Part Twenty - D
‘Time’, ‘buy time’, get time, find time and …HAVE TIME… ARE NOT… EVER… a ‘there’ when… purloining antiques from old neglected settings in old neglected sites in old New England villages that are lost… among the large ‘do not know’ what an ‘antiques’ is.
“BUYING” an antique is, simply, “OUT”. Offering a reasonable money sum for forlorn cast away will only… and with this option acknowledged to be a moral hygienic high ground… ‘set off the smoke alarm’. Offering a HALF WAY reasonable money sum will set of the smoke alarm even FASTER then the ‘thunk-wallop’ of a ‘big offer’. That’s because there is no ‘stun factor’; just the tip-off that ‘it’ ‘is worth money’. Pivoting from these two points... I… simply look at the fixed shield of the plate glass window protecting the object of purloin and… throw myself right through it. It is the only process that works. Passing the porcupine’s drop, roll and scamper, I must here turn BACK toward my adversary, re-engage in intercourse, succeed and… GET OUT.
Absolutely as fast as possible. So…: NO TIME. Just one hundred percent ‘go’ at G-Force rocket sled sped with no plan past raw years of experience, ‘wing it’ with rocks and stones found ‘at site’ as primitive tools and staunch gauntlet running physique. Touching the pole at the end is… one half mile down the road checking the rear view mirror with, in this case, the chest of drawers in the back of the truck “GOOD LUCK TRYING THIS AT HOME”. It cannot be practiced. This is because not only is there ‘no time’ but what time there is goes faster and faster as the whole… antiquarian intercourse takes place. Then suddenly one has smashed through the window and is ‘done’, one way or a... another way.
At the stairs top… with an I know that the ‘time; buy time’ request is ‘zero’ I… actually scan the space in search of more gold but, as I had surmised on my downstairs ‘blow by’ of the stairs the first time, it ‘leads to’ …only more old hay en masse. PERHAPS at a secreted hidden corner an antique has been buried after having some …fanatic… actually carry a ‘that antique’ out to the barn, back through the barn, up the stairs to the second floor of the barn …all full of hay… and… buried it ? EVEN THOUGH that chest below is of that same scenario cloth cut… it is not probable that there is ‘more’. ?
Anyway… the humdrum of that enigma was cancelled by Mrs. Summer Place …making the noise of someone carrying an armload of crummy old dirty china found at the site of a fifty year old kiddy’s picnic ‘up and out’ of the barn …to the open front barn door we came in.
I hear the armload of china deposited on the ground. ‘Jenny’ reverses and returns to… get more? I’m down the stairs and upon her just as she hooks ahead of me with a ‘just a few more pieces’ armload saying “LOOK HOW MUCH THERE IS!”. I follow to the front of the barn. I am already scanning the ground for rocks and stones to use as …primitive tools. I don’t see any. Yet.
“WE” she says and stops, turns to me and “I DIDN’T KNOW THERE WAS THIS MUCH!”. Bending down she slides the small arm load on top of the first arm load’s ‘includes’ platter, teapot, sugar, creamer, cups… saucers… and; ‘that’s enough’. “Yikes” I say looking down upon EXACTLY WHAT I DO NOT WANT: a fragment crummy 1950’s faux ‘old blue’ ‘Staffordshire’ …machine made ‘TRANSFERWARE’ ‘OLD CHINA’ ‘SET’. The ‘yikes’ is internally a ‘yuck’.
“NOW: How MUCH will you PAY for ALL OF THIS!” she says…
I am about to…
I find the rocks and stones
To be used as primitive tools
She has laid before me:
And so actually act to stoop and point finger tip COUNT the cruddy china up “ONE TWO THREE…yeah, yeah, yeah SLOWING DOWN in my whirlwind haste to… enunciate the numeration, ad the word “pieces”, stand erect and mutter number noises and then… my fingers look at… and then… look back down on the china mound below and say: “Four HUNDRED twenty-five dollars for the CHEST and the CHINA”.
“CHEST?” she says.
“Back in the hay.”
“Oh”. she says and looks at the china. Then she counts the china in imitation of how I did that. “Oh.” she says again and continues: “There’s a chest? What kind of chest?”
“Back there in the hay. By the wall”.
“Want to see it?”
We walk back down the corridor of hay bales to the wall, turn right and walk into the ever darker back space. We pass the stairs to the second floor and …come upon in the dark… a cloth and hay covered ‘chest’.
“This? You want this?”
“That’s all I found.”
“With the china?”
“What is it?”
“Chest. Of drawers”
“I mean; this; out here?”
“Chest in the barn I guess”.
“Why? Beats me.”
‘Jenny’ looks at the side of the chest, touches the cloth, feels the chest through the cloth, peers at the cloth, pauses, turns away from the chest and… looks back up the corridor. She walks back up to the doorway and looks in there. She stares in that direction for a quarter minute and then says “NOTHING ELSE?”
“No.” I say and start to walk up toward her. I know I can sell every piece of wood in the whole back room but… I also know that doing that… making that purchase… will jinx the chest and china… ‘transaction’… so; ‘No.’
‘Jenny’ turns and walks up to the front of the barn. She stops at the china, bends down and picks up the creamer. I arrive behind her. “I remember this.” She says turning toward me holding the creamer in her right hand as if about to pour. Then she lowers the creamer and… still holding it in her hand, looks down upon the china. “I think I want five hundred dollars for all of this” she says and… looks up at me… still holding the creamer.
I… don’t do anything.
I wait another five seconds longer.
I look down at the china ‘hard’.
I say “With the chest?”
“That too?”, pause… “Yes.” she says.
I continue to look downward and pretend to look slightly harder at the china. I bend and move the small plates around on the platter”. I say “The chips.” and point my finger at …the chips on the plates and platter edges. Jenny says nothing and does not move. I continue to stare down but see her right hand rise with the creamer upward… toward… the sunglasses. “OH… ALL RIGHT.” I say definitively. The hand stops moving, then falls back down with the creamer as I raise my face to look her …directly in the face.
There is… immediately… a dangerous giant canyon that opens here called ‘paying’. It is punctuated by “DO I HAVE ENOUGH CASH RIGHT IN MY POCKET RIGHT NOW TO PAY FOR… FOR… IF… I …have to ‘go to the truck’ that gives Mrs. Summer Place a whole timeline in our civilization to… ‘think this through’ and ‘back out’. I KNOW I HAVE THAT MUCH CASH… ‘on board’. I reach into my pocket for the rubber banded money roll, snap the rubber band off and start counting out five hundred dollars.
While ‘Jenny’ watches
She says nothing.
Not even ‘thank you’ when I hand her the money. She does count the money. Then folds it. Then puts it in the same pocket of her shorts as the one she put the forty dollars in earlier. I note this.
The rest of it; this through the plate glass window purloining of antiquities, I ‘go figure’ on the way home. She didn’t see any difference between the dry sink platter and the picnic china. At all. THAT CHINA, acting as rocks and stones for tools, worked for it gave me a “she thinks is VALUABLE” to hide the chest behind. The chest was nothing at all in anyway to her. She barely touched it. Her focus was the picnic china and the memory lane of the kiddy’s picnics in the barn. That was the barn to her. This picnic ‘fondly remembered’ was unified with the forty dollars for the ‘that old dish’ under the plant. There was no chest in her view ever. She did say, after asking if I “need any help?”
“I’ll send Beed down to help you move that chest”
She did. Send Beed. I moved fast: I had two drawers up by the barn door and was arriving with the other two when he appeared. “Take those to the truck.” I said to him directly while nodding toward the first two drawers. He did. I set the other two down and …went right back and carried the …small and light… case of the chest … right up to the truck myself and put it up in the back. I put the first two drawers in and then the two Beed brought up next. Then we went back together and put the old china on the tail gate. “THANK YOU” I said and climbed up into the truck back. Beed went back to the barn door, closed it and …padlocked it. He then, looking toward me quickly, walked back to the house. I turned the chest face forward and flush in the front of the truck bed. I tied a cord across the back to prevent it tipping. I put a sponge mat in front of it to prevent it from rubbing against the truck. I jumped down and then pushed the china as a mound under the bed mat. I couldn’t care less if all that china smashed before I reached the end of the driveway but… I drove very carefully… looking hard in the rear view mirror. No one was in sight. After driving a half mile down the road I looked back again. No one was following me.
As I write this Mr. Simon’s summer place has been sold and some new summer people live in it. They use it as their summer place. I don’t know who the people are but I heard they’re from ‘New York’. This is not the end of this tale.