Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 5th At The Redemske's

My brother Matt has always been a shrewd business man. Even as a kid, he knew how to finagle and bargain to get the best deal possible. It didn't matter if we were playing a game of Monopoly or he was haggling the neighbor about raising the rates to cut their lawn, Matt was always good at sales.

I thought of Matt's the other day as I read yet another Bryan Redemske anti-fireworks social media tirades.  Bryan is a fireworks hater. He may tolerate the pros, but I'm quite certain he's annoyed by the locals shootin' off their bottle rockets, their shells and cherry bombs in his 'hood.

Back to Matt. My brother gets great pleasure out of shooting off fireworks. He always did, always does,  always will.  Matt represents everything Bryan hates about small-time pyros.

Let's recap. Matt has always been a good salesman. Bryan hates fireworks. Matt loves them.


Fenton, MO. July 5th 1985, 4:55 PM  Employees at a fireworks stand were about to start rolling up their tents. Another year in the books.

My brother Matt, 17 at the time, steps out of the 1981 navy blue Dodge Omni. His red-striped Nikes crunches the alabaster gravel as he approaches the entrance to the tent.  Inside, he heads towards the two men behind the counter, each with a beer in hand while a bunch of empties were scattered on the grass behind them. It was scorching outside, and not much better beneath the tent.

Matt was a shrewd business man. He quickly assessed the situation to find the weaknesses to exploit. It was hot. They were drinking. It was closing time on the last day of fireworks sales and there was a lot of merchandise left on the tables.

Matt:  Hot one out here today, huh?

Bubba:  Shoooot, I'll tell you what, it's hotter than a pair of sweat pants full of barbeque.

Matt: You guys closing up here, soon? How's business been?

Jethro: Not bad last week, but lately we couldn't sell ice to an eskim--

Bubba: Hey Jethro, you got it all wrong. Nobody sells ice to an eskimo.

Jethro:  "Really?" Jethro chugs another beer, belches and scratches his belly beneath his pit-stained tantkop.  "Then how they keep their beer cold?"

Bubba, annoyed with his cousin Jethro, turns towards Matt and continues.

Bubba: Listen kid, I don't mean to rush or nothing, but the store closes in five minutes. We're sold out of the  blackcat bottle rockets, but have pretty much anything else you want.

Now some people are artists and can paint anything you ask them. Matt wasn't like that. But he was still an artist. His artistry was driving a hard bargain. And Bubba, Jethro and that fireworks tent was the canvas on which he was about to paint a masterpiece. Matt took off his cap, wiped the brow of his forehead, and began his first stroke.

Matt: Since there's only a few minutes left, and you guys still have a lot of merchandise left on your hands, how about playing a little round of  Let's Make a Deal?

Jethro:  I love that game! I get to be Monty < -- belch-- > Hall!

Bubba:  Dammit Jethro, shut your effing pie hole or I'll give you a mouthful of teeth.

Jethro: I'd like that Bubba, seeings that I only gots four teef left, three if you count dat loose one. Jethro wiggles the loose one with a dirty finger

Bubba:  Shuddup yer face, Jethro. So help me God, I'm warning you!  He turns back towards Matt with a sly smile  What do you have in mind, kid?

Matt:  "How about this: I give you twenty bucks for that basket there and thirty seconds to grab whatever I can put into it."  Matt flashes the crisp Hamilton in front of Bubba's eyes.

Bubba: "You're on kid" he says as he snatches the twenty dollar bill from Matt's hands.

Matt instructed me to hold the basket while he dumped baskets of m80s, smoke bombs, missiles and whistler bottle rockets into ours.  He then built up a supporting wall of roman candles, effectively extending the depth of the basket, then went after the big shell artillery. Meanwhile Bubba was on the count-down, counting aloud the final ten seconds. By the time had expired, we had stuffed the basket easily three times over.  I'm not kidding. It took five paper sack grocery bags to carry our loot back home.

When we got home, he dumped the haul onto his bed to take them all in at once. He then produced a calculator and started adding up their retail value.  When it was all said and done, that one teetering basket, producing five grocery bags of fireworks tallied over $700 worth of stuff.  It was a breath-taking masterpiece.

Fast forward to the future. I wonder what would have happened if grumpy old-man Bryan Redemske was our neighbor when we were teens.

See Bryan, you don't have it so bad.

1 comment:

  1. I much enjoy the recap. I should try to work more of them in to my blog posts. Also, I could have really used Bubba and Jethro instead of Butch and Marv.