At … three minutes of nine… on Tuesday… I was ‘there’; parked off to the side of ‘in the driveway’… of … the Charles’ estate. No one else was there. It was a little cool out. These combined to decide me to… wait in the truck.
FIFTEEN minutes later a ‘family member’ arrived. It was not the family member I had most recently spoken with BUT I had, over the past six years… spoken with… THEM. They were a husband and wife team. They got out. I got out. We greeted and…
“We don’t have a key.”
So now WE stood outside and waited making smallish small talk about nothing to do with ‘antiques’. They knew… and still know… what I ‘do’. And they… particularly the wife… do not like it in its core result. They would prefer that I be a ‘for the benefit of all’. THAT hidden opinion I knew to be and thereby knew that THEY were here to act as a train switch tender to …switch any discovery of gold by I across tracks to ‘benefit all’ and AWAY from I. I also knew that included further cross-track-switching to reach the ‘benefit them’ track. Since, in my logical projection of mind upon the contents of Charles’ estate, I did NOT include ‘finding something good’… I remained… cool, casual, calm and conversational while hiding my own addenda of ‘get this over with and me out of here as fast as possible’. This I capped with “WHERE’S THE TEAM WITH THE KEY LET’S GO”.
They arrived… a full half hour late… WITH another H&W (husband and wife) team… in their separate vehicles. That was four vehicles in the driveway ‘suddenly’ ‘at nine’. To no surprise the ‘neighbor’ who “WATCHES THE PLACE” came right out, right over and had all quelled …including I having a meet and greet handshake… and… was ‘shoed’ away ‘the hard way’. HE would have stayed for the show. NOW it was ‘almost ten’. I… was NOW ALMOST…; I’ll let it go.
AFTER saying “WE WILL WALK THROUGH QUICKLY AND THEN I WILL SPEAK”; a standard line delineating standard action to be taken… WE were ‘off’. I do this walk through fast so the …assembly of good folks… had trouble keeping up. I say nothing. THEY wouldn’t shut-up… in addition to obsessively handling EVERYTHING THEY… thought was “ANTIQUE” (verbally expressed). I am used to that mire. I kept moving. BEFORE the miracle of divine illumination of antique gold could bloom… I was “done with the house” and “headed out to the barn” even though murmurs reached my ear that I was “missing a lot”. I wasn’t “missing it”. I WAS AVOIDING IT… successfully.
The house ‘had nothing’.
The… BARN had nothing.
The shed, woodshed, old summer kitchen and the various crawl spaces above… from the barn back to the house ‘had nothing’. I sensed no layers of ‘old’ ‘beneath’ ‘Charles’ estate’. WE… were finalizing the walk through. WE arrived “IN” Charles’ little “his workshop” butted off the ‘wood shed’ – ‘old summer kitchen’. The little shed room had a door that opened, two old made-by-Charles workbenches and “his tools”. And, I discerned… another door “THAT’S TOO HIS SHED” off one side. I opened that. It was jammed full… of antiques.
This attached shed; a homemade building, was a room of about six by eight feet with a ceiling of MAYBE seven feet… that Charles had made to …put stuff in. He never had a lot of “stuff “ to ‘put’ but… to my thunder clap of my eye focusing mind… he did… once… put ‘antiques’ in there.
What I saw, first, was a ‘desk’ ‘taken apart’ (top off, drawers out, base covered) in the middle of other antiques that I quickly denoted to include a ‘Roger’s Group’, an ‘oriental rug’ and a… notably formal ‘Empire’ side chair amongst ‘other stuff’ of the same period (1810-1850) … such as a… milk glass based etched font “KEROSENE” “LAMP” …that was actually an earlier ‘fluid lamp’ that had a …kerosene burner adopted to it AFTER the Civil War. I am NOT doing a listing. I don’t need to because…
I WAS OFF ON AN inter-galaxy inter-mind space flight that was at LIGHT YEARS speed moving to arrive at the FOUNDATION OF THE UNIVERSE of “THIS” “IS SOPHIA’S DESK”.
WHERE I WAS… in this shed room with SIX OTHER PEOPLE trying to ‘wedge in’ was… described by I in this narrative WAY BACK in …Part Eleven… in the discussion of the two perpetual utterances by my grandmother. I bring the whole discussion of the ‘Sophia’s desk’ utterance up in full right here BECAUSE THAT WAS where I WAS:
‘The first utterance is deceptively simple. It was… and is… “I cannot find Sophia’s desk”. It adjusted after the …property sale (to summer people in 1962)… to “never could find” or “never did find” “Sophia’s DESK”. What desk? One would think that ‘everyone’ would ‘know’, at the least, ‘what’ or ‘about’ the desk and the merit of ‘finding it’ by the way my grandmother relentlessly uttered this utterance. As it actually stood… no one knew what she was talking about and… didn’t care. This included ME. Who cares about an old desk that they’ve never seen and only some old crone utters about every now and then. Further, my grandmother had never ‘seen’ this “Sophia’s desk” herself. She had only… vaguely… “heard” “it” “is in there”. That was all she could ‘bring to the table’ except that it was supposed to be a ‘Tambour” desk… what ever that is. The only thing that was cohesive about this utterance was THIS UTTERANCE. For myself, ‘a desk’ came and went constantly in physical fact; just about as CONSTANTLY as I heard this utterance. This utterance, behind it’s “deceptively simple”… is part of the “is” that …is the “it” (Part Ten). This utterance desk is “Sophia’s desk: She was the wife of Captain Merritt Kimball. It was her desk that the captain bought for her.” “In Salem”.’
This… I knew INSTANTLY and… am standing in that shed room about twenty seconds past ‘instantly’. I KNEW I had found THE UTTERANCE “Sophia’s desk” I… knew this by FEEL. This I dosed with ‘think’. AS THE SECONDS TICKED in foundation grade slow, slow, slow motion… with my eyes passing over the WHOLE of the pile that showed… ‘a Tambour desk’ in the middle of … ‘someone cleaned out a room of a… American Federal sea captain’s mansion… that was ‘full’ of its ‘original contents’ dating to …and past… “The Civil War”… and put ALL OF IT in …this shed? ????. ‘You… (I) …got it!’ because I… I was the only one on earth who knew BY FEEL… and ghost whispers… that CHARLES; who he was and where he was and why he was and …that …somehow:
HE TOOK THIS STUFF OUT OF … “schooled me” in the very subtle trademark traditions of this whole… Maine… romance” the (old sea) Captain Merritt Kimball’s estate… upstairs (?) no downstairs (?) mansion “WHEN” “WHY” “when-why-how?” “RUFUS” “no… MOTHER”; “RUFUS’ MOTHER SOPHIA” ‘crazy’ ‘nervous breakdown YES’. “MY GRANDMOTHER… said so (Part Two)… SHE in “HOSPITAL IN ?” THEN. 1962. THIS WAS HERS. NOT UPSTAIRS. My grandmother would have found it. DOWNSTAIRS. PARLOR. Side parlor; BACK from the front BUT OFF the front… PARLOR. HER ROOM… with THIS DESK. THIS CHAIR. ROGERS GROUP. LAMP. She wrote letters ON HER GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S… the wrecker’s daughter’s Sophia’s… “desk”… that Captain Merritt Kimball bought for her… “In Salem”.
One minute and ten seconds had past. The discovery was over. I realized that the other people in the room were looking at me. I uttered fatal words: “Looks like we found something”.