Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"It's Been Two Years" - Part Five - "Antiques Store" - (B) - "The Front and The Back"

"It's Been Two Years"

Part Five

"Antiques Store"


"The Front and The Back"

            What is happening at the ...antiques store; The Gallery...?  What is happening RIGHT NOW... at The Gallery...?  To be understood... one finds (denotes)... a ‘double meaning’ (a duplicity) to every ‘said’ and every ‘action taken’... by ALL the... ‘people’... involved.  I shorten the active list of ‘people’ to... ‘the owners’; a middle age... ‘WE HAVE A’ ‘small business on the coast of Maine’... couple and... to... ONE antiques picker; James Hutton... who not only ‘sells’ (antiques) to the ‘store owners’ but also ‘watches shop’ (or ‘shop sits’) for them ‘a couple of days’ (Monday and Tuesdays... sort of) each week.
            The way I will report the ‘what is happening’ is that I will report a statement or action by a ‘people’ and then... report... what that report actually means... and... then... report the next... report... following with... THAT report’s meaning.  It is the ‘front and back’ method, I call... it:  I’ll show you the front... and then I’ll show you the back.

            Hutton, in my yard... at the edge of the summer season (March 31st) said “I don’t know WHAT’S going on down there.  With them.  This year.”
            This means that Hutton has had contact with The Gallery, inclusive, and... has denoted by FEEL... the SENSE... not stated... that... ‘it is not going to be the same this year’ ‘down there’ ‘huh’.  Everything... seems... to be ‘like last year normal’ BUT he FEELS... something... something... something... not (yet) being said... AND... not being said to him TOO.
            A few days later Hutton says... “THEY”... ‘are making some changes’ “THIS YEAR” including... ‘not opening until Memorial Day weekend’ (as opposed to the previous two years of... ‘being open’ “NOW” (April 1st... April FOOLS day) and ‘are expanding their CRAFTS’ (having more ‘new’ ‘crafts’ ‘stock’ ‘for sale’).
            The opening day ‘advancement’ is because... ‘no one’ ‘came into’ the antiques store... ‘until Memorial Day weekend’ “last year” so... the owners had to ‘shop sit’ an ‘empty shop’ for “TWO MONTHS”... in addition to making “no sales”.  And I mean ‘no sales’; ‘zero’.  For two months.
            The second means LESS antiques for sale.  Less antiques for sale means “THEY ARE NOT BUYING” ‘any’ ‘more’ ‘antiques’ “from me” (Hutton)... ‘sort of’.  Sort of means that IF Hutton offers them ‘something’ THEY ‘THINK’ is “REALLY GOOD”... “THEY” ‘will buy it’ but, most probably, “KEEP IT” in their ‘collection’ and NOT have it for sale ...at ‘the shop’.  THIS MEANS that Hutton’s sales ‘to them’ are cut by at least three-fourths for MOST of his offering to them are ‘stock’ ‘for the store’ type (‘grade’) (?) antiques because... THAT IS WHAT... Hutton ‘finds’ MOST OF THE TIME JUST LIKE EVERY PICKER does.  SO:  “They are not buying” ‘anything’ ‘unless it’s good’ and THAT last means an “I’D BUY IT MYSELF FOR THAT” grade ‘antique’.  Said Hutton.
            This extends to mean that they (The Gallery) “didn’t buy anything from me” THAT DAY.  THAT is a “FIRST TIME”.  THAT is a ‘major warning sign’; picker take notice (heed).  Hutton... RIGHT NOW... ‘stops’ ‘offering them’ ANYTHING... ‘until things settle down’.
            They do not.

            When he ‘stops by’; goes back to... “CHECK”... MRS. THE GALLERY... mentions...:  MENTIONS... that “did he (Hutton) know... (by any chance) that THEY (The Gallery antique shop business on the main street of a coastal Maine tourist town) “bought seventy-seven thousand dollars” of “antiques” from Hutton... “last year”.  Hutton replied to that ‘No I didn’t know that why would I’.
            “Isn’t that quite a lot (of our money)?” Mrs. The Gallery... then... SAID.
            This means... and Hutton knew this absolutely THEN THERE... “melt down in progress”:  This antiques shop ‘is toast’; ‘is closing’; is ‘going out of business’ FOR REAL meaning that even though to Hutton’s concise vantage they were going out of business before they ‘opened FOR BUSINESS’ two years ago... they are now... “GAME OVER” ‘going out of business’.  Soooo... on Hutton’s business book it’s... ‘time to go... bye-bye’.
            “OUR INVENTORY IN THE STORE IS ONLY (cost bases) TWENTY-THREE” thousand dollars.  She said.  To Hutton.
            THAT MEANS that... MOST of ‘the stuff’ they bought from Hutton they either  ‘sold’ from the store... (?)... or (in fact)... “KEPT” in ‘their collection’... because it “IS” (was?) “SO GOOD”.
            “Oh.” said Hutton.  “That makes sense”.
            That last means that ‘of course I was selling you my best stuff I’d keep it too if I were not an antiques dealer so (RULE FIVE) ... I sell my best stuff... TO YOU.  If YOU don’t sell it... “That makes sense” AND it is STILL ‘the good stuff’ so... YOU... have no complaints against ME.  “You are hoarders.” Hutton actually observed to her.  She did not observe... his observation.  She is occupied with the... big numbers about HER money:  One hundred thousand spent with Hutton... at least... and probably nearing TWO hundred in the ‘whole time’ (three plus years of business relations to date).  Then add... one hundred thousand dollars ‘spent’ on the... antiques store over the now entering year three time elapse.  SPENT means money GONE (painting the walls of the store, vanity printed shopping bags, advertising, etc., et al.  ET AL).  Then add the twenty-three K of ‘stock’ ‘on the floor’ of the store.  And it’s ‘more’.  There’s always MORE stock in these ventures then ‘made it on the books’.  (The ‘store’ is “FILLED WITH CRAP”...meaning, again... ‘hoarders... hoarding... their hoard... management?’).  So there is probably about fifty K actually ‘on the floor’ of the store’.
            “NONE” of this ‘stock’ is Hutton’s; he does not OWN any of it.
            “NONE” of the amounts of money spent and ‘tied up’ are Hutton’s.
            He... in amassing the sales totals with The Gallery... probably did those impressive numbers... rolling between two and five thousand dollars... as his capital block; money-to-work-with... over and over and over.  That’s right; he, an antiques picker, probably can put his hands on about... two thousand dollars... at any given ‘day’.  And that is all he... ‘needs’.  That is what pickers do; buy and SELL.  They are not hoarders.  They are... particularly adept at determination and evaluation of hoarders... who, as one discovers, come in many, many... MANY different formulas and... plateaus of ‘quality’.

            “I don’t think I’m going to be down there much this summer.”  Said Hutton.
            This means “I AM GONE” meaning Hutton will no longer be ‘sitting shop’ and has already told ‘them’ ‘that’ right away so ‘that’s been done’ and... they probably barely noted that ‘departure’ for they are so number stunned when it comes to Hutton that... they don’t really want to see him anyway.  I mean... their own house and store is FULL of Hutton so... everywhere they go so... they see ‘enough of him’... so... don’t actually need (or want) to ‘see him’.  Hutton knows this.  He becomes a regular ‘no show’ “down there”. “They’re getting a lot of CRAFTS people in there this year anyway.  I don’t want to have anything to do with that.”
            Hutton says.
            That means that he knows very, very well that one is going to have to sell ‘one Hell of a lot of crafts’ to ‘clear’ the store’s inventory cost bases ...or ‘even get NEAR TO the.. “It’s a KEEPER!” ‘our collection’ (hoard?)... cost... base.  And... all that is ‘above’ the ‘cost of running the shop’.

            “What will happen to The Gallery?”
            What will happen to it?  Well... it has ‘another summer’ ‘to go’ before there’s a ‘find out that”.  “Huh”.  “Stop by the store when your... going by there”.  As is said.  That means... if one is a professional antiques dealer-picker in Maine.... ‘stop by’... when you are in a ... way out down a long coastal peninsula land finger... to the... small village at its end with only tourists and ‘summer people’ there but, too, with some... open summer only tourist businesses and... a few not so good... “lobster rolls” and... ‘chowder’ ...served by a sixteen year old girl (“I DROVE MOM’S CAR HERE TODAY”) who... never... ever... get the serving ladle to the bottom of the chowder pot to ‘scoop up the good stuff.  (“Probably they don’t even ‘serve’ FISH chowder ‘anyway”.)
            Soooo...:  WORD of this “THIS ALL” spreads very... very... very quickly... and concisely ‘through the trade’ (local Maine antiques pickers) and is especially... poignant... for Hutton is ‘someone who would know’.  The Gallery... in less than three weeks of ‘this’ April time... is completely cut off from the ‘current trade’ and are ‘on their own’ ‘down there’.  “Probably close at the end of the summer.”
            “What do you think will happen to their stuff (store stock)?”
            “Probably keep a lot of it and auction the rest.”
            “Is this really what happens to antiques stores on the coast of Maine?”
            “Yep.  And... it happens to ‘antiques dealers’... ‘on the coast of Maine’.
            And ‘we’ (antiques pickers) all... know this.
            Yes we do and we also know
            That there is... an... endless supply... of more...
            “WE ARE OPENING an ANTIQUES STORE” and “I AM AN ANTIQUES DEALER (here’s my card call me if you... have anything to sell... or just stop by and see me at... the store)”.
            “Another one” DOES “pop right up” just as soon as ‘that one’
            And ‘we’ (antiques pickers) all... know this.
            We can count on it... to make a living:   “That one (an antique) is SO GREAT I can’t believe he SOLD IT (to us).  That guy is a GREAT picker!”
            That is the front
            There is a back.

Friday, April 25, 2014

"It's Been Two Years" - Part Five - "Antiques Store" - (A)

"It's Been Two Years"

Part Five

"Antiques Store"


            I do not have an ‘antiques store’.
            I have never had an ‘antiques store’.
            I have been... involved... with many, many... many
            ‘Antiques stores’.
            I am still... occasionally... with diminishing ‘anything’... ‘involved’
            With an ‘antiques store’.
            My current action... and this action is with the... complicit... and dynamic participation of my fellow local antiques ‘pickers’; the pure strain of antiques dealer who hunts for antiques... is to “go the other way” when “I see” a sign reading “ANTIQUES”.
            Why?  Because that is ...already ‘found’ ‘antiques’.  I FIND antiques.  I do not find already found antiques.
            The next current ‘antiques shop’ action I ‘take’ is to absolutely stop and shop (go in the ‘open’ signed front door and look at EVERY antique ‘for sale’ in a ...newly opened... ‘antiques shop’ I ...chance on).  (Ha, ha, to ‘chance on’; I AM LOOKING OUT FOR THEM; new ‘antiques shops’).  The key words are LOOK... AT... EVERY... antique.  IF... there is a commercial error in the store; an iota priced ‘too low’... I BUY IT... and SELL IT (for an unfair profit) without fanfare or announcing “I AM A DEALER”.  Hopefully the ‘owners’ of the store (and ‘the stuff’ in that store) are there (to make commercial decisions) and... have no idea who I am and – or  my ‘with my wife’ TOO so we... come and go... unnoticed... either ‘buying’ or, in most cases... NOT buying... ‘anything’. 
            THAT is my current END of ALL of my ‘antiques shop’ relations unless, for example, YOU... have some sort of magical, half-witted, on your bank roll, to MY advantage... something-or-rather ‘hair brained’ ‘antiques shop’ ...dumb idea that is all, all, all ‘a go’ for a ME.  This doesn’t happen.

            Most ‘antiques shops’ are... well intentioned business endeavors by well intentioned antiques... lovers... who... through a this-that-or another thing... WANDER into the ‘antiques trade’ (‘antiques business’) with... the “WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN ANTIQUES STORE”... notion.  Natural forces... ‘take it from there’.
            Rule one... overlooked and skipped by new ‘antiques store’ openers:  “IT’S ABOUT THE STUFF” (antiques).
Then there is a gap (of nothingness).  Then there is SOME money (dollar values).  Then there is another gap (of nothingness).  Then there is “THE REST OF IT” (the whole antiques everything... including television shows, cell phone peek-ah-boo and ...Cadence sitting with her cats in the old sea captain mansion “FULL OF ANTIQUES”. 
This ‘the rest of it’ is ALL
Pretty colored bags with a store’s name on it.  Advertising budgets.  Store sitting sales girls.  Open signs.  Parking.  “Shows”.  “SALES”.  ‘Customers’.  ‘House calls’ and... pickers... peddlers... dealers... ‘good’ dealers... collectors... on back to ‘holiday’ ‘weekend’ ‘open house’ to... ‘seasonal... CLOSING’ (“COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND”). 
            To run an ‘antiques shop’ on the ‘Coast’ of “MAINE”... and interior “MAINE”... the first thing to do is to... IGNORE rule number one.  That is easy because most have ‘never heard of’ or even ‘know about’ the IT’S ABOUT THE STUFF... rule... number one.

            Rule number two is... ‘Bank Roll’.
            JUST sit at the kitchen table and... ‘over coffee’... announce... one’s NOTICE that ‘that space’ in the local edge of town strip mall OR PRIME DOWNTOWN LOCATION... ‘is empty and’ “JUST THINKING” (as opposed to MY preferred messaging system of FEEL (just FEELING) of... opening... an... ‘antiques store’... “THERE”.
            “WE... can BUY the ANTIQUES to FILL the store with ...antiques... FOR SALE because ...well...:
            “WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING.”
            (When ‘it’ ‘comes to’... ‘antiques’...?)
            (They found a rusted-in-half 18th century pierced tin barn lantern while crawling under an old porch?).
            Rule number three?
            “YOU... do not know what you are doing.”
            Rule number four?
            “YES WE DO (and not only do we NOT crawl under porches looking of antiques BUT)...:  WE
            VERY GOOD
            “That are not for sale?” because... YOU... as antiques dealers running an ‘antiques shop’ are...
            KEEPING THEM...
            Because they are, to you...
            THE Good STUFF?
            (That’s why you are keeping this ‘it’?  Because it is BETTER than
            THE STUFF
            IN YOUR ‘antiques store’?

            Rule number five:
            “YOU” are NOT an antiques dealer if “YOU” “KEEP” “THE GOOD STUFF”.  I explain... this... simply.  IF... I have a very good antique and “YOU” are a collector of that very good antique and you come around and say “THAT THERE very good antique of YOURS; how much?” and I say....:
            “It’s not for sale I’m keeping it”... “YOU” are correct in telling me to ...go to Hell and... never doing business with me again.... because I... as a antiques DEALER am NOT an antiques COLLECTOR who keeps the ‘best stuff I’... FIND.  I SELL THE best stuff I find to antiques COLLECTORS... who are, actually, very grateful about I doing that.
            I DO NOT have an ‘antiques store’ that I filled with... ‘antiques’ ‘I bought’ that ...really are not very good and are priced very high even though they are not very good.  NO:  I do not do that; ‘have’ an ‘antiques store’.

            Rule number six:  Ignore rule number five.
            Now we all understand how The Gallery came to be.
            And there was ‘year’ (summer season) ‘one’.
            Then ‘year’ (summer season) ‘two’
            And.. we are about to start ‘year’ (summer season) ‘three’:

            “It’s been two years”...
            Are you listening?
            WE really NEED to talk about this; how we’re going to DO IT
            This year.
            “Last year (summer season)
            WE really didn’t SELL what we needed to
            Even though we were open
            ALL THE TIME but...
            Are you listening?”

            “YES I DO think you have a GOOD idea of having MORE local CRAFTS for sale.  Those did very WELL last year (summer season).  AND we haven’t filled that SPACE so I could actually get MORE crafts people who would want us to SHOW their WORK.  Didn’t that seem to GO WELL last year (summer season)?  I think I can just put the word out to Melinda.  SHE knows all the VENDORS from her (Maine craft) FAIRS.  Some of them are local but
            I was thinking that even some of them from up near MOOSEHEAD (Lake, Maine)... that...
            EVEN THEIR crafts would DO WELL right here (sell in a coastal Maine tourist village)...
            “It doesn’t COST us anything either.  We don’t have to BUY their crafts.”
            “What do YOU THINK OF THAT
            (Note ‘think’ as opposed to ‘feel’)

            (Is the tide going out at The Gallery?
            Or is it ‘coming in’... right on schedule?)
            And what about James Hutton’s old broken bowl.
            And what about James Hutton’s... summer perch?
            And what about James Hutton?
            And what about the
            Money to run the store; pay the rent, the advertising, the driving there
            And... the driving back
            And forth?
            “AND WE’RE NOT SELLING
            When I was under the porch finding the rusted-all-to-Hell pierced tin barn lantern I described it as “I was... lying there wistfully lost in wonder of this ‘this is WONDERFUL’ under that porch”.  That kind of wistful wondering has nothing to do with this ‘antiques store’ ...crap
            At all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"It's Been Two Years" - Part Four - "The Store... Is Then... WHAT?"

"It's Been Two Years"

Part Four

"The Store... Is Then... WHAT?"

            What is the point
            Of doing this?
            If I am willing to spend over two years financially backing and silent partnering a fellow antiques picker to ‘clean out’ a woman’s seven room basement ‘apartment’ complex that she has filled with... not only antiques but an abundance of ‘good quality’ ‘other things’... why do this; what do I get and... what do I want?
            The simple... and crude... base of this... is economic... one would wish.  For Seacus it certainly is.  Truck load after truck load of ‘clean out’ is... ‘worth money’ “barrel head”.  He is delighted.
            I have a more moderate view.  “Yes, yes... antiques”.  And that IS what they are from that basement warren; “antiques”.  No question about it she’s got some and... out they come and... “GOOD BYE” they are... sold.  It’s magic?
            It is dull?
            There are plenty... of plenty... OF PLENTY ‘antiques’ ‘out there’ (available in all formats twenty four – seven).  Very, very... VERY little is precious.  MOSTLY MOST ALL ‘antiques’ tangent off toward... ‘used merchandise’ from their sphere of ‘being antique’.  Yes that is it; no shortage of supply, no being thrown out at the dump, no exclusive admittance only, no fawning over, no... iota of iota about the iota of “THAT IS AN ANTIQUE”.  This carries promptly to “THOSE ARE MY ANTIQUES”.  And stall there.  And then go back through the system to ...do it all over again until it is, again, in the divine setting of... “MY ANTIQUES”.  How many, for example, early New England ‘pierced tin barn lanterns’ are there?

            I have found as many as four scattered in one barn of one single estate.  Extended to include the ‘to this day’ last FORTY years of ‘quality’ ‘new’ or ‘reproduction’ pierced tin barn lanterns and INCLUDING the EXCLUSION of BAD quality ‘new’ ‘pierced tin barn lanterns’ (the plethora of ‘south of the border’ ‘third world’ ‘made’ ‘pierced tin barn lanterns’)... not only is there ‘no shortage’, a ‘you can get one’ marketplace and... a “IT IS ANTIQUE” divined status... but: 
            “No one knows” that I have ‘lighted them’ for decades; put an old candle nub in them and ‘go around’ with ‘it’ as a... flashlight.  They are abundant because they worked well; gave good dependable light.  And would not ‘blow out’ in the barnyard breezes and... would not... set the barn on fire even if the tipped over (an original safety lantern).  They ‘give off’ a calliope of slatted candlelight that is charming and has a modest environmental footprint meaning that the lantern and its light are ‘pleasant’ to ‘use’.  But no one I talk to ever brings them up as a ‘this context’.  MOST context are commercial statements or, in second place, a decorative statement:  “I BOUGHT” an antique pierced tin lantern and “I HUNG IT UP” “OVER THERE” “SEE?” “WHAT DO YOU THINK?”.
            End of it; the wholeness of the package.

            “I’m out”.  I just never say anything to anyone about ‘pierce tin barn lanterns’ any more.  I am constantly finding them.  And ‘buying and selling them’.  I just don’t ‘say’ ‘anything to anyone’.
            I don’t find them dull.
            I do find their usual (when I encounter them) ‘wholeness of the package’... dull.
            So what do I want?
            As tangent from “I am a dealer so buy and sell” “THEM” and to include the “I KNOW ALL ABOUT WHAT THESE ARE” to further include that I have “FOUND MANY IN THEIR ORIGINAL undisturbed SETTINGS”... it is only, these days, the near archeological discovery by a lone “I” that... ‘drives me’ ‘about them’.  For example, while creeping an old farm’s back porch; that is... I was crawling under the porch floor, rummaging for debris in the dark in this ‘underneath’, I found... way towards the far end front... an old and very real ‘pieced tin barn lantern’ lying on its side in the wet darkness.  Rusted away on its bottom third, covered with rust elsewhere and ‘still having’ its candle door and holder and that both of these ‘still worked”... I was... lying there wistfully lost in wonder of this ‘this is WONDERFUL’ under that porch.  I stayed ‘with this’ until... I... well... ‘came to’ meaning that my dream state of appreciation faded into ‘should get out of here... ‘with this’ (the lantern).  That rusted relic lantern continued my... ‘love at first sight’, ‘love it’, ‘having it around love’ and the ‘huh; that was just a GREAT one’ love of it being about... for quite a while.

            Then I sold it.  After puffing (sales pitching) it as a ‘how great one’... ‘this one’... ‘is’.
            That cycle... written down above... IS... the answer to the opening question:
            “What is the point
            Of doing this?
            I am unwilling to ‘explore this’ question further (deeper).  That’s not the way of the ‘love it’...; not the way a ‘this’ ‘is’ or ‘works’.  It is the other way:  IT FLEETS.  And:  It does bring us back to the Captain Snow estate, Helen’s basement and, of course... Cadence living IN the Captain Snow mansion... titled Defiance... with that mansion being a ‘it’s FULL of ANTIQUES’.
            “How dull?”

            Now... back at the start of these... fomentations... treating the Captain Snow mansion and estate contents... it was James Hutton who was ‘first through the door’ ‘into Helen’s cellar’ and... after planning to ‘sell’ his plunder to the ‘his current customer of choice’; the then newly ‘opened’ The Gallery antiques shop ( Posts “Hutton Loots Cransmore [1 and 2] continuing to “Tote Bag Courtesans” [1 and 2]) he ended up selling almost all of ‘his load’ to... me.  ALMOST all... in that he kept for himself a ...broken Japanese  red, blue and gold floral decorated porcelain bowl... for the specific reason that “THIS BOWL”... came from the Captain Snow estate and was brought to the estate by old Captain Snow himself on his boat... in the 1840’s-1850’s so... to James.... AND ME... that bowl was understood to be ‘a great one’ even though it was only an old broken bowl that ‘no one wants’. HE... would not sell that bowl.  Did I “want” that bowl?

            He went away and the bowl went with him.
            THEN... I heard that he ‘had it out’ ‘for sale (?)’ ‘on the counter’ beside his ‘watching the store’ perch at The Gallery where he was (that first summer)... and still is... ‘summering’ (has a summer season antiques picker’s roust ‘watching shop’).  He is a very poor employee of ‘watching shop’; the doing actual antiques business FOR the STORE.  He does his OWN business and... otherwise ogles the “tote bag trollops”: who ‘come into the store’, ‘walk around’, “buy nothing” and ‘leave’.  The trollops and all others... NEVER query, handle or even touch Hutton’s old broken bowl from the ‘Captain Snow mansion’ sitting on the front counter.  He does not notice or care about that for ‘that is normal’ ‘for this’ (broken bowl).

            But there it sat, on the counter... ‘for sale’.  It wasn’t really for sale.  It was a, sort of, trap.  IF...someone actually picked the bowl up, examined it and... well... fussed with it in anyway... these actions suggest to Hutton’s knowing eye that this THEY might actually know what the bowl ‘is’ (sans the Captain Snow history) and... therefore, might actually know ‘a real antique’ so... therefore... ‘might have prospects’ (might actually buy good antiques from old New England estates from... James Hutton).  Carefully, then... Hutton’s attention was... perked.  VERY, VERY, VERY few... if “ANY” ever... touched the bowl.  Including the owners of The Gallery.  For this last... they never even saw the bowl except in a ‘passing’ because Hutton ALWAYS “put the bowl away when I leave”
            Hutton, as part of the shop-sitting, IS ‘allowed’ to ‘have a few things’ ‘for sale’ WITH a ‘mindful’ to NOT conflict with ‘the owners’... “STUFF”.  What that actually means is that IF one is a ‘real’ ‘antiques dealer’ one comes to The Gallery when Hutton ‘is there’ and the THEY (“owners”) are NOT there and... go to Hutton’s car parked outside and VISIT HIS ANTIQUES SHOP (in his car) and BUY antiques from HIM... THERE... with no one being  a wiser or ...thinking anything unusual ‘about doing this’.
            WHY?  Because the ‘stock’ of ‘antiques’ ‘for sale’ in shops like The Gallery...
            “SUCK” meaning they are, even though they ARE antiques... DULL, STANDARD, ‘off the rack’, ‘paid too much’ ‘over priced’ “PLENTY of ANTIQUES” grade...  that “NO ONE WANTS”... except strolling “IDIOTS” “IN THE SUMMER” (July 2nd to the morning of Labor Day).
            Hutton understands this.
            I understand this.
            Everyone who has anything to do with ‘real antiques’... understands this.
            The women with the tote bags ‘don’t buy’ ANYTHING.
            The store; The Gallery... is, then... WHAT?

Friday, April 18, 2014

"It's Been Two Years" - Part Three (C) - "The Dreadful News"

"It's Been Two Years"

Part Three (C)

"The Dreadful News"

            “She’s making me move out.  Your not her SPY are you?”
            “I didn’t think so.  You don’t feel RIGHT to her anyway.  I know that.  A little too agile she says of you.  Meaning, I suppose, your marked ability to... well... NOT cringe before her.  MOST men do cringe before her.  You know that.”
            “I really give her little thought.  She IS an antiques buyer of... at least... LOCAL prowess.  That’s her title you know; prowess.
            “Her Prowess... let’s TITLE her THAT.  Ha:  She’s moving me out.  Or PLANS to.  To make sure I die... I believe.  She KNOWS I will die.  If I’m moved out.
            “Really moving you out?”
            “Don’t bother.  It’s MY fight.  I don’t NEED YOU.”
            “Well sure... but I... really... had no idea.”
            “It wasn’t your idea to have... was it.  All you do is pray upon the weakened; the ones...; the ones with the broken wings.  I know that... BECAUSE of our business.  Very true ...you and your marked ability.  Or should it be abilities; plural.  I’ve heard of you putting the ladder up to ALL SIDES of the older houses.  The older the better I’d say of you.  And a perfectly natural feel you seem to have for that.  It’s not a skill for you.  You simply know.  That, in the current circles of MY village... passes as ‘marked abilities’.  In my village.  MY village is MY prowess.  Do I LOOK THAT to you today?”
            “You are that... THAT I know... and need no further... well...:  Do I cringe before you HERE?”
            “No.  Of course not.  Your too agile for that.  My wing is broken... but you’d never mention it.  Would you, kind sir, BUY ME OUT?”
            “Buy you out?”
            “OH not YET:  I’m still not DEAD yet.  And I will die... in here.  JUST so I can watch you ...clean out my room... while I... as SPIRIT... watch you.  Or will I wait on you?  Do I need to point my fingers for you?  NO:  You don’t need ANYONE for that do you.  You and your very own... prowess.  Show me some of that.  I want to know your not her spy.”
            “Well I was just going by and felt I should... well... COULD... stop in.”
            “To see if SHE’S RIGHT?”
            “She’s right?”
            “That I will GIVE UP.”
            “To be moved out?”
            “WHY NOT she says to me.  A whole floor of her house she says to me.  BASEMENT I say to her:  She wants to put me in her BASEMENT.”
            “Move you to her basement; the apartment there?”
            “Its not an APARTMENT.  That’s just what SHE calls it.  So just go away if you think that.  AND YOU DO know better.  JUST LOOK WHERE WE’RE SITTING.  Is this a BASEMENT?”
            “AND... THEN... What IS IT?”
            “I... ah...”
            “It’s MY HOUSE.  I... LIVE... here.  Would I move you out of your old house?  Never.  Would I move HER out of HER house?  NEVER.  It’s a rotten house she’s got there anyway and she can go rot in there TOO.”
            (No I am NOT sipping sherry with Cadence am I... and ...she IS coming through the rye... with a scythe.  A sharp scythe with a sharp... swing.  But I have ‘fought joined at the hand’ ...in old New England homes before.  This is just the way it... actually is.  That’s why they ‘still have’ the ‘old looking glass’ hanging ‘just where it always has’.  And that looking glass has only been dusted... forty-two times... in two hundred and twenty-two years.  “You say?  And you’ve been keeping count?”  No... only the ‘I... as SPIRIT... watch you’... has.  And... IS.)
            (No... I am NOT and this be a fair trade and a fair fight of a conversation.  SHE be the captain and I... be on the deck of HER schooner ‘to sea’.  Be there sitting... in the window with the African Violets.  She does not hate me.  Fear me.  Or pass me by as ‘half witted’.  No... she is embracing me as FRIEND and of the “I KNOW”... what she speaks of.  “THOUGHT OF YOU” she said and that is fair drawn for I DO... ‘thought of you’:  I know... ‘the floors and the ceilings’.  Cadence is stepping TO me and HUGGING ME the way ‘the huggers’ never know a hug can be.  She... as an old fortune teller... of herself... is telling me... her fortune... herself.)
            “Is she TAKING you THERE?” I said.
            “Hardly TAKE me YET.  ‘SHOW YOU’ she is.  She turned on the light.  It is a bare bulb in the center of the ceiling.  ‘What is that?  A SUN?’ I say.  ‘NO; for you to SEE’ she says. ‘I CAN SEE’ I say ‘AND TURN THAT OFF’.  ‘Why there is no other light’ she says.  ‘GOOD’ I say.  ‘It looks BETTER in the DARK’. ‘Oh’ she says ‘What is WRONG with you!’  ‘I do not need LIGHT in this dungeon.  I need SUN.’ I say.  And the floor is SEE-ment... with this RUG GLUED to it.  ‘Carpeting’ she calls it; ‘it’s CARPETING’ she says.  ‘JUST AWFUL’ I say.  SEVEN ROOMS of that AWFUL RUG with EVERY room a bare bulb in the center of the ceiling that ‘throws the light ALL WRONG’ I tell her.  “NO:  YOUR WRONG’ she say.  Awful; just awful:  ‘HOW many ROOMS do I USE?’ I ask.  All SEVEN she says.  I’ve never used SEVEN ROOMS in my whole LIFE I say.  I only use TWO  rooms here ALL WINTER’
            (That ‘two rooms’ be Cadence in the blood hot kitchen and her childhood bedroom... directly above the kitchen.  Abutting that room... above the kitchen sink [a straight line of old plumbing]... is a ‘bathroom’.  That, as old New England Wasp tradition... is NOT a ‘room’... and... continuing that same tradition... IS a, well, ‘room’ wherein Cadence actually spends a considerable amount of time... NOT ‘using the toilet’ but... fussing with the radiator’s valve; venting it and ...twisting the valve with an old pair of pliers she keeps on a ‘cricket’ [small foot or step stool] before the radiator.  If all this seems a ‘little nuts’... it is a little nuts... but is ONLY a LITTLE nuts for it is, do understand, a... ‘much greater real’).
            Cadence continues this ‘much greater real’ by ranting about the... ‘floors and the ceilings’...  “SOME MORE”.  She, correctly from her social poise... “HATES” centered and ANY ceiling light.  She, correctly from her social poise... “HATES” any floor AND floor covering that is not ‘old wide pine floor boards that are never... and never ever were or will be... ‘refinished’... so are ‘worn bare wood’ ‘everywhere’ (in a house) ‘only’ (the ONLY floor boards ‘unless something happened’ (and that, in Defiance, is the ‘a this’ ‘never did’ ...or does... ‘happen’).  Floor covering is confined to ‘old’, ‘small’, ‘hooked’, ‘braided’ or ‘rag woven’ ‘carpets’ and smaller ‘scattered’ ‘old’ ‘oriental’ ‘rugs’.  Anything else is... at the least... ‘bad taste’ but more aptly “THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER” because they “WERE RAISED WRONG” and.... AND “are half witted” “TOO’.  Cleaning (wiping ME clean of) this ‘upon me’ of Cadence... upon me... is that ...she does know that I... fully know and understand... ‘the floors and the ceilings’ of old New England so... is assured that I... know she’s right.  Therefore her sister’s ‘re-done’ basement ‘apartment’ is ... “JUST AWFUL”.
            And... Cadence is right; it is.  It WILL KILL HER to live there.  It; the moving Cadence to that (the basement apartment) IS... ‘The Dreadful News’.
            Even to me.
            “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” she says.
            I sit... alone in my chair... beside the African Violets for... a deep introspective ‘what would I do’ moment and then say:
            “Your cats.”
            “They’re ALL outside today.”
            “Yes but... the CATS are your way out of this.”
            “My cats?”
            “She hates the cats?”
            “Of course she hates the cats.”
            “The cats are your army”.
            “I don’t need an army... but I DO need my CATS:  THEY COME TO.  I forgot about that”.
            “And she doesn’t know about that... YET... does she?”
            “No... we’ve never TALKED about THAT”.
            “WELL... then...:  Let me remind you of an old FRIEND of yours.  HE holds a magic charm for you.”
            “Magic charm?  For me?  I know him?  WHO?”
            “Your old... forgotten friend... Tom Sawyer.”
            “Tom Sawyer?  I don’t know Tom Sawyer.”
            “Yes you do... you’ve just forgotten you do.  HE knows about CATS.”
            “Tom Sawyer knows about cats?”
            “Well... HIS FRIEND does.”
            “HIS friend?”
            “Huckleberry Finn... comes along the street... carrying a dead cat.”
            “You remember Tom hailing Huck with that cat.  He says to Huck ‘Lemme see him Huck.  My, he’s pretty stiff. ... Say – what is dead cat good for Huck?’  And Huck says ‘Good for?  Cure WARTS with.’***  THAT’S what you NEED your cats for:  To cure A WART”.

            Cadence’s head cocked to a thoughtful pause and then she calmly said “Why... ISN’T SHE the WART AT THAT!  But... I don’t want my cats DEAD.”
            “Your cats don’t need to be dead to get rid of this wart.  They just have to be THERE.  HOW many cats do you have anyway?”
            “Well let me see.  I do try to count.  But they MOVE so much.  And it’s dark back there (by the rear door of the far shed leading to the barn where Cadence feeds her ‘outdoor cats’... raccoons, skunks... and a possum – Maine’s newest nocturnal raider of cat food dishes).  I don’t know... really... I DO count them but I cannot say for sure... let me be... maybe... OH...:  TWENTY.” (outdoor cats and indoor cats together in total?  The village gossip has counted between twelve and eighteen ‘outdoor’ cats ‘around back there’; the back shed door).
            “No; just your INDOOR cats”.
            “Well I won’t LEAVE the others.”
            “Of course not.  But you shouldn’t have to if you bring ENOUGH indoor cats with you.  How many are indoors right now?”
            “Well... six.  And Tortie.  He comes and goes.  And Roberta.  She’s just beautiful.  But very big.  So it’s better for the others that she stay out.  But Roberta would have to come too.  So... eight?”
            “That should do it.”
            “Do what?”
            “Be enough to cure a wart with.  All you gotta do is bring those cats and you’ll be moved BACK in HERE in an HOUR.”
            “Why I’ve never THOUGHT of that.  She HATES the cats.  OF COURSE she won’t (let Cadence keep her cats in the basement apartment).  That old WART!  Isn’t she JUST AN OLD WART.  Your absolutely RIGHT about using my CATS.  She’ll never stand for it.  The cats will CURE the WART.  How did you ever think of this?”
            “You told me how.  You said it’s my ‘marked abilities’.
            “Of course it is.  I forget that.  So many are HALF WITTED these days.  But using the CATS is no plan by a half wit.  It’s actually genius.”

*** : Mark Twain, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, The American Publishing Company, Hartford, CT, 1877, pg. 64.  “TOM” reads better as an adult read book.  “But people DON’T READ” says Cadence.  And she’s right.