Friday, October 24, 2014

Coon Hill - Part Two - "The First Chair"

Coon Hill

Part Two

"The First Chair"

            “The difficulty with you...”
            “But that’s not the old chair.”
            “It is ‘the old chair’.  You just don’t know it.”
            “But my old chair; you know what it is.”
            “Yes and I have that too.  But not for you.  It’s mine now.  This chair... too... is mine and IS ‘the old chair’.”
            “I don’t see my chair.  Where is it?”
            “Oh... never you mind.”
            “Why don’t you ever trust me.”
            “Because you lie and you steal.  This house would be empty if you could... simply be left alone.  And... you WERE alone in here.  Finally.  Weren’t you.  But she kept you off.  Didn’t she?  Even when she was dead.”
            “I came in and, well, she was dead there in the chair.  I knew what that was.  Right there in the chair.  Dead.”
            “She made it to the chair.”

            “No... I think she was seated; been seating herself there.  In it.  For a while.  I just know that.”
            “You know that? ...Actually:  You probably are right about that; she prepared.”
            “Yes... and she’d moved the chair out this past year.  Out into the room.  I saw it.  I didn’t notice at first.  Then I understood.  I never said anything.”
            “So you come in and she’s dead in the chair.”
            “Yes.  It had been a day. At least.  Just in the chair... dead.”
            “And you... what?”
            “That... she was so small and frail... sitting there dead... I figured; that she’d be found, would be when they come by at noon.”
            “So you left her.”
            “And left; no stealing.”
            “I... didn’t feel right... didn’t do any of that.  Just... I don’t know what I did but... I was right here.  Then I left.”
            “Never touched her or the chair?”

            “I’ve moved the chair.  It’s my chair now.  I moved it.  And I sat in it.”
            “You sat in it?”
            “Just like you wish you could.”
            “Sit in it?”
            “And die.”
            “I’m not gonna die in that chair.”
            “Then why do you want it?”
            “You make me uncomfortable with that.  I never touched her or the chair.”
            “But you looked at her in that chair.  And you don’t know how long you did that for.”
            “I didn’t do that.”
            “You did too... and you cried.  Eventually, standing there, you cried.”
            “How do you know that?”
            “Because I know you... and how you lie and you steal.  This was too much for you.”
            “I didn’t... I don’t remember.”
            “No... that I do... but... it was her in that chair.”
            “No.  It was her dead... and that it was over.  There’s no point to your stealing; no point to this at all anymore.  And you want the chair.  Why?  So you can die in it too?”
            “I don’t believe you.”
            “It doesn’t matter what you don’t believe.  I have the chair.  I have it all.  I have this chair too.  This chair.  You don’t know about this chair.  It’s always been here in the house.  So you couldn’t steal it.”
            “Maybe I saw it.  Maybe.  I don’t know.”
            “No you don’t.  Don’t touch it.  It’s ‘spilled blood’.”
            “Oh don’t tell me that.”
            “Then what is this chair?

            “You don’t know do you.”
            “THAT CHAIR is the FIRST CHAIR; her ‘first chair’.  Her mother’s first chair.  And that goes back to every one of her mother’s... mother’s... mothers.  ALL the way back:  ALL of them.  This... is their FIRST CHAIR.  The other chair; your chair... is their DEATH chair.  ALL of the mother’s... death chair.  She got to it.  And died in it.  And you saw her there.  Dead.  And that’s all you saw.  Because you cried.  Right here in this room you cried.  After all the lies; all the stealing.  THIS CHAIR... I wanted THIS chair even more then the death chair.  But I got that chair.  TOO.  I have both of her chairs now.  BOTH of them.  And the rest of it too... except what you carried off from her barns.  And hid in your barn.  Stealing.  But you never got anything in here.  You were always too scared when you came in here... to steal anything.”
            “She might see it.”
            “Notice it; that you’d been in here... stealing.”
            “How do you know... ABOUT... this chair.”
            “She told me.  She had it to the historical society one night too.  Told them the story.  It’s a ‘first chair’.  It’s ah...  it’s old house spirit stuff.”
            “House spirit?”
            “That keeps you from stealing.”

            “This chair... this chair they brought here when they came here.  Massholes; moved up here.  After the Revolution.  Built the house.  THIS CHAIR they brought with ‘em; the mother’s... mother.  That was with ‘em.  When they came; ‘settled’.  Her chair; she sat in it.  Maybe died in it.  PROBABLY NOT.  Probably DID die in the death chair but... ah... that chair wasn’t FIXED UP yet.  Anyway:  This chair is their ‘first chair’.  And they knew it... always.”
            “Funny chairs those; hard to sit in.”
            “But they did.  Remember:  They were smaller and thin then.  Not big and fat.  So:  This was her ‘first chair’.”
            “I never heard her speak of it.”
            “Course not.  THIS CHAIR... well... they painted it white... probably at the Centennial (1876).  And put the hooked seat on... on TOP of the old splint seat.  Make it more comfortable for the old woman to sit on.”
            “Sit on?”

            “At the ceremony.  Centennial.  Celebration.  Had to sit up front on the stage.  Showed ‘em off; all the old settlers.  Probably.  Had to sit on the chair for several hours.  So they put a hooked seat on it for her butt.  Not that she needed it.  She was probably just as old and frail...  A wisp up there.  Sitting.  You know... she could have hooked the seat herself.  You know; preparing.  The chair for her butt.  Women knew to do stuff like that.  Back then:  Prepare.  Anyway.  I’ve waited along time for that chair.”
            “Is it worth a lot?”
            “NO!  Nobody even knows.  Except me.  And no one cares.  What’s happening... is that RIGHT NOW that old chair starts to drift.  I mean... I can be it’s guardian... you know; with my wife... for a few decades.  Or I could go down to that historical society and... what do I say... REMIND THEM of the chair.  And look at them looking at me with a blank look.  Like...”
            “I don’t see why you’d do that with it.   What did you call it?  A ‘first chair’.”
            “Trust me; no one knows what I’m talking about.  The God damn first woman in the wilderness up here sat in that chair and... every single woman descended from her sat in the chair until right now with me showing that chair to you and then... walking out this door with it.  Go steal that.”

            “I’m not gonna steal that chair.  Where’s the other chair; my chair.”
            “The death chair.  I already took it out so you couldn’t steal it.”.
            “Did you sit in this chair?”
            “Of course I did.  That’s my job.”
            “Your job?  To sit in that old chair?
            “Yes.  Who else is gonna do it?  You?”
            “Well I guess I could sit in it.”
            “Get away from that chair.  Your not gonna sit in that chair.  That’s my chair now.  I’m the first person touching that chair.  I’m the first person carrying this chair out that door.  First person... that isn’t from the family... to ever... do that.  I’m gonna keep it that way too.  Don’t you touch that chair.”
            “You make me WANT to touch it.”
            “Course I do.  And you can’t.”

            “I’m just gonna reach over....”
            “No you ain’t.  She’s gonna come back from her grave and kill you if you do.”
            “Kill me?”
            “And she ain’t even bones yet.”
            “How do you know that?”
            “I know about these things.  And you don’t mess with ‘em.”
            “Mess with them?”
            “You don’t.  She’s gonna kill you anyway.”
            “You’re the one taking her old chairs.  She’s gonna kill YOU.”
            “No she ain’t.”
            “Why not?”
            “Because I know what I’m doing and she knows it.  I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for that.  That includes me keeping you out.”
            “Me out?”
            “She knows I know to do that.  And will.  Your out.  I get the chairs.”
            “NOW how do you figure that?”
            “I get everything.  Except what you stole.  I’ll get that... pretty along.”
            “My barn?  You not going in there.”
            “I don’t have to.”
            “Why not?”
            “She will.  Why don’t you go down to her grave and talk to her.  You can’t miss it.  It’s the one with the fresh dirt.  There’s eleven generations of hers buried right there.  She’s the last one.  That’s the end of it.  Except for me cleaning this place out.”
            “Then it’s over?”
            “When is it over?”
            “I don’t know yet.”
            “Why not?”
            “You’ve still got a barn full of her stuff.”

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