Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coy - Part Eighteen - "Firefight" - (A)


Part Eighteen



            I scrambled... something I do not like to do in old barns... to my feet.  I scurried... something I do not like to do in old barns... to the top of the third floor stairs.  I descended that stair rapidly; clompity, clompity , clompity, clomp.  I arrived at the top of the first floor – second floor stairs JUST in time to ‘cap him’; stop further progress from Crap Pile’s... deep penetration into MY BARN the spot where he ‘crested’ the top of the stairs.  I began ‘back out’ maneuvering right away by... without explanation... descending THAT stairs BACK to the first floor...:
            “I JUST THOUGHT I STOP to SEE YOU THIS MORNING” said Crap Pile as I... clompity, clompity , clompity, clomp down to the bottom of THAT stairs.
            “HE ISN’T FOLLOWING” my mind-to-self SCREAMED.  I stepped a few steps up the (first) barn floor toward the front of the barn, stopped and turned to look up at Crap Pile standing at the top of the stairs looking at me.
            “YEAH I GOTTA...” I said a parlance... of  ‘I gotta take a crap’ and turned and walked with definition up to the front of the barn.  Crap pile... DID NOT FOLLOW.  He did not COME DOWN THE STAIRS.  I turned around and ...looked back.  He was at the top of the stairs... paying no attention to me and SHINGING A FLASHLIGHT AROUND.
            “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!  GET DOWN HERE.” I ...yelled at him.  He stopped shining the flashlight.  He turned it off as he looked out from the stair top towards me.  I knew MY headlamp (flashlight) was on so I must... up at the front of the barn ‘be obvious’ to Crap Pile.  He started down the stairs.  “Jesus” I said to myself.
            “YOU GOTTA  A LOT OF STUFF IN HERE DON’T YOU.” he said.
            “Holly Jesus.” I said out loud to myself.
            I was not cold anymore.  I was hot.  I was not crazy any more.  I was ‘under attack’ SANE. 

There are two features taking place right here right now that must be understood.  They assist in understanding what happens next.  The first is easy to understand.  It is that ‘this’ ‘HAPPENS’... all the time... so IS NOT a singular occurrence taking place here.  ‘This’ is ...having an ‘of the enemy’ antiques/rare books DEALER make a DIRECT SURPRISE ATTACK on ...any form of... ‘estate contents purchased’ site that ‘you’ (I) ‘have purchased’ ‘during clean out’ (sort of a ‘your pants are down’ time period between ‘purchase’ and ‘cleaned out done-gone’).  It is actually a FAVORITE time of surprise attack and the intention is to not only ‘surprise’ but to ‘make you jump’, make you miserable, mess you up, ‘SEE”, bug, irritate, brag, gossip, glean, try to buy (cheap), ‘make a hit off you’ (buy something really good really cheap) and... to generally smear any form of dog crap on you ‘they can’.  (It’s not about nice).  What needs to be understood is that THIS IS EXPECTED so... my little scramble IS the correct firefight surprise attack PUSH BACK unfolding PROPERLY, automatically and aggressively here already.  I mean... I AM already back up at the front entrance to the barn reeling Crap Pile... ‘in’.
            “GOOD LUCK WITH THAT” is Crap Pile’s position on the reeling in.  Look; the guy made it to the stair top AND is shining a flashlight around.  THAT’S NOT AN accident.  He probably, I MUST ASSUME, put new batteries in the flashlight BEFORE he ‘headed out’.  He clearly carried the flashlight into the barn BY CHOICE.  And started using it BY CHOICE.  More importantly is that this whole action; the showing up in his truck IS NORMAL ‘fair play’.  I, understand, could do the same to HIM ...should he ever actually purchase an old barn contents... and understand that I would and will... be... endeavoring to MAKE SURE... ‘that never happens’.  He knows this.  So... here and now ‘we’ are ‘right in it’ an ... antiquarian and/or rare books ‘firefight’.
            Second... and crucial today (freezing out after a snowstorm February morning}... is ‘armor’; your tank, his tank, my tank.  Where’s your tank?  Back in your living room checking the thermostat?  HIS tank is... it appears... to be the ‘same outfit’ he was wearing ‘yesterday’ WITH a flashlight added.  “Cute”... and it’s ‘not gonna hold’... out the cold.  “YEAH I KNOW THIS”... right away... especially because... two and a half minutes before I was... FREEZING CRAZY ‘in here’.  And I... ‘got armor’... on.  This is real and crucial.
            Over forty plus years I have worn these Carhartt quilted insulated full body work suit Brooklyn Bridge or such type workers wear.  In January.  I have owned three.  I have worn two ‘out’.  I kept those two around until I... discerned a commercial market for ...old heavily used ratty, dirty... stinking... ‘work clothes’.  Then I sold them... to a NYC ‘fashion’ dealer couple ‘no questions asked’ – ‘no explanation given’ (“your buying those??  Yuck.”).  They... always... ‘ask for more’.  So I sell ‘em my old Bean boots, etc, too.  Hey; ‘take it where you can get it’, right?  Anyway... I’m ‘on’ the third suit and I HAVE IT ON ‘this morning’.  Inside this thing... these units... one DOES created a pretty forceful ecosystem ‘against’ ‘the cold’.  Even though I was ‘freezing’ I am STILL ABLE TO WORK and... think I’m old barn crazy.  Too.  Etc.  This unit, with scarves, shirts, sweaters and two hats... is filled out with ‘the headlamp’ (with fresh batteries AND ‘extra’ batteries in the truck).  The ‘light’ is ‘so you can see’ WITHOUT having to ‘hold something’ AND ‘still keep your gloves on’.  It works... very, very, very well... in old barns... attics... cellars... ALL YEAR ROUND.  I even have a whole ‘backup’ headlamp in the truck... ‘just in case’ and... ‘to loan out’.  (I never loan it out).  That lamp, right here now... IS ON... and has been ‘on’ in the darkness ‘all morning’.  Crap Pile does not have ‘a suit’ or a ‘headlamp’.  That means... I can beat him the cold... THIS COLD... BARN... ‘no problem’.  I KNOW THIS... and he does not.  It’s... ‘play for time’... ‘play him in.’:  I got him.

             OH NO not so easy.  I’m at the (barn) FRONT.  He’s at the back ‘coming down’.  Slowly.  Step by step.  Surveying right, left, front horizon, me, my headlamp, right, left.  Stepping down SLOWLY until ...four steps from the bottom...:  PAUSE, ‘click’, (flashlight) BEAM ON... to shine down-in “TO WHAT?” my mind voice... SCREAMS.  Then, as if it is all in the slowest slow motion he steps to the stair bottom and slowly, slowly, HYPER slowly comes forward to the barn front with the radiant light beam searing side to side HOT LIGHT over MY old New England barn’s... loot.  I... have to stand there and TAKE IT.  He... finally... ‘gets there’; to me. I SIDE STEP to the barn door, open it and (reminding that my truck driver’s door is a ‘flush’ THREE FEET outside that door ) ‘wham bang’... open that truck door and ... ‘grab’... my COLD black coffee in its cup AND a (one of two) foil wrapped (ham) SANDWICH and... doors-slam-banged... AM BACK at ‘in-his-face’ touching the coffee mug to my lips while unwrapping (by gloved thumb) the sandwich so it peeks out of the foil.  THAT peeking bit is delivered to my mouth and gets... gnawed away bite by bite... my face pushing the foil wrap back and this action swashed with cold black coffee.  These actions... are all done... in a manor... of a crazy man... eating.  Crap Pile has... in these moments... re-ignited his flashlight and has... with back turned to I ...patrolled that beam along the ...barn’s big front door ‘beside’ region of ‘buried’ ‘stuff’.  Up comes the beam; straight up... then around to roam over past my left shoulder with (his) face-to-(my) eyes contact and:

            “HOW MUCH you gonna ASK for the COKE MACHINE?” he says.
            “MUFF (enough).” I say with sandwich mouth.  “I GET.” (Rule:  I never ‘ask’ a price... I ‘get’ a price)
            “SIXTEEN”... I clearly state.., “FIFTY”.  ($1,650).
            “Oh...  How much is THAT worth?”
            “TWO... FIFTY.” I say.  ($250.00)
            Crap Pile looks at me; my eyes.
            “NOT my FAULT they’ll PAY that much.” I say.
            “You looked at it?
            “Don’t have too.  Buried in there.  Clean.  SMALL size.  RASIED embossing.  Might even WORK.”
            “How OLD is that?”
            “Thirties.  Maybe. ...Maybe the war.” I say biting the now half eaten sandwich hard and tearing the bite off.
            “But.  That...:  It was just IN THERE?”
            “Yep.  Still is too.  Get it out next week”
            “Can I see it?”
            “You just seen it.”
            “Yeah but I can’t SEE IT; the condition.”
            “You seen it.  Condition’s good.  Button’s up there.  GOES WITH IT” (included in the price)
            “Hung in the rafters SEE.” I say pointing up to the third floor.  Way up above is hanging a ‘smaller size’ round red COKE ‘advertising’ ‘button’.  (Small is ‘better... for hanging in the home... if ... ‘the wife’ ‘will let you’).  Crap Pile stares upward... then shines his flashlight ‘up at it’.  Slowly.  Then slowly backs the beam down.

            “I’ll tell **** (Dump).
            “MORE to HIM.  Eighteen FIFTY.” ($1850.)
            “Sixteen fifty to YOU.  NOW.  Then you sell it to him.  Better buy it.”
            “I can’t even SEE IT.”
            “You can see it.  Nothing wrong with it.”
            “Yeah but... that’s sixteen... SEVENTEEN hundred.  I can’t pay that without SEEING IT.”
            “I did.”
            “You did not.”
            “Bought the WHOLE BARN without seeing it.  Couldn’t see it.  STILL CAN’T.
            “What did you do THAT for?”
            “I called it.”
            “Called it?”
            “I called it; the risk.”  Pause.  “Part of my job.”
            Crap Pile says nothing and looks at me.  Then he looks back toward where the old Coke machine is.
            “That’ll fix yeah.  A little RISK.  That’ll fix yeah.” I say to him.
            “I can’t do that”.
            “I can TELL him”
            “Eighteen.  Fifty.  Go call your mother.”
            “Well. I could just come back later and buy it for the sixteen.”
            “Fifty.  No you won’t.  Sixteen fifty NOW.  Only you.  Only now.
            “Why would you do that?”
            “My Coke machine.  I can do whatever I want.  Cold in here today ain’t it.”
            Crap Pile looks out over the barn floor... with its piles of stuff, darkness and little paths.  He lifts his flashlight and shines it outward in a noncommittal way.  “You find any old paper?”
            “Any photographs?”
            “I’d like to see those.”
            “Right now they’re pretty scattered.  I’m starting to get ‘em together.”
            “Old enough.”
            “I mean...; can I SEE some.”
            “Little piles is all I got.  I haven’t put ‘em together”.
            “For sale?”
            “No.  Not until I put ‘em together.” (Put the archive OF EVERY PIECE of OLD PAPER [and ‘old photographs’] I find in the whole barn contents ‘together’; ‘assemble’ the ‘historic archive’ of this ‘barn contents purchase).  “You know that.”
            “Well...  I’d just like to LOOK.”

1 comment:

  1. There are many, many of them, persons (not just guys) like Crap Pile. They look for that favor that is not owed them. Instead of giving a hand, they have a hand out (two words) and are looking for a handout (one word). Not just “buy cheap and sell dear” but buy at your loss and then sell at their compounded gain (a loss again to the uninformed new owner). “Crap Piles” often happen to show up for a free drink or a free meal, not coincidentally.