Friday, October 25, 2013

Coy - Part Two - "My Feet Are Killing Me"


Part Two

"My Feet Are Killing Me"

            To my right ...was a closed door; the traditional... to these old sea captain’s mansions on the coast of Maine... door to the front parlor.  In the Savage estate, I learned soon enough, left handedness “carried”.  The door on the LEFT front of the front hall was wide open and a... thermal radiance flowed upon me from that room although the traditional solar radiance one found in the morning in the RIGHT front parlor was lacking.  Most of the room was in the shadow of the modest reach of sunlight found way to upper front... again... LEFT of the room.  A pair of large ‘over stuffed’... mangy... sun faded... front arms worn threadbare... olive green colored... upholstered nineteen thirties ‘wing chairs’ I could see ahead in the room and... greeted me ‘in there’.  Two steps to the doorway and a lightest of peeks within revealed a third... behind the doorway TO THE LEFT... straight legged... ‘Marlboro’... ‘ratty’... ‘old’ ...old finish on light (maple) hardwood ...Chippendale...; NEW ENGLAND Chippendale, ‘wing chair’ that was... about to become a ‘my chair’; the ‘chair I always sit in’ ‘when I come here’.  I am relating occurrence within a time lapse of fifteen to twenty seconds.
            That time lapse ended ...and ended any quandary I had yet to occasion... with a voice-off-in-the-distance boom of “I’M COMING SIT DOWN”.  I took that to mean ‘in there’; in the left front parlor... where the chairs that I could see were.  I entered.  I stood... and admit to furtively gazing in total review of the ‘good’ ‘antique’ ‘wing chair’ as ...dainty... foot steps brought a ...short, fat, summer fat person dressed... in a summer fat person dress... of floral pattern all-over-the-place... AND pearl necklace (real) into the room from its rear doorway (open).  This woman, wearing an old and crushed ‘old-lady-goes-to-church style hat on a wispy and combed FINE lightest brown hair above nerdy glasses, was waving a coffee mug sloppy full of “YOU DON’T WANT ANY I MADE IT MYSELF...INSTANT.”  She said.  She took a sip, looked at me and said “YUCK”.  And kept looking at me... as she scooted herself sideways and truly collapsed into the far-from-I ‘wing chair’... holding... in a waving around joust... the coffee as she... raised first one foot then the other and poked off her leather old “healed” (her title) shoes with her opposite foot and said:
            “MY FEET ARE KILLING ME”.
            This is how I met Helen Savage Roth.
            “SIT DOWN” she said.
            I... did... by... without knowing it yet... appropriately... sliding to MY left ...and too... ‘collapsed’ into the old Chippendale wing chair.  I was... already... exhausted... by this ‘house call’?
            Maybe it was the hot air in the room mixing with the darkness of room shadow blinded by the upper left sunlight... or... maybe Helen’s aura haze... that included a variety of smells that ranged from nutmeg to cat box, lavender to arm pit, bleach to attic and ...I just couldn’t stop my nose from sniffing ‘it all’.  My nose conclusion?  “VICTORIAN” ... “ESTATE”... “RICH PEOPLE”.  My nose calls a smell a spade.  Faster than I can... so I, the man behind this nose... was woozy.
            Helen was not woozy and did not let go of her grip on me.  I’d been flanked... both personally and professionally.  She over ran my me, my myself, my position and ...ransacked my camp.  I knew as this happened ‘why’ the ‘other appraiser’ had been thrown out.  It was perfectly obvious and there was nothing at all I could muster to fight back against... smells of ‘lavender to cat box’, the instant coffee, her shoes, her ...puffy pink toes that poked out of her pink puffy foot fat AT ME... in an... erotic overture?
            I’m used to being ‘hammered’ on ‘cold’ ‘first meetings’ but... this woman knew her way around the deck of that boat... like I had no idea and FIFTEEN YEARS LATER I am STILL ‘learning’ of her ‘marked ability’.
            Where is Eileen Fisher in all of this?  She’s about to arrive.  FIFTEEN YEARS LATER ... as I returned from Helen’s ... ‘that morning’ with the teapots and glasses... finding that New Yorker article at my place... was no accident... or ‘light read’.
            “Stand up again please I want to LOOK at you.” Helen said.
            I did... upright in front of the Chippendale ‘wing chair’.
            UP... went her eyes... then DOWN went her eyes... with the coffee mug her left hand... hanging in the air. “What... GYM do you go too?” she asked
            “You ...EXERCISE I’m SUPPOSE TO.”
            “YOUR FIT:  WHAT DO YOU DO?”
            “I ah... well...”
            “EXERCISE.  WHAT?”
            “I ah... cut down trees?  With a chain saw.  And haul the wood out.”
            “You cut down trees?  WHERE?
            “On our farm”.
            “FARM:  NOW we’re getting somewhere.  NOBODY told me THAT.”
            “That your FIT.  I thought you’d be one of those SOFT men:  YOU KNOW:  a GLASS AND CHINA man.  They all said you were SO GOOD with all that.  I didn’t figure you’d cut down TREES. AND THAT’S what I’m looking for.”
            “Looking for?”
            “YOU WERE SENT HERE.  What do I know what’s gonna TURN UP from THOSE IDIOTS at the bank.  WHO IS THIS I SAID.  “VERY GOOD” they all said about you.  BUT REALLY:  I don’t WANT YOU HERE.”
            “Then I should leave?”
            “NO:  Your just getting INTERESTING.  Sit down.  NICELY DRESSED.  It’s not brand new either.  YOU ALWAYS WEAR THAT?”
            “Today?  This?.  Pretty much... always.”
            “GOOD.  I like that.”
            I went way off my defensive status and flashed back to earlier that morning when I was ironing the shirt I was wearing.  It is (for it still be) a veteran-to-I Brooks Bros. Oxford button down... that had its collar so worn in usage life round one... that I had the collar reversed and... while ironing it that morning... I had gone over a ‘well ok but maybe this is the last time for this one I think you can see the fraying but I’m wearing a jacket so you can’t I can get away with this one but probably gonna have to give it up don’t forget that cuff button’s sewn on with red thread’... ‘wardrobe discussion’.  I still wear this shirt... and wear it to attend Helen... fifteen years later.

            “NOW HOW can I get RID OF YOU?” said Helen.
            That smacked me back from my red cuff button thread trepidation.
            “Do you know HOW you got here?” she continued.
            “I drove.”
            A silent pause followed... with Helen’s scowl shooting straight at me.
            “LOOK SHARP TACK; they say your that.  DO YOU KNOW WHY you’re here?  NO.  You don’t.  That’s because NOBODY knows why you’re here.
            Another pause with Helen holding her coffee cup up and off to the left with her head slightly down and looking over the top of her glasses.  At me.
            “I... USUALLY... am hired for estate contents ...inspections.”
            “APPRAISALS.  I don’t WANT an appraisal.  I don’t NEED an appraisal.  I TOLD THAT BANK THAT.  They said OK.  SO HOW... HOW... did you GET HERE?
            “Your lawyer I...”
            “THEIR lawyer... FOR ME... they say; that IDIOT BANK.  WHOSE BANK ARE YOU I say.  IDIOTS.  In suits.  STAND UP AGAIN!”
            I did.
            “I LIKE THAT.”
            I remained standing.
            “PLEASE... sit down” she said.
            I didn’t know this at the time but I was now immersed in the character of Helen’s most ...usual... and normal... way of managing her relations with, well... everyone.  Helen would say or do ‘one thing’ and then jump to say or do the exact opposite... with both... being DIRECTED at the current ‘you’ in front of her; banks, lawyers, neighbors, local women, appraisers from town, people’s dogs and ...I.  It is a defensive façade?  It is too real for that.  It is a fortification; Fort Helen... with Helen... a very “sharp tack” Helen, living within ...Fort Helen.  She looks over her ramparts... down at you.  I sat back down.
            “YOU HUNT DEER don’t YOU.”
            “I... ah”
            “DO.  MEN HUNT DEER.”
            “Ah... OK.”
            “NOW... I’m a DEER being HUNTED by that IDIOT BANK.  I’m not a stupid deer.  I can SEE the HUNTERS COMING.  They see me here off in the distance.  They can’t REALLY SEE ME because all they can see is some PAPERS with my BALANCE on it and MY BIRTH DATE.  They think I’m gonna DIE.  They look at those papers.  They sit down there in BOSTON smacking their lips and rubbing their hands together.  THEY WOULDN’T EVEN be SITTING THERE if it weren’t for my great, great, GREATER GREAT GRANDFATHER.  GET AWAY FROM ME I say; I’m NOT GONNA DIE.  YET.”
            I said nothing and looked directly at the nerd glasses covering Helen’s eyes.  She was looking directly at my eyes.  Is she mad as a hornet?  Or ‘as crazy as a... shit house rat’?  This last would become a foundation-to-my-ears expression from Helen... generally applied to ...everyone and every situation:  “CRAZY AS A SHIT HOUSE RAT” was here first delivered to me prefixed with “THEY” (her bank in Boston) “THINK I’M AS”.
            I said nothing.
            “THEY SENT EILEEN FISHER UP HERE to APPRAISE ME.  Do you know WHO Eileen Fisher is?”
            “Ah... the designer; women’s clothes?”
            “RIGHT!  They send this woman from that SEA LAVENDER STORE up here.  THAT WOMAN; she’s SUPPOSE to be an APPRAISER.  COMES UP HERE.  SENT FROM THAT BANK.  She comes in here DRESSED in Eileen Fisher.  You know; little nothing ass next to my BIG ASS.  Won’t sit down.  STANDS HERE.  Starts saying I’m a CLUTTER BUG.  TOO MUCH CLUTTER she says.  I HAVE too much clutter she says.  I tell her that its not even MY stuff so shut-up Eileen.  She says her name’s not Eileen and it is TOO my stuff.  I say look here EILEEN this is FAMILY stuff.  From MY FAMILY.  What kind of FAMILY do YOU HAVE Eileen I say.  She just looks at me.  Where’d you come from Eileen I say.  She says NEW YORK.  OH I say; NEW YORK CITY?  NO she says.  WHERE I SAY.  Westchester she says.  WHERE in WESTCHESTER I SAY ...Eileen.  Greenacres Eileen says smug as uncut cantaloupe.  Oh I say; isn’t that NICE... your from the NORHT END of SCARSDALE... next to WHITE PLAINS.  HOW’D you get up HERE from THERE I say.  OH don’t she just STAND THERE.  THINKS I’ve NEVER BEEN to SCARSDALE did she.  TAKE OFF Partridge BEFORE I SHOOT YOU I tell her.  That’s the last I’ve seen of Eileen.  She told that lawyer I’m as crazy as a shit house rat."

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