With the old sea captain’s mansion’s front walkway ...gate... in the back of the truck... and Hiram standing between the open shed (old garage) front and ‘the (bric-brac) boxes’... looking from that daylight back at... I... poised at the purchased pile of ‘yucky’ ‘trash’... a delicate new quandary ‘becomes’ that could... would... does... and IS affecting the ... distribution of the ‘Captain’ Savage estate contents. I knew this. Then. There.
Few would note. Fewer would bet on a jump. Fewer further... would jump... after the ‘placing the bet’. But I, a ‘choice of choices’, a now ‘beyond the settlements’ and forts of ‘old New England’ ...fallen back and faded away: ‘On my own’, a janitorial savage WITHIN the Savage estate NOW... by ‘purchased ticket’ (a one hundred dollar ticket) that was “What piddle is THAT?” and the ‘risk’... so titled by a ‘those’ (who would ‘need to attend’ a... three day seminar-retreat... for ‘backbone’ for the ‘possibility loss will occur’)... of that one hundred. THAT, to I... be but a SKIP and ‘hardly a jump’... with no ‘hard landing’ at all ...with that GATE ‘in the back’. A gate... that no else knew one ‘can buy those’? Am I not right?
OR ARE YOU THAT GOOD
Rakehell? Waster wasting MONEY?
Hardly. I... did not put the old gate back there in ‘the garage’. I... merely SPIED IT back there. ONCE the double doors were peeled back and THE LIGHT... let in. And I was ‘onward’ from there to the FRONT DOOR of the mansion. I did NOT miss Hiram ‘turning back into a walking stick’ there (at the front door; standing ON the doorstep... HE.. never stands on). I did NOT miss the ‘Helen’s (FIRST) glance at him’ (Hiram). Nor did I miss the second and third glances at him and THAT SECOND glance’s quick ‘travel’ out past Hiram... across the front yard. Go read it again. Hiram... “perfectly resembles a walking stick”... I said. The ‘a slightest’ from Hiram and I ...would have LOST my bet and LOST my jump and LOST my... “MAKE” of ‘one hundred dollar bills’ PLURAL. I would have been shuffled away as ‘yucky trash... too... if it were not for Hiram... “turning into the perfect walking stick”. And I knew all of this RIGHT THEN.
I must “Hiram is the...”
When Hiram... went to war; “THE WAR”... his buddy “Buddy” was already dead. Hiram ...and his family... were not too sure of that death being as noble as was being nationally expressed. Hiram ...enlisted? Drafted?
HE “ended up” in Italy. In a supply convoy truck. A ...passenger... in the cab of a supply convoy truck... for the “whole war” (the whole time he was ‘serving’ ‘in the Army’). He rode in a ...supply convoy truck. With his sergeant driving THAT supply convoy truck. This truck was one of one... two... three or... four... always and only locally driven, locally ‘used’, locally deployed... supply convoy trucks. The sergeant had told Hiram (1) he (Hiram) could not drive the (a) truck because he was ‘too stupid’ “Ha, Ha”. (2) would NOT ‘make him a corporal’ because he was ‘too stupid’ “Ha, Ha” AND that also... he (Hiram)...would (being ‘of rank’; a corporal) be at risk of ‘having to drive the (a) truck. (3) That “If you (Hiram) stick with me (the sergeant) WE will BOTH ‘get out of this alive and in one piece”. (4) “I (the sergeant) need YOU (Hiram) to DO THIS” (be a ... perfect walking stick). Hiram did that. The sergeant drove the trucks. Parked the trucks. Hid the trucks. Hid IN the trucks. Hid FROM the trucks... all around the very small area the LOCAL supply convoy trucks were ‘required’ ‘to go’. The war ended. The sergeant and Hiram came home. Hiram learned one very important skill in the Army: He knew how to turn into a ‘perfect walking stick’.
I noticed this skill right... right... right... away.
HOME... Hiram ‘started working’ at the Savage Estate as ...a sort of... untitled grounds keeper? Overseer? Gamekeeper? “Outdoor man”? Building’s superintendent? “Mr. Fix It”? Auto mechanic? Janitor. Trash man. Painter... engineer, hunter, builder, roofer, surveyor, fence viewer, veterinarian, handy man and... “drive into town and get...”. Too.
Then he got “It was a mistake” “hired away” by Tim Driscoll who “ran one of those new (fangled) LAND... SCAPING businesses”. The Savage mansion was not pleased with this. Hiram was quickly not pleased with this. He “didn’t UNDERSTAND the WAY they WORKED”. For example, Hiram relates, ALL the leaves were raked up and moved away by truck in the fall and ‘never even one leaf was left’. In the spring the same trucks brought in dump truck loads of ‘ground up leaves mulch’ and that was ‘put around’ where the ‘leaves had been last FALL’. “TIM TOLD ME THAT’S HOW WE DO IT NOW”.
After five years of that Hiram said “the HELL WITH THIS” and quit. And... didn’t have the ability to go beg for his job back at the Savage estate ...who had been forced to hire THE Driscoll landscaping service to ...do... SOME of ‘the things I used to do there for them’. But one day ...somewhere... somehow... SOMEONE ...and Hiram “met up” at the “I WAS FENCING DOUGLASS’ PASTURE. Mrs. Douglass. You know her.”... and ‘got hired back’. When the Savage estate did that... Hiram ‘turned into the perfect walking stick”... for them.
Even Tim Driscoll still says to this day that “Hiram... was the BEST MAN I’ve ever HAD”.
“He was a perfect walking stick?”
“YEAH: YOU CAN SAY THAT ABOUT HIM”.
The only mention of Hiram ever ‘breaking character’ I heard from Hiram himself. As he related, the only ‘action’ that ‘ever happened’ to Hiram in the army... in the ... supply convoy truck in Italy during the war... is that one day... “coming down the mountain” “we lost our brakes”.
“WE got DOWN alright. And the sergeant stopped the truck. We stayed there the rest of the day (in the truck at the bottom of the mountain). Only about a MILE back to the BASE. We drove in at just DARK. THE CAPTAIN says “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?” “WELL WE LOST OUR BRAKES ON THE MOUNTAIN”. You could SEE THAT WE HAD; WET ALL OVER the (underside of the) TRUCK. Captain looked. Sergeant said “WE GEARED DOWN: BACKED IT (the truck in reverse) DOWN” (the mountain). “OH” says CAPTAIN. “LOOSE ANYTHING ELSE?”. Sergeant say “NO” but I SAY “I LOST EVERYTHING IN MY BOWELS”.
“Ha, ha” and that’s all I’ve ever got out of Hiram. BUT:
AT this moment; the ‘I must’ “Hiram is the...” stated above moment... I am just starting the very long and still going on with no end in sight... WHAT I STATE in the very first paragraph of the very first chapter of this tale (Part One First Paragraph):
“I returned home a little before noon. I had purchased a truck full of ‘old stuff’ from an old shed at a local estate. I emptied the truck of its load of ‘antiques’ at a warehouse. I had saved out two ...Staffordshire black transferware and pink lustre decorated... teapots... and... a set of four... English emerald green blown glass cordials (perhaps aperitifs?)... in the cab of the truck. Both groups were from the 1840’s. Both teapots were ‘damaged’. Those ‘old things’ had not been in the old shed. They were found in the dining room of the estate... by the matron heir of the estate, Helen Savage Roth. She had offered them to me at a nominal price and I bought them.”
Took a long time to get to that ‘finally now’ AND I am not even there yet because I still have to negotiate a settlement to my ‘long range advantage.. with a TURNS INTO A PERFECT WALKING STICK.
What is a “turns into a perfect walking stick”?
It is, in Hiram’s persona, to be a ‘be there’ ‘with you’ and NOT BE THERE... even when YOU, Helen... I... OR ANYONE ‘checks’ by any sort of secret stolen glance to ‘see’ if Hiram IS THERE. He appears to NOT BE THERE with that TOO including that physically Hiram resembles an ...old... thin... crocked... ‘stick’ ‘figure’... “not there” TOO. When one peers around one sees only the ‘forest floor’ of sameness ‘nothing moving’. ONLY if one routs ...by design or accident... does the walking stick move and divulge that ‘it’ ‘is there’. So... with no designed or accidental rout... one’s quest of verification ...denoting only that ‘sameness’... with that being a ‘too’...; one ‘moves on’ even faster PAST and AWAY ‘from Hiram, ‘the perfect walking stick’ ‘being there’.
This... all... is... with the ‘except, of course’... that Hiram actually IS THERE: VERY IS THERE... and IS THERE ON... every point of one’s “I” “IS ON” but also carrying well beyond that to include ALL multitudes of nuisanced nuances that only... Hiram... the perfect walking stick... is noticing... AND cognitively BUILDING IN HIS MIND with. That is why the Sergeant ‘needed’ Hiram as his ‘ride shotgun’ passenger FOR THE WHOLE WAR. He could count on Hiram... being there... WAY BETTER... then even HE was ‘being there’. And ‘never show it’... to anyone EVER.
A brief and quick... specimen... of example of what I am portraying here is found in the recorded tale by ‘Bert and I’ titled “Which Way To East Vasselboro (Maine)”. The central character (the walking stick) is seated on their porch and ‘not being there’ relates with ‘nuisanced nuances’ the progress of a sport car (including the foundation ‘nuisanced nuances’ of the oral expression [“sounds”] OF the sport car) passing back and forth before... the porch. Eventually the sports car stops at the until then undisturbed forest floor of the porch and inquires (‘routs’) “Which way to East Vasselboro”. Routed, the walking stick ‘divulges’ that it ‘is there’ by saying... in the sage of expression... “Don’t you move a God damn inch.” And there is nothing more. Too.
I... ‘can use this’. I...: ‘I must’ (realize) “Hiram is the...”
KEY TO THE CONTENTS DITRIBUTION OF THE SAVAGE ESTATE.
And for I... it is a mind... versus... mind.
“Foxed” “OUT” Hiram has ...the whole Savage Estate. And this foxing out is by Hiram’s own ‘building in his mind’ view of that estate ...in its enormous and complex spider web that... to my advantage... ‘is too big for Hiram to get’. He can turn up side down and be PITCHED as a walking stick... STILL BE THERE as a walking stick... and... BUT...: “I know more” ...standing in the old ...soon to be empty ... ‘garage’ “than this walking stick does.”
“Buy him out.”
“Buy him out?”
“HOW MY GONNA DO THAT HE’S TOO SMART FOR THAT”
“Weak points... possible weak points... something stupid I don’t...”
“Gate in the back”
“Start loading figure something out get lucky maybe”.
This all clatters as self conversation THROUGH ME... with me... as Hiram ticks off four seconds to point his needle at me: “WHAT’S HE GONNA DO NEXT?”
I, realizing the ‘do anything’ card trick merged with the ‘protect the gate’ DESIRE, move upon a back corner cluster of ...old yard care tools... at the back RIGHT corner of the garage. I quickly start laying them upon the gate in the truck bed. Hiram takes the bait.”
“THOSES...” he says assertively.
“IN FIRST - LIE FLAT.” I say.
“AH. WELL” he says.
I stop moving.
“THEY ARE...” He continues.
“NO: I just BOUGHT THEM. I bought the CONTENTS. Except the BOXES.”
“I. Oh. ... SUPPOSE YOU DID. ... Didn’t You... I... DIDN’T SEE THOSE back THERE.”
“Well they look like they’ve BEEN BACK THERE a LONG TIME.’’ (calculated pause). YOU WANT THEM?”
“Yeah: Like... THE RAKES or something?”
“Look; you can HAVE what you WANT. I’ll take the REST.
“You use these?”
“No... didn’t even SEE THEM in there.”
“YOU WANT THEM?”
“Three rakes? Well... I suppose...”
Hiram steps to the corner tool cluster. I let the one rake in my hand fall back but take to two hoes to the truck, lay them on top of the gate and... step back to find Hiram’s back ‘at me’ while he... contemplates... (ruminates upon?) THREE old... rakes... that have been... leaning up in that garage corner... since World War II (?).
All thought in civilization ...stops.
And starts again.
“No I don’t suppose I NEED these old RAKES DO I ...much NOW. ... HAVE been THERE ...don’t know... HOW LONG haven’t THEY.”
He did... take the bait (want the tools). He just didn’t TAKE the tools.
The game of duck-duck-goose continues. HOW am I going to ‘get this guy’; to compromise his perfect walking stick quality and GET IT IN THE
SUPPLY CONVOY TRUCK
‘for the whole war’
Of the “distribution of the contents of the ... “Captain Savage Estate”?
I continue loading. First the rest of the tools. Hiram, on the last of the tool loading... follows from the corner to the truck, looks at the tools on the gate IN THE TRUCK. Then he looks at me.
“HOW AM I...” is still screaming in my mind. “AH... FORGET IT”. I load... the loads of “yucky” into the truck. Hiram starts to help. “PUT THAT up to the FRONT so it DON’T BLOW OUT.” He does; he takes orders.
WE... rout the “yucky” and ...pack it tightly... into the truck’s back. Hiram notices the competent packing. “Tight Fit” I say. He takes that in and says nothing. That means he agrees. I start loading EVERY... THING... ELSE in the garage into the truck’s back TOO excepting the ... banana boxes... that I must step around. And around. Hiram, noting that I am now plundering ‘things I didn’t see’ again... very coolly surveys those actions but... doesn’t say anything... or ‘help’. PUSHING I say “WANT ANY OF IT?”
Flustered, Hiram looks at me and then ... ‘around’... the half daylight ...except dark in the back... walls... corners... then up the sides. BUT THERE JUST IS NOT that much ‘in there’ for him to break poise. He spills neither his guts or a passion.
“Damn it.” I internally comment... and scan for a “WILD CARD” wish-on-a-ANYTHING “I’ll take it”.
If I can get Hiram... to a ‘start the ball rolling... “HERE YOU CAN HAVE IT”... something... that means... something to HIM.... HIM... whatever trifle it can be... BE: If I can ONLY.
Try it sometime...; try getting an old walking stick to ‘sucker in’ on an... old rake... abandoned long ago ... in an old garage... and ...see that fall short so your ‘on peripheral’ for “ANYTHING IN THERE THAT WILL WORK”? Try it sometime; try to compromise a walking stick by ...picking up other dead sticks and... throwing those at that walking stick... “this MIGHT work”.
Not with Hiram.
And I’m ‘nearly done’ (running out of) loading the... ‘other stuff in there’ (other than the designated ‘yucky’). Then... it’s over...; I am ‘done’.
“Almost done” I say. I can READ Hiram tallying.
I put a crate full of ...I don’t know and do not look... into the rear left corner of the truck bed. Hiram see this action, the crate, the ‘crate is full / heavy’ status. THE OLD ‘has not been looked at WHAT IS IT STATUS. THE... “HE (I) DIDN’T EVEN LOOK AT IT” status. The... Hiram steps to the back of the truck. I am back at the corner where that crate was ...picking up some rolled paper scraps. And a booklet... and...: I take these toward the truck but step past the rear and down the side to the driver’s door. Hiram has finished his clandestine mission of “WHAT IS IN THE CRATE” so... follows ME by eye. I figure “SAY SOMETHING IF YOU DON’T LIKE it (ME TAKING THE FULL CRATE ).”
Nothing on that. But he keeps his eyes on me “WHAT’S HE DOING NOW”
Boom: Driver’s door open. Whip... pull; YANK... big black garbage bag from behind the seat and
Start walking back TOWARD Hiram while opening and jamming the “TRASH” into that bag. Hiram... identifies my actions. He says nothing. Past him, I bend and pickup “TRASH” and stuff it into the bag. “YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT” says Hiram... breaking character. He broke character over me... and a garbage bag. (“YEAH”). “I’ll do THAT LATER”.
“No: It’s MY TRASH. I bought it. I get it. I said the building would be cleaned out.
“Oh.” says Hiram... a little flustered but... since there was very little trash and I was... at the moment just picking up some other scrap paper in the back LEFT corner of the garage where that crate had been... and stuffed that into the bag and ...took that bag to the back of the truck to TAKE WITH ME. (I don’t ‘throw it out’. It is ‘gone through’...by ME... ‘later’).
Hiram... AGAIN shifts to the “WHAT’S HE DOING NOW” mode. “I got him flushed now huh.” But that is ‘no good’ for... well... I ...am... ‘almost done.
Almost... because... REMEMBER (?)... I ‘creep’ the buildings: I still have to creep the garage... that is ... now... ‘empty’ ...EVEN BY HIRAM’S CODE enforcement.
I get my head lamp from truck cab. Hiram... sees this go on my head and be turned on... WITH MY GLOVES ON... “ALMOST DONE.” I say straight to him. And walk to the inside-the-door head left side of the building and start ... snuffling the floor and spaces between the studs with my glove fingers while ‘shining the light’ ON those snufflings.
Down the side... looking for and finding NOTHING.
ACROSS THE BACK of the building finding tidbit residues of NOTHING. Dirty...back there AND mouse turds EVERWHERE. Checked the rafters too back there then. Shine the lamp around ALL OVER: NOTHING. Back RIGHT CORNER... (where the crate was)... start up the right side. Snuffle.
With my finger tips in the gloves illuminated by the head lamp.
Is felt UNDER my finger tips.
A move means an... ‘it’ NOT ATTACHED to the building
DUST DIRT DUST SLIDE.
FINGER: GLOVE FINGER. Shiny moving
PICK IT UP
A silver dollar in the palm of my glove. I shine the head lamp on it turning to Hiram who IS THERE BUT startled. I am saying to HIM “HERE”. And ...from my glove to his bare palm ‘dump’... it... right side up... a
1927 silver dollar.
“I” I say.
“OAK.” says Hiram peering straight down at his hand. And the coin.
“NICE! There WE GO Hiram!” I say.
He’s looking at me and holding his hand out.
“Pretty good, right?” I say.
“I’D SAY. You just FOUND THAT.”
“You got it.” I say and turn back to the corner with my head lamp.
“WHY. I. NEVER.”
“Well I have plenty of times. THAT’S what I’m doing this for.”
Hiram looks at me quizzically.
“I clean out old buildings.”
He keeps quizzically looking at me.
“I’m good at it. See?”
“How’d you know that was there?” He says.
“I didn’t know that was there. I just FOUND IT. Right now.”
“Yes... you DID. I saw YOU. Do that. A sliver DOLLAR. Isn’t it.”
Up comes his face again, quizzically, at mine; my face.
We have ‘captured’ eye contact. I say:
“You want it? You can have it.”
A stunned pause follows.
“But I...” Hiram says.
“It’s mine. We found it. YOU can HAVE IT’.
He missed the ‘we’ of ‘found it’.
He... looks at it again... in the palm of his hand. That hand closes over the dollar. Hiram’s looking back at me again.
The hand is still closed.
“You’ll always remember finding that.” I say.
“Course I will.” He says.
I turn from him and go back to snuffling up the side of the building. I can feel Hiram watching my every move; watching the finger tips snuffling along. I keep snuffling along without comment or tempo change... just the same as if I find
A silver dollar
Quite obviously, I believe one notices, I found something better than that silver dollar that day at the Savage estate. I found a perfect walking stick... as a sure companion... during the distribution of the contents of the Captain Savage Family estate.