One sunny day in February, Elizabeth was in the Parkington's bathroom
brushing her fur and singing to herself about famous battles.
"I wish I could act out these battles for myself,"
she said. "I've always wanted some toy soldiers but Samantha and Rebecca would never let me have them in this house."
Meanwhile, Teresa was wandering into the green parlour to the desk to
see if she had any new letters from Rachel to write back.
It had been ever so long since she'd heard from Rachel,
and she couldn't wait to tell her about her latest run-in with Sonja Romanakov and ask her advice about whether she should
have been nice or politely cold towards her, considering past events.
Samantha had just finished completely re-decorating the usually green
parlour to be pink and red for Valentine's day. She had used her box full of old valentines to decorate the
walls, with little paper hearts and doilies and strings of little hearts on ribbons decorating the windows and curtains.
She'd then gone ahead and covered up the green couch with a nice pink and white fabric so the parlour was now thoroughly ready
for the Valentine's Day sewing circle at their house.
She plopped down on the new pink couch to relax, thinking briefly
about how nice it would be if they had a REAL pink or red couch instead of covering up their green one, when an announcement
came on the radio in the kitchen and drifted into the parlour.
"Come on downtown to the Merriman's general store where
we will be having an auction today with all kinds of different quality items from furniture to stationary to artwork!
Bring your checkbooks and a competitive spirit! The auction will be held in town square outside the bank."
Samantha's eyes brightened and she jumped off the couch to go and find
her twin sister.
"Come on Rebecca, there's an auction in town square today, we mustn't miss it!" Said Samantha,
poking her head into Rebecca's bedroom.
The two of them collected their purses, told Elizabeth to behave herself,
and set off towards town square to participate in a little healthy competition.
Once everyone had arrived in town square, Mr. Larson and Mr. Merriman
set up a large auction block in front of the bank and covered it with a carpet. The townspeople craned their necks to
see inside the general store, where the Merriman family was arranging the items and deciding on price bids for them.
Rachel kept peeking her head out the door to see who was in the crowd. She caught Teresa's eye and gave her an excited
little wave. Teresa waved back, just as excitedly.
When everyone had assembled and taken their seats around the
auction area, Nancy Merriman leapt onto the stage and said:
"Hello and welcome to the auction! I am Nafy Quack
M. and I will be -"
"Nan, come back in here, Mr. Larson is running the auction this evening," came Mr. Merriman's voice,
"Oh phooey." Nan said, climbing off the stage and lumbering back into the shop.
The first item was a pair of lady's cowboy boots, which was sold rather
quickly to an eager Dolores Montoya, who had been looking around the Pleasantville shops for years in search of a pair of
sturdy leather boots to wear around the rancho.
Francisca tried not to look too embarassed as Dolores pulled
on the very un-ladylike boots with a large grin on her face.
Wondering what all the fuss was about, several of the
local children had wandered into town square as well. Mei Mei and Vera were watching the proceedings from their hideout
in the bank roof, and Britta had climbed up on her laundry box in order to see over the crowd.
One of the biggest items was next up on the stage: an entire wrought-iron
stove complete with pots and pans and an included bundle of firewood.
It was an intense bidding war between
Alexandra Chen, who wanted it for her Chinese restaurant, Lisa DeVecamont, who didn't own a stove, and Alison McCann, who
eventually won the battle by spending all of her maid's wages for the last six months. But Alison and Megan happily
claimed their prize, thinking of all the good food they were going to cook once they got the heavy iron thing home.
Next up was a beautiful gold and red two-seater couch, which Nan enjoyed
showing off by sitting primly on it, lying on it, reclining on it, and...jumping on it.
Merriman!" Cried her mother from the general store window, "Get back in here!! That item is supposed to be sold,
don't go ruining it before they've even started bidding!"
Nan slunked back into the general store again, muttering
things under her breath.
"Look Rebecca," Said Samantha excitedly, pointing to the couch.
"It's a red couch! It would match the Valentine's day color scheme! I was just wishing I had one of those!"
And so the Parkingtons cheerfully outbid an outraged Suzanne Wickon and
Lisa DeVecamont in order to buy the new couch for $500.
The next item up was a box full of William's old confederate
toy soldiers. Elizabeth, who had snuck down to the auction out the upstairs window of the mansion, saw this as her moment
of opportunity. Even though the starting bid was $5.00, Elizabeth wanted to make sure that no one else got the soldiers.
and I win," she yelled, handing Mr. Larson three crisp $100 bills that she'd collected from always winning "funniest costume"
at the Masked Ball, and grabbed the box of toy soldiers. Then she mysteriously disappeared before the Parkington twins
could say anything.
After the Parkingtons had left the auction, the smaller items were slowly
sold off. Suzanne and Cristal helped each other buy a fine Italian painting to hang in Suzanne's kitchen, but besides
that the only thing they found interesting was Celine Windmill's awful hairstyle, which had DARTS in it, for goodness' sake!
They spent the rest of the auction giggling about this until they had to be escorted by John Wickon in gails of laughter
and fits of hysterics.
Sonja had decided to stay home (or at Cristal's home, to be perfectly
accurate) with a quiet cup of tea, which is lucky, because she probably would have fainted at the next event.
that was brought up on the auction stage next was not a piece of furniture, or a teacup, or a priceless painting. Instead,
it was an entire shop. Angelica had decided once and for all to sell the dress shop, and it was eagerly bought by Alexandra
Chen, who has plans to turn it into a fine Chinese restaurant.
"I'm FREE!" Angelica yelled happily, nailing up her "SOLD" sign
outside of the empty dress shop and swinging her guitar onto her shoulder.
"No more Cristal and Suzanne complaining,
no more waiting for Mrs. Merriman to pay me even if she doesn't make clothes to sell anymore. I'm never going to be
an employee again!" Angelica strummed her guitar and sang the last few words, "I'll learn my living by playing music,
for once and for all!"
And with that, she opened her case on the sidewalk and began playing
every song that she had ever heard or tried to play while waiting hours on hours for customers in the dress shop.
her great surprise and happiness, she had soon collected a small audience and had gotten almost $10 in tips inside her case.
"Awesome, now I have enough to buy dinner!" She sang.
And so everyone went home from the auction happy in one
way or another. But nobody went home as happy as the Merrimans, who were also now a lot richer for the whole ordeal.