Returned and standing on the top step before the front door to the Savage mansion, I reviewed the boot scrappers (Part One) as I.... “the door is closed... this time”. I knocked on the actual door hard with my clenched fist knuckles. I did not use the old brass door knocker... above. Nothing happened.
Then soft footsteps. Then “OH I SHOULD HAVE HAD THIS OPEN” from behind the door as it... slightly sticking... pulled inward to open. Helen, barefoot and in a similar summer dress peered around the door and said... in a resigned tone... “COME IN”.
I did but popped into ‘bolt’ mode. She went off ahead of me saying “IN HERE”; to the same room as before. I followed. She kept going on out the back door of the room. I stopped. I heard her padding away, stop and start padding back. At the rear room doorway she said “SIT... DOWN” and gestured with her coffee mug... in her left hand. Sipping from this, she, again, said “YUCK!” (Part Two)...and sat down. Her puffy pink feet pushed forward toward me. There were no “my feet are killing me” shoes in sight. I... sat down... in the same rag-tag 1790’s country New England Chippendale wing chair... as before. Helen, with coffee mug hung in mid air to her left looked over her glasses at me.
I remained in bolt mode.
Looking me over, seated, first downward... then upward... she ended that by saying “OK”. Then, after a pause:
“NOW MR. ANTIQUE... WE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN... sitting HERE facing each other ...in order to TALK to each other... about SOMETHING that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT ABOUT. SO ARE we going to be MORE IDIOT than that BANK or am I MISSING SOMETHING FROM THIS MEETING?”
“I... ah... UNDERSTOOD”
“NOTHING. AND THAT’S what I UNDERSTAND TOO: NOTHING. I said to THAT LAWYER why don’ t YOU come here TOO and EXPLAIN this MEETING OF YOURS to BOTH OF US. BUT he won’t COME.”
“Well I understand that I am HERE to examine your family’s estate contents in order to...”
“IT’S MY ESTATE CONTENTS: I AM THE HEIR.”
“Right... ah... TO LOOK at that and...”
“BEGIN TO MAKE ME CLEAN UP THIS CLUTTER. I should be hiring a CLEANING WOMAN shouldn’t I; not you. NO OFFENSE.”
“No offense. Right. I mean no... ah... the PURPOSE is to examine the house contents and TELL YOU about it; what the CONTENTS IS and HOW VALUABLE it is so that YOU KNOW THIS... in as much detail as YOU WISH... and may DO what ever YOU wish with YOUR estate contents.
“WHAT IF I don’t want to WISH to DO ANYTHING with MY CLUTTER. MAY I do THAT TOO?”
“Of course. It always all YOURS to do ANYTHING you wish to with.”
“WISH TO NOT even be LISTENING to THIS. HOW ABOUT THAT.
“Yeah... well... Ok... I can just leave and that’s that.” I said starting to stand up.
“SIT DOWN I’M JUST TRYING TO FIND OUT. Now WHY is this all about WHAT. OR IS IT WHAT about WHY. DO YOU SEE that THEY are IDIOTS at that BANK. It’s MY BANK I tell them.”
I sat back down and looked across the room to the left. The white milk glass compote was still on the table (Part Three). But... I noted... one of the boxes of letters... from the pile on the floor to the table’s left... was now set beside the compote. I ‘that’s the box of letter that she showed the Historical Society (Part Eight)’ I said to myself... within my micro second quick scan ...over there.
She saw the glance.
“I... remember you TALKING ABOUT THAT. NOW... WHEN do we... WELL WHERE DO WE... go from THAT. I MEAN: Is that DONE? I UNDERSTAND THAT. You spoke to me about it and I UNDERSTOOD what you said. I LIKE that compote and I LIKE IT THERE. Is there something I have to do ABOUT THAT?”
“That? No. Right. That’s a good example. We did that. It is done. We just do that; what we did there, to everything in the estate. Every room.”
“EVERY ROOM. That will take FOREVER”.
“No it won’t. I do it all the time. I walk through quickly ALL of the rooms and then say what I see; sort of a what I’m up against... well... actually what YOUR up against summery. Then I go through room by room and... well... configure the contents. Then I tell you what I’ve configure. Then YOU tell me what you think of that and if you want anything more. And, like, well... who you want to know this; your bank, the lawyer, whoever. Its your stuff. You’re in charge.”
“Ok... OK Mr. Antique... NOW I SEE that I’m not getting very much I don’t ALREADY HAVE AND have to let you RAMPAGE around MY HOUSE while I WATCH. RIGHT? Then you tell me what YOUR RAPPAGE was ALL ABOUT as if I DON’T ALREADY KNOW. So suddenly... I am suppose to CARE about what YOU DO as being something I NEED TO DO?”
“Well I... you see... I CAN LEAVE.”
“NOW JUST A MINUTE. You were a PERFECT GENTLEMAN the last time and I DID find you KNOWLEDGEABLE and INFORMATIVE. Really. So... IF THAT is what we can DO in here; IN THE HOUSE, well ...I SUPPOSE I can LEARN MORE from you. BUT I can’t take the TIME today to be ALL OVER THE HOUSE with you. I’m going OUT TO LUNCH and TOLD YOU THAT”.
“Yes... right. So... ah.. we could make a START... and then talk and THEN decide where to go from THERE.”
“Yes... THERE. By eleven you think?”
“Oh certainly. We’ll just step into a room and start THERE.”
“What room. What about THIS ROOM?
“Well... we’ve sort of FINISHED this room. I mean: We did the compote, this chair... identified the boxes of letters. There’s not much else we can do in here on this... FIRST REVIEW. We just leave everything the way it is. That’s another thing about this; the walk through; this first review... I don’t disturb anything. We don’t want to mess anything up.”
“IT’S ALREADY MESSED UP. THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: CLUTTER BUG.”
“EILEEN FISHER FROM SCARDALE!”
“Oh... the appraiser. No. This isn’t that. WE... we do this OURSELVES. It’s NOT clutter. YOU know that. WE don’t need to mess it up until WE know WE WANT TO. I just LOOK AT IT. All of it.
“THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT from what I EXPECTED. You doing this VERY differently aren’t you.”
“I do this all the time. We don’t want to make a mistake in an estate like this. Until WE know... what I FIND... we don’t mess things up.”
“NOW WHY... don’t you... EVEN THOSE LETTERS.. well... I MOVED some of them THERE.” Helen said pointing to the box of letters next to the compote.
“I know that; I saw that.”
“SAW THAT; that I MOVED the BOX THERE?”
“You saw that. HOW? ...Why?
“That’s my job to do that. That’s what I DO. I see that; the box was moved.”
“Oh my God. I didn’t MEAN TO do THAT.”
“That’s nothing. It’s nothing.”
“WELL I tried to READ some of the letters but they are SO BORING.”
“Most old letters ARE boring. I can’t read ‘em either.”
“Somebody reads those? Don’t they?”
“Yes. Archival; Archives. We’ll get to that. We don’t need to now. Trust me. We just leave the letters there. WE know they’re there. We’re DONE for now.”
“OH GOOD. What time is it”.
“No. I mean done with the letters.”
“Oh. I though we were done with this MEETING. I’m sorry.”
“Well... we CAN stop if you’d like.”
“WELL... WHAT ARE we going to DO then.”
“I suggest we go in another room; Just one room. Now. Today.
“Today? Another room? WHAT ROOM? I mean; THEY’RE MESSY.”
“That doesn’t matter. Don’t clean them up! Leave them. We want to see them just the way they are. They won’t be the same if you CLEAN THEM.”
“Clean them? I don’t want to CLEAN THEM. It’s just the clutter. I AM a CLUTTER BUG. OK?”
“Just don’t worry about. I WORK in cluttered rooms all the time. It’s more fun.”
“More to look at. Makes it more fun.”
“Oh... well... TELL ME WHAT ROOM. SOME ROOMS... maybe not TODAY. OK?”
Sure. Yeah... how about THAT ROOM.” I say gesturing from my seated position up past Helen in her chair to the doorway behind her.
“Oh my GOD that one’s a MESS”.
“IT’S BEEN LIKE THAT MY WHOLE LIFE”.
I stood up.
Helen... unwillingly... stood up too. She turned and stepped to the door way. I stepped behind her. Standing in the doorway, she raised her left arm to rest her hand on the left side of the doorway to... block me. She look into; surveyed the room. I stood behind her trying to peek over her head and shoulders.
“Oh my God.” She said. “Your gonna think I’m crazier than a shit house rat.” She dropped her arm and... let me into the room.