Friday, December 20, 2013

Coy - Part Sixteen - "Touch My Lips" - (B)


Part Sixteen

"Touch My Lips"


I need to ...parallel park... us... on about to be busy... antiquarian BUSINESS street right now; a review and touch base on the time line of this tale WITH a ‘what’s all this about’ going on here with the sterling fork and... how all that gets ‘tied in’ with the Helen Savage Roth estate and... to warn ahead that the tale tells itself in rather blunt language... here.
            The time line is, again, fifteen years ago from when I am NOW writing this tale out.  Today’s 2013 was back then the coffee-with-silver fork... ‘touches my lips’... moment, late 1990’s.  This dating is especially important for the technological ‘improvements’ since then leave the peak-in-the-past ‘coffee moment’ ‘dated’.  Cell phones did not text me nor text photographs to major New York auction firms “NOW”.  Computers were primary as ‘on a’ ‘desk top’.  “ON LINE” antiquarian and RARE BOOK ‘trade’ and ‘commerce’ was “BOOMING” in the sense of ...just exactly where the tech curve was... THEN.  Today, it is ‘different’... right?  So... at that date... ‘things’ in the antiquarian trade (BUSINESS) were ‘changing’ due to IN COMING tech innovation happening NOW (back then).  I knew this THEN but, like so many professional antiquarians, generally proceeded in the OLD WAYS of the trade... that meaning... I crawled around in barns and attics with a flashlight and... ‘went from there’... AFTER I ‘got’ the ‘antiques’.

            AT this ‘touch my lips’ moment... and with that moment being a Maine mid-February morning moment (with it being six degrees out and a ‘going to snow’ ‘tonight’ forecast) about six months after I had left Helen’s; the Savage Estate, on my second and second room visit, with my plunder stuffed in my pant’s pockets and... an understanding I believed... that I was ‘coming right back’... that never happened and I had had NO further contact with Helen or the estate:  NOTHING (Part Fifteen).... with that, in follow thru summation, INCLUDING this February morning encounter, the ‘people’ and their actions-they-take in this encounter and... this encounter’s prompt follow-up... encounter.  This means that what is happening at this time and place of ‘touches my lips’ ...leaves me ...still... at NOTHING when, brutally, it’s ‘over’.

            What this is (the touch my lips... I titled... “meeting” but I do call ‘encounter’) was a telephone message to me from Janet Hennings; a buzzy-bee and well positioned, well intentioned, well respected and “well... well, well”... “inviting me tomorrow morning to PLEASE stop by I KNOW YOUR BUSY BUT IT’S GOING TO SNOW SO I HOPE YOU WILL COME... I have two men who I want you to meet who are HELPING US with the PROJECT so I really feel you ...well... THEY should MEET YOU.  I TOLD THEM ABOUT YOU and what YOU DO FOR US.  OK?  DON’T CALL ME JUST COME.  OK?  We’re MEETING ANYWAY.  BUT PLEASE COME”.
            I didn’t come.  I went.  I mean... it was FREEZING out and ‘going to snow’.  TOO.  I was nearing the end of cleaning out the Jed Somersby barn; the ‘old barn’ “ACROSS THE STREET”.  It was ‘mostly done’.  I was ‘down to working alone’ ‘in there’.  It was freezing in there.  It was ‘going to snow’.  “IT” (the barn cleanout)... well... ‘could wait’... mainly because “it’s FREEZING IN THERE”.  I went Janet’s, arriving a ‘little late’.
            Janet invited me in.  The ... “there are TWO men here I WANT YOU TO MEET” were ...positioned, standing, at the coffee table WITH the coffee ‘just being served’.  Trouble began there.

            ONE of the men I’d never seen before and he was short, dumpy, mustached, tweed jacketed, pipe in pocket, white shirt with tie.  THE OTHER man I ...a ‘sort of know’... KNEW as... a local hanger-on ‘at the flea market’... “DEALER” who... is NOT a full time antiques dealer and HAS A REGULAR ‘paid professional’ SOMETHING of a ‘real job’ ...WITH ‘all’ including medical insurance.... dental insurance... ‘my office’, my... ‘business card’.  Never seemed to let ME have one of your ...pretty... little... business cards DO YOU.  So he’s standing there... in ‘MAINE FASHION’; Woolrich, Carhartt, “Patty” fleece... Bean boots and... recognizes ME recognizing HIM... and his... smirk.
            The “I know this guy” is a reason-to-be moment.  HE’S a... ‘weekender’; sniffs around the local flea markets... seeking ‘historical material’; photographs, autographs, pictures, papers, letters, ‘postal history’, bookies,  old bookies, HISTORY bookies, history ‘everything’ qualified by JUST WHAT DOES THIS whacker LIKE HUH (AMERICAN history)
            And he’s “really cheap”
            And he’s “SELLS on the NEW INTERNET AUCTION SITES”.
            I ran a few commercial tests on the guy:  Zero; didn’t buy a thing and didn’t seem to even ‘know what he was looking at’.
            I ran some info-for-me banter by him.  “Pretty tame; doesn’t know what he’s doing” came out of that.  One other thing; “I REALLY like MEDALS..., tokens, old coin like things.”  He said.
            “Do you ever find any?”  He said.
            That’s as far as we ever got... until today.

            Janet Hennings; the hostess, comes to this February morning through  her “INTEREST” “IN LOCAL GENEALOGY”.  This self spearhead is ...fully... manifest in her ‘the project’.  THAT is a loose conjuring of like local fellows who’s ‘local genealogy interest’ has banded them into a ‘quasi’ (meaning ‘no money’) group that ‘SEEKS’ my language...; ‘historical archives related to ...local genealogy’.  That is how her and I know each other; from her group ‘seeking’.  I... am a source of ...supplying what they ‘seek’?
            “WHEN EVER YOU FIND SOMETHING LOCAL JUST LET ME KNOW AND I’LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO.”  Qualified by ‘no money’...:  That train has never left the station and ...arrived in my wallet.  But Janet is... “so nice”.

            And she is a ‘buzzy-bee’. This cold, pre-snow storm, meeting is a typical ‘so her’... promotion of ‘the project’.  My arrival and the first ‘impression’ was ... ‘V formation’... with this being a ‘coming from’... my once old... and now dead... neighbor’s tag-along-with-me “IF YOUR GOING IN THERE I HAVEN’T SEEN (who ever it is I’m suppose to ‘see’ that day) THEM IN SO LONG SO LET ME COME ALONG TOO”... classic at the front door...utterance... one morning... to his old friend “Cleo” (Clarence)’s wife of ... while looking away from the door out across the side yard... at.. “WHOSE BEEN DOING ALL THE BOWELING?” ...he said... of the expanding V formation (the doorway being the bottom of the V) of crap... piles... on top of the crusted snow... extending ...out across that side yard far as one... could see.
            HERE; at Janet’s coffee table... I ...took hold of my dead neighbor’s query to acknowledge the ...two gentlemen... before me; “Who’s been doing all the boweling?”... I said to MYSELF for... I can’t say that to Janet... because... ‘she’s so nice’.  Even ‘trapped’ I know professional antiquarian (in this case antiquarian rare books) DOG CRAP PILES... ‘when I see it’.  So that’s how I very promptly went to playing ‘capture the flag’ with Janet’s fork (Part Sixteen [A])... while ...the two gentlemen... JUST STOOD THERE.  HOW does this have anything to do with the Savage estate?  Touch my lips?  I was about to find out.

            Foremost for I ... I had ‘captured’ Janet’s ‘flag’; her sterling fork.  She knew it.  I knew it.  I held it captive physically on my coffee wet paper napkin.  I held it captive intellectually because... I found it.  Janet, very adept at playing capture the flag herself, did not like looking over at the wet napkin and seeing I ...held her fork captive.  We exchanged smiles.  Her smile said ‘give me that back’.  My smile said... ‘no way’.  Especially if I’m going to have to clean up the piles of DOG CRAP at your... front parlor... coffee table.
            “MR. (forget his name so):  The Short Dumpy One (‘Dump’) AND his PARTNER MR. (CRAP PILE) are BRINGING NEW FAMILY MATERIALS they’ve FOUND FOR ME this MORNING.  The LOCAL Bogg family.  And RICHARD Henderson’s WIFE; HER family.  They’ve made COPIES (photocopies) of old family records they OWN for US (‘the project’).  I want them to MEET you so THANK YOU for coming by”
            “Well THANK YOU”. I said with command.  “I believe I HAVE met YOU (gesturing to Crap Pile).” I continued.  “YOU... I have not.” I say AND extend my hand across the coffee table to ...shake hands with the ENEMY.  We shake... hands.  “You OWN... OR is it SELL... these family archives?
            “We own them but are donating copies to Janet’s group” said Dump.
            “Oh.  Good for you.” I say.
            “Yes.  We specialize in family documentation; family archives.”
            “Oh...  Nice.  You... buy them?  COLLECT them?”
            “Historical archives.  We buy them.  We’ve formed a firm that brokers... trades in if you like... historical archives.”
            “Firm... company?  A rare book firm like?”

            “Yes.  Like that but a little more up to date in its services”
            “Yes.  We offer to fully MANAGE historic archives.  We broker them but we prefer to buy them outright.”
            “Naturally.” I say.
            “Groups of family papers; the archives of whole families, we especially seek those.”
            “And this is ‘WE’ I say gesturing, again, toward Crap Pile.
            “Ricky manages the FIELD work; he SCOUTS for material.”
            “I’ve seen him scouting quite a bit”.
            “That’s a little behind him now.  He’s working for me.  I’m looking for bigger lots.  Whole family archives.  Libraries.  Family collections.  ALL family history.”
            “All paper.  Right?”
            “That’s what I do.  Too.  Part of what I do anyway.  I’m object sensitive too.  Do you do that?
            “Ah... no.”
            “No paintings?”
            “Only if their historical”.
            “So I cast a wider net than you; what I handle”.
            “Well yes.  You do.  That’s what interests me about you.  We share like interests.  I understand.  Your well known.”
            “For that; old paper?”
            “That... but... really... your estate work.  That’s where I think we can do business”.
            “Yes.  You FIND a great many archives; lots of family papers, I understand.  And we BUY those; the whole lots.  We have the capacity to do that.”
            “To purchase a whole lot”.
            “Like I do?”
            “Well... I believe... much LARGER lots.  And MORE of them.”
            “Oh.  Than me; what I BUY”.
            “Yes.  We’re interested in buying what you find.”
            “Oh... OK; I get it.  Let’s see.... well... How fast do you pay?  What’s the turn around?”
            “Turn around?”
            “Yes; I find it (an archive lot), it’s for sale.  It costs this much.  How FAST do you take to say yes or no and PAY ME?”
            “That would depend on the archive.  The consideration.”
            “Ok.  Time is very important to me.  As a consideration.  So is getting paid.  Let say I have an archive lot intact; whole... for thirty-five thousand... dollars.  I see that in it for me.  How fast do I get the money?”
            “Well... we’d want to SEE the lot; look it over.  Then.  We’d VALUE what we saw and...:  We’d configure our costs; costs to us.  Then get a price to you.”
            “Not just the thirty-five K?  You’d come up with your own price?  How long does that take?”
            “Well... it would depend on our access to the archive.”
            “I’d have to take you to it?”
            “We prefer to examine an archive ourselves.  Not that you would be a bad judge.  But it is OUR money.  So we’d want to see it.”
            “Who’s we?”
            “The two of us.”
            “Oh.  And the time.  It’s like a week or something?”
            “Yes.  It could be.  Especially if it’s a large dollar lot like you mention.”
            “Large dollar?”
            “Most of what we’ve bought is.... well... USUSALLY... say... five or six thousand”.
            “Oh... Ok.  Five or six.  I mean... I do that all the time.”
            “But you could partner with us on the larger lots.  We have the money for that.
            “Money for that?  I have the money for that.  Already.  I have a partner who does this already.”
            “A partner?
            “He’s wicked fast too; works super fast and pays super fast too.”
            “Who is he?”

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes, yes… the bastards… they’re always around… “Oh, we’d like to bring your successful work into our fold and form a win – win situation.”… In other words, “we see that you have a piece of the pie and we would like to take some of your piece of the pie for ourselves”… the nerve, dirty bastards… all feces should be buried, it smells, it’s waste, to be of value it must first decompose.