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7 Fantastically Weird and Terrible Things I Saw at an Indoor Flea Market in New Jersey (Part 2)


November 13, 2013 by J.C. Lillis

So my friend reminded me the other day that I’m a slacker and never finished Part 2 of this post about all the weird shit we saw while thrifting in New Jersey. It’s partially because I’m a horrible, inconsistent blogger and also partially because I can’t look at most of these photos without a wearying hopelessness seizing me in its clever little tendrils. But my friend who asked for Part 2 is awesome and also has a very cute baby, and I can’t refuse people with cute babies, or else they might ask me to babysit as revenge. (Just kidding, awesome friend! Your baby wouldn’t be revenge.)


Anyway, here’s part 2. (I used up most of the “fantastically weird” things in part 1; I should probably change the name of the post to “moderately weird and/or melancholy,” but let’s not get technical.)


1.       The Underworld Speedboat

“Yo. Boats ‘R’ Us.”

“Yes, hello. This is Charon speaking.”

“. . .Sharon who?”

“CHARON. Mythological ferryman of the dead?”

“Oh, right! ‘Sup, dude?”

“Well, I’ve been shepherding souls to Hades in this glorified rowboat for centuries, and I just think it’s time for a change. The skull adornments and the creepy bone lanterns are nice and all, but today’s newly deceased souls are so jaded. They just think I’m campy, you know? I need a vessel that says DESPAIR in a way that cuts deep. Something that says ‘Hey there, I’m a rotting remnant of your lost childhood! Remember how everything is finite and nothing really matters and everything and everyone you love will die?’”

“Check out Model 24X-4HW568.”

“Ah! It’s PERFECT.”


2.       A Suitable Failure

“Hey. I need a Halloween costume.”

“It’s November.”

“I know. It’s for an ironic Halloween Fail party. We all dress up as failures, and the party is such a failure it starts a month late.”

“I hate you.”

“I’m okay with that. So what I’m thinking is, I’ll go as a failed Dick Tracy villain. Like, Putty Puss or Little Face or The Brow, only more boring. Do you have a spectacularly ugly red suit I can kind of just hide in, and then a fedora that would sit right on top, like I’m headless?”

“We only have that in blue.”

“I’ll take it.”

3.       Mannequins Are Creepy. (In Other News, “Every Breath You Take” Isn’t a Love Song.)

“Hey, Bob? The mannequins are stealing people’s souls again.”

“Which mannequins? The Headless Blue Suits?”

“No, the Evil Mini Lannisters.”

“I told you this would happen, Bob. Look into their smug dead eyes. You can practically see the entrapped souls dancing there, like dying fireflies in a jar.”

“So what do you want me to do?”

“People are complaining. Three souls got snatched before the lunch rush today. We need to make a gesture that restores public confidence.”

“I can put ‘em in a cage.”

“What’ll that do?”

“Nothing. But it’ll look like we’re paying attention.”


4.       Dirty Socks

“Above all, though, the socks are fun. We all agree on that, don’t we, gentlemen? They’re purple: pretty much the universal color of fun. Plus they’re printed with random paint-splatter patterns and a half-finished doodle of Charlie Brown with two mouths. We need a name that says FUN. A name that says ‘Hey, world, how about a great big hug?’”

“I’ve got it.”


5.       Fowl Disregard

“Bock bock. Bock-bock-bock, bock.”

“I understand your concern, Mrs. Little. But according to our estimates, more than two hundred children could come through those doors today, and we need to proceed as if every single one of them will want a turn at the Egg Factory.”

“Bock? Bock bock bockkk bock.”

“That’s true, yes, but look at it from our perspective. We just Windexed your glass and installed a new sign. We’re trying to make the Egg Factory a real destination for the key 3-10 demographic, and if there aren’t enough plastic spider rings, burping monster faces, and mini Rubik’s cubes for everyone, our reputation’s going to suffer. And yours too, by extension.”

“BOCK. Bock-bock BOCK BOCK.”

“I assure you that’s not an expected outcome, Mrs. Little. The odds of you suffocating under a pile of your own eggs would be very low. There’s every chance that a family of six will traipse through those doors at any second and waste three dollars in quarters trying to get some Angry Birds tattoos. So just proceed under the assumption that you can never lay too many plastic eggs.”

“Bock. . .bock bock. . .”

“That’s the spirit. Now hold still. . .Papa wants some puffy stickers.”


6.       Sweethearts

“Okay, Chad and Lisa. So before we take your picture, we’re obligated to have you sign this waiver, since you opted for the ‘Hearts, Fairy Bubbles, and Camera Flares’ background.”

“Sure. No problem.”

“It’s pretty much just standard boilerplate, stating that you understand the risks involved in having such an artifact in your home, and you’re fully aware that should you break up, it will likely end up moldering in a flea market in South Jersey, where some jerkwad will buy it for her curio cabinet and/or take a picture of it for her blog.”

“How does our hair look?”


Hm. I just realized there were 7 photos in the first post, and I’m obsessed with symmetry. I’m fresh out of weird and/or creepy photos, but this one is pretty damn cool.

7.       The Tomy Robot

If I rescue him from the flea market and feed him bowls of nuts & bolts with brown sugar and cinnamon, do you think he’ll finish editing my book for me?


Damn. *slinks back into Cave of Eternal Revision*


  1. CL Frey says:

    I didn’t realize babies were such effective blackmail/guilt trip material… (*Files that away for future reference.*)

    Is it weird that I think the little Charon boat is actually quite adorable? And yeah (this is sad) I didn’t realize until 2 seconds ago that it must be the kiddie ride you mentioned in Part 1. I’m all, “doesn’t the water get in that little side door opening? and how do they fit the motor on the back? it must be modular or something.”

    Go ahead, laugh. I can take it.

    Also, blue cloche in picture no. 2? WANT.

  2. CL Frey says:

    PS – Socks got a spew laugh and creepy chicken is creepy. How did you not come home with that robot?

    • J.C. Lillis says:

      The cloche is adorable! You’ll have to fight me for it (or we can be twinsies and gross everyone out).

      I think the robot was prohibitively expensive, or else he’d be bringing me my iced tea as we speak.

      (*giggling about the boat*)

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