by Trey Nosrac
David swiveled in the passenger seat of the Lexus and began firing questions like a detective going after a perp beneath a bare light bulb.
“Are you buying a yearling this year?” he asked.
“Are you selling a yearling this year?”
How do you think world events and viruses will affect sales?
“Probably not good.”
“Are you going to the sales?”
“Why not? When you dragged me to Harrisburg, you were as happy as a pigeon with a French fry. Is it the virus?”
I heaved a sigh and said, “The regular sales have landmines — staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, going through airports, and long drives. Right now, I’m not feeling the buzz.”
“Did you consign your yearling?”
“Possibly. I’ve bought and sold horses online a few times, and those deals worked out fine. But online sales lose the panache of being in the arena and listening to the auctioneer. I miss the horse bidding fever at a live auction.”
He said, “You’d better do something.”
“This year is messed up. Question marks are everywhere. Will the virus run rampant? Will the casino money hang around? Are some state programs in trouble? How many sales will be canceled? What about new online sales companies? Will the stock market crash? How will the supply and demand factor shake out? Are the old methods best, or are new options going to appeal to the remaining buyers? When should I put the yearling on the block? What about the Murder Hornets? This year is crazy; all the possibilities give me a headache. In the words of Jeff Bridges singing as Otis ‘Bad’ Blake, an alcoholic singer on the soundtrack of the excellent film Crazy Heart, I don’t know. Here, listen to the song.”
Watch my life fall through the cracks
Like a long gone train that ain’t coming back
Where did it go?
I don’t know.
You’d think by now that I would know better
But I ain’t got a lot to show
I could write a song, I could write a letter
I could write a book about what I don’t know.
My past is pretty rocky
And my future ain’t long
Why do I think we got a chance at all?
Where does the wind blow?
Baby, I don’t know…
He smiled and said, “You’re the only person I know who inserts a music video into a conversation.”
“I also sing live. You want a Journey medley?”
“Absolutely not, focus on your yearling.”
“Focus? What am I a microscope?”
“Come on, get serious.”
I sighed, then said, “Well, my ace in the hole is that I only have one yearling. I don’t have to sell. I can race. So far, I’m doing nothing. Doing nothing might be my best plan, it’s my forte.”
“You’re not desperate?”
“No more than usual.”
“A private sale?” he asked.
“That was my thinking, no shipping fee, no consignment fee, no percentage of the sale to the company, no sales prep, and…”
“Probably not, who knows.”
“Solid planning,” he said
“I got a backup sales plan rattling around in my brain.”
He smiled and threw his hands in the air as if signaling a successful field goal,” Of course you do. Then he returned to interrogation mode. “Spill it and spill it fast.”
“It consists of nothingness until December.”
“Go with your forte?”
“In December, the dust will settle, the coast will be clear, and I will make my move.”
“When the yearling starts jogging. I shoot some video of him in action and then buy advertising space on websites. My pitch will be both original and late. Maybe something like…This promising yearling would make a terrific Christmas gift. I can see other winter sales slants — put antlers on his head or jog him in a snowstorm pulling a sled. I might even advertise free shipping if you order before Dec. 22. Even if the colt doesn’t sell, I could amuse myself trying.”
“Maybe you can afford to be flippant, but for a lot of people these issues are deadly serious.”
I nodded, “Yeah, I know.”
We were silent for a beat, and then he said, “You’ve had worse ideas.”
“Oh yeah, lots of them. When the dust clears and the snow falls, advertising money is my only extra expense with this plan. I would need to pay the boarding fee and the jogging expenses if I race the yearling. If I sell the yearling, that’s fine. If not, it’s fate. This takes everything out of my hands. I can avoid the craziness of this crazy year.”
He smiled and said, “You can’t avoid craziness for 24 hours, let alone until Christmas.”