am getting anxious to hear the conversation. They are focusing the cameras and getting close ups of the chair to be edited in later. My watch gets placed on the table. The appraiser tells me it's a 1910 gold plated broach watch. Worth two hundred and fify. I thank him and turn to watch the chair ladies appraisal. I can hear her telling the guy she found it at a rummage sale for three bucks. He is telling her that it is a Frank Lloyd Wright prototype. The only one known to exist. Usually all prototype furniture was destroyed so it couldn't be copied or the design elements stolen. Chair lady is getting flushed. The appraiser's hand are very slightly shaking. They talk a bit about elements. About the number on the bottom. Number 2. Meaning there is a number one very probably made, but who knows where that might be.
I know where that might be. I know exactly where that number one might be.
The appraiser tells chair lady her if number one is found her chair is still in the three to four hundred thousand dollar range. If it is the only one, maybe a million. Now most people would be happy to hear that about a chair. I see a chance to double my money. The chair lady is sliding to the floor, fainting. I am stepping forward pulling my lamp out of its basket and up over my head. As everyone is turning to attend to chair lady I bring the lamp down on the chair as hard as I can. It blows into pieces. I grab the ornate splat and run. No one reacts. All eyes are on the shattered chair. I push my way through the crowd out of the inner ring and bolt for the exit. I bust through the door and see nothing but hallways. The backstage area is a maze of corridors. I am running down a hall and am jumping through every door makes exit. I hear an alarm sounding. At a dead run I hit a door that leads to the dock. I feel the heat of the pavement hit my face and pull the air out of my collapsing lungs. The first hundred degree day of the year is not a day best chosen for this. I break for the open chain link gate opposite the door and the over pass right on the other side. It is starting to close before I get down the four steps to the asphalt. I can make this.
I get three quarters of the way across the lot and sweat is stinging my eyes so badly I can hardly see. I can make the gate. I hear yelling behind me. Lots of it. I can make the gate. Forty feet and it's looking thin. I can make the gate. Ten feet and I am second guessing. I throw the splat and land it under the gate wheel. I keep my head forward and turn my shoulders to make the jump through the gate. I tear open my shirt on the latch making it through. The splat is shuddering along the ground under the wheel. The gate closes and the splat splits apart. Unrepairable. That's all I needed.
I look up and see over a dozen guards and employees running to the gate. I don't think I have time to waste. I turn and run. My chest is stinging. I look down and see I did not just tear my shirt. I tore my skin. Not as easy to repair as the shirt by the amount of blood, I'm guessing.
I look back and see the gate starting to open. I am making a break for the hood on the other side of the freeway. I am starting to slow. I look over the side of the overpass at the traffic. It's moving about 25mph and I see a truck coming. I know shit that happens in movies rarely works in real life but I am out of option. I watch as the truck passes under the bridge. I count to three and jump over the rail. I hit the top of the trailer and roll. This may have worked! I slow my roll enough to see the trail of blood I have left across the to of the trailer. I have not slowed my roll enough to stop myself from rolling off he back end of the trailer. I should have counted to two. I look over my shoulder to see the dump-truck tailgating the semi. The drivers eyes are growing incredibly wide as I am falling.
I hear the sound of brakes. Loud. I am bouncing off the freeway and feel the bumper of the dump-truck pushing me along. Silence. Stopped. I am very broken. But alive. I hear the sound of tires screeching. The dump-trucks coworker, the one texting while driving, the one coming up fast behind, the one that doesn't stop in time. The chain reaction shows me my face growing larger in the chrome bumper. My eyes getting bigger as the bumper gets closer. One foot less and I would have been a millionaire.

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