CHAPTER 3 An Auction

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith   All rights reserved.

The Auctioneer, a young woman dressed in a nice business suit skirt, stood on the top steps of the Courthouse. She was reading properties off one by one with a cell phone in her hand. A group of investors, dressed in slacks and business shirts, stood below her bidding.

The investors were only there for the financial gain because these days it was all about who could turn the dollar into mighty. They wanted properties that could be fixed up and flipped (resold). Buy one property and make a quick buck before moving on to the next property. It was an endless loop of investments. Homes were easy for the pickings these days, if you had the money and the eye for it.

"Given the crash in property prices across the nation...this means huge opportunities for the savvy real estate investor."

Robert Lam

A couple stood off to the side of the feeding frenzy circulating below the auctioneer. There was nothing special about them. They didn't stand out in the crowd.

The only thing that set them apart from everyone else at the auction was they were my Parents and they were the only owners in attendance. Two of the properties being auctioned off were theirs. They had the best seats in the house to watch history unfold on this little corner of the new America where an entire economy was slipping down the drain.

Dad had decided against wearing his normal garb of military BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) pants, torn and stained t-shirt, lopsided old cowboy hat, and boots with orange socks. He looked like a crazed mountain man most days at home when he was all dolled up in his usual "Farm work" attire.

And Mom didn't look much better in her "work" clothes either. The woman had been a debutante but you'd never know it by her barely buttoned pants, shirt hanging out, and unlaced boots. Normally they'd be mistaken for the Beverly Hillbillies but they had settled for a casual look today of jeans and polo shirts.

The entire transaction for each property, from opening bid to sale, took only a few minutes. It was a streamlined version. The latest technology helped ensure the ultimate efficiency for all involved. There would be no sacrificial traces left on the concrete steps of the Courthouse when it was done.

Each sale went through without incident. There were no mourners or dead bodies. The process was devoid of all emotion. The setting gave no hint at the magnitude of what was being offered on the auction chopping block. It could have been plates or plastic containers.

But make no mistake they were auctioning off people's homes, homes that had been bought with the hope and promise of a better life. Families had filled the dwellings with years of memories.

The walls may have been repainted. But they still held the remnants of the lives that had passed through them and all the marks of Father Time. Some homes may have pencil notations on a doorframe marking a child's growth or a splatter of chocolate sauce from a food fight. The history alone was beyond any price tag being offered and stamped by the Banks.

My Parents stood there waiting for the inevitable. They would go from property owner to homeless in a matter of minutes. All it would take was the wave of a hand, a cell phone and viola, another home sold. The whole country was in a downward financial spiral with a graveyard of homes lost to foreclosure littering the country.

At the Farm, I waited in silent turmoil. I was hoping for an update and not simultaneously. We were all sort of waiting for a miracle. One we wished for with our whole beings.

But would the miracle come?

I had my doubts. Major fucking doubts.

"Although the market arguably started its crash back on October 1, 2008, the Black Week began on October 6th and lasted five trading sessions. During that week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would fall 1,874 points or 18.1%. In that same week, the S&P 500 would fall more than 20%."

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