Friday, October 4, 2013

John Henry - Part Eight

John Henry

Part Eight

            Accountability... in the antiquarian world... is of little bother... because...  ‘it’s about the stuff’.  Accountability... of an antiquarian... to an ‘employer’ is... ‘Like what are you talking about?’.
            It’s about the stuff; the antiquarian world is ABOUT THE STUFF.  Antiquarians, in their pure expression, ‘don’t care’ about anything else because ...there is NOT anything else ‘in the world’ except THE STUFF.
            Accountability...for the stuff...; ABOUT THE STUFF... is a different matter.  BEYOND the duties of job (being an antiquarian)... it (‘about the stuff’) is the purist expression of ‘accountability’ for an antiquarian.  ‘About the stuff’ to an antiquarian... THEY BANK IT... in both senses; a ‘take it to the bank’ AND ...rake its (‘about the stuff’) embers together into a compact nestle of monstrous radiant heat before thee.  And they... present BOTH, when queried, WITH PRIDE and the mindful ...monstrous radiant heat... that ‘they are right’.  THAT becomes traditional type accountability that employer... may BANK (in both senses) while the antiquarian is TOO caught up in their ‘purist expression’ to notice or care.  They are ‘cloud nine’ in the middle of the ‘just the facts please’ ‘stuff-less’ “yuck” that is the ‘outside world’.
            I was seated in the stuffy office.  With the paralegal.  And her yellow legal pad.  Her cup of coffee.  Her pass-off glance at me.  Her new shoes.  Her ‘in an hour I can go to lunch’.  Her cell phone on.  Her... waiting silently as I was (“with me”) for the lawyer to “step in” (her words).  Two worlds collide?
            Stepping in... he stepped.  No coffee.  No jacket.  Shuffled shirt and tie (BB-OCBD and crisp BB ‘all silk’) looking like he just left a floor trade of Pacific Rim currency at a global connected inter-office brokerage work station that was just keeping ahead of ‘sunset’ ‘in Europe’.  He... cared... ‘about the stuff’?
            “Just the facts please.”
            I did that; the five word mantra of this estate’s third property content’s description; “Upper Middleclass Baby Boom Child Rearing” with a “Nothing to worry about or bother with.” landing at the end.
            “Good.” He said ...and looked at his watch.
            He looked up.
            “I found a good painting”
            He looked at me
            “in there.” I said.
            Up comes the ‘bulleted list’ (Part Six).  The woman was writing something on her legal pad.  I told the story of ‘finding’ the painting.
            Then I said “At first I was sure I discovered the painting but now I am sure one of the heirs has been aware of the painting for a while”.
            That’s what I was hired to do; find the painting and report the discovery.
            Skipping to nearly the end of the bullet list, the lawyer said “How much is it worth?”
            I go to the very end of the bullet list and say “There are variables; actual problems, that effect realizing the full worth of the painting.”
            “What IS the full WORTH of the painting?”
            “It depends on managing the variables”
            “What are they?
            Returning to the bullet list I step down it backwards; “The value of the painting as art... but also the heritage of the painting and the history of the painting”.
             “Determine its worth?”
            “Effect realizing the full worth”.
            “That is?”
            “Quite a spread if done right.”
            “Done right?”
            “All the ducks in a row:  Great art, great heritage, great history.  The painting is in fantastic original condition.”
            “So its worth more?”
            “To the market.  Original frame too.  That’s real good.”
            See what’s happening here?  I ...ME.. am... well... slipping away INTO the antiquarian’s ‘purist expression’ ‘about the stuff’... so as I become a verbalized gush of enthusiasm about the painting I... ‘loose him’ (the lawyer and ‘worth’).
            The woman is writing this down?  She is.
            “SO what IS IT WORTH?”
            “Ah, well... right now... with what you know?  Like.  How about twenty-five K.”
            “What do I know?”
            “Nothing.  That’s a variable.”
            “The more you know that HIGHER that number could go.”
            “Worth more?”
            “Right; properly done”
            “Sold... MARKETED;  properly presented to the market.”
            “Oh.... you can do that?”
            “Me?  I do that?  No:  It’s not my painting.”
            “Oh.  Right.  THEY do it.”
            “Right WHAT?”
            “Well... they don’t know what I know.”
            “What do you know?”
            “About the (art) value of the painting.  They can find that out.”
            “The value?  It’s worth?”
            “No; VALUE.  The better it’s VALUE as art the more its WORTH.”
            “Oh.  Right... right.  That means?”
            “It’s heritage.  In the family.  And the history.  OF the painting.
            “Effects the...; how much it’s worth?
            “A lot.”
            “A lot?”
            “On this one; this painting.”
            “How much is a lot?”
            “Well... how about a hundred K.”
            “A hundred K?  One hundred thousand.”
            “Maybe more.  Depends.”
            “More?  Depends?” he says and looks at the woman writing.  “Who knows about this?”
            “This?  The painting or its art value?”
            “Worth... Its art value?”
            “I think the heir thinks she knows its got the twenty K plus value.  She doesn’t get it at all past that.”
            “Past that?”
            “The depends; the history... proper preparation for the market.  She doesn’t know about any of that.  I think she plans to take the painting out of there.”
            “Out of there?  She can’t do that.”
            “Want to make a bet?”
            “Well... WHO knows about this?”
            “Me... you... and then her... sort of.  I know it best.  You I just told.”
            The lawyer looks at me.
            “Face it; you don’t know about this.  Even if I tell you twice.”
            “I don’t?”
            “It’s an art thing.”
            “You and your art things.”
            “It’s about the painting:  This is about the STUFF.  It’s not about me.”

            And I was done.
            And left the office.
            And did not hear from the lawyer about this (the estates, the properties and the painting)... ‘ever again’.
            I sent my bill... and was paid... promptly... with that bill including photocopies of the expense receipts... with those including the one for the club sandwich and....
            ‘Zero’ happened.
            But I knew ...that... was not... ‘what was happening’ to ...the estates, the properties and... the painting.

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