Greek-American Stories: Yiannis’ Happy Bargain

George informed the others around the table that Sunday about the phone call from Areti calling his wife. “She was frantic! Yiannis was talking to her about a boat.”  “A BOAT?” exclaimed John, his head raised. “That’s what she told my wife. He asked the super if there’s room in the basement for it. Now, she’s worried he might be thinking of sailing in it. The only boat he was ever on was the one that brought him to Ellis Island.”

Dimos shook his head.  “Not a good idea! He might get ideas and find himself in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.” A grin spread on George’s face. “I never thought of that. Yeah!”

“Here he comes!” said Dimos. “Now, let’s be practical and give him a chance to explain himself.” Yiannis got his coffee and sat among them, reaching out for a donut before greeting them. John began. “Hi, Captain Yiannis. How’s the skipper?” Refusing to be bantered, Yiannis, merely, nodded. “News travels fast, I see! Well, I’m very well, thank you,” he sipped his coffee with ease.

“Big boat, Yiannis?” asked Kipreos. “It’s a rowboat!” said Yiannis. John asked, “Does it have oars, sails? What’s it like?” “No! No oars or sails. Nothing like that,” Yiannis responded, reaching out for another donut. “Why all this interest on a boat?” asked Dimos. Yiannis shrugged, grinning. “Maybe, I’d like to take us all for a little ride.” Dimos shook his head. “I don’t think five of us could fit with any safety. Besides! You’d need oars!”

“I don’t need oars,” Yiannis said, annoyed, eyeing a third donut. “Every boat needs oars,” informed John, adding, “And maybe, a motor, too!” Yiannis remained silent. Dimos, considering Yiannis’ weight, realized that he surely needed more than a motor, an anchor, and oars. He’d need a life-saver jacket, for sure. “Yiannis,” began Dimos. “You have no experience sailing any boat. Let me ask you. How much for that boat or, whatever it is?” The thought of buying it off him to save Areti from her state of the anxiety she is suffering right now was his main object. “Is it in good shape?”

Yiannis shrugged. “I don’t know. Looked good!” Kipreos asked, “did you check to see if the bottom doesn’t have a hole?” Yiannis grinned. “I didn’t check anything. I’ll find out when I decide to take it out to sea one day,” he said, casting an observing eye on their anxious faces. That response caused them all to wonder about Yiannis’ motivation. Why would a cheap-skate like Yiannis buy a boat with no anchor or oars –and he seemed not to care about its condition, either. Worse, he was thinking of sailing in it. “Well”, began John. “Tell you what! I know someone who would be very interested in it. He repairs boats and he’d be so happy to get a boat – any boat – any condition. What do you say, Yiannis? No waiting, either! I have the money right here,” John reached into his jacket for his wallet. ”How does thirty five dollars sound to you?” After a few seconds of thought, Yiannis held out his hand, and said, “SOLD!” The two shook hands on it. The money was handed over and Yiannis held the bills like a fan, a satisfied grin on his face.  Relief was felt by all. But, George grew suspicious. “Something doesn’t sound right. What’s the real deal?” Yiannis shrugged. “Look! I know a good bargain when I see one! When I leave here, I’ll go and tell the guy I’ll buy his boat. Got the money right here.” John looked up, confused. “What are you talking about? You mean you didn’t buy the boat yet?”  Leaning back, Yiannis explained, “All I did was ask him, how much. He said, twenty bucks. I told him I’d think it over.” They all waited for a response. When none was forthcoming, Dimos demanded, “SO?”

With a self satisfied grin, Yiannis set down his coffee cup and said, “SO, I thought it over.” He flashed the bills up. “Hey! I’ll go give him his twenty bucks – tell him I got someone to pick it up and – I get fifteen bucks for just looking at a boat.” He looked around. “I’m happy! John’s friend will be happy. Everybody’s happy. That’s a happy bargain, guys!”


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