"Ladies All I Pray Make Free
And Tell M How You Like Your Tea."
We... I describing and the reader following along... come to the last two days of the ‘clean out’ of this estate; the ‘reaching’ the ‘broom clean’ contractual status (Parts One, Four and after) sealed with the ‘return of the key(s)’ ‘of the place’ ‘to the estate’ (usually a desk girl toward the front of a law firm who... asks... if... “everything went ok?”... et al... sort of questions. Easy to understand this: This is ‘estate clean out’ ‘game over’. Done.
I never go back.
There is nothing (no ‘antiques’) there... ever again... including ‘the people who buy the place’, ‘fix it up’ and... ‘decorate it with antiques’. Easy to understand this... too.
NOW with the two days left clock ticking I am, again, alone ‘in there’ with... ha, ha, ha.... “I knew I wouldn’t be alone for long for HERE HE COMES”... Asa. Yes, but:
I have now spoken enough of this to ...not surprise the reader... by saying ‘ha, ha, ha’ I am NOT that bothered by Asa for, as I have endeavored to convey... he-of-his-sort ARE TOO ‘part of this’. I mean... WE are NOT together in the ...the Target (Part Thirteen)... parking lot... vision of the world. We are here. AND... Asa cried in the living room of the estate... TOO (Part Two).
I mean... I didn’t CRY here... never even got close. So... like... is it REALLY a ‘surprise’ and a ‘that bad’ that this ...human shaped snot ball of a hoarding antique thief... is a ‘coming around ... after scientifically determining through his own vision of the cosmic order of things that... I... am ‘still there’ ‘now’ ‘too’. “I’m gonna go WHACK on him!” he... I don’t know if he actually did... says to himself outside the front door. Rubs his hands together and then... comes in without knocking... into the ‘HOUSE” to “BUG ME”.
I, ah... “ok” and ‘see that coming’ and I... OK: TWO DAYS LEFT six hours of day one GONE when Asa, always punctual, ‘at eleven’ ‘an hour before lunch’... WHOSE LUNCH... shows up.
Now... these last days and their action are a consistent fixture in my clean-out method. By the that days I... have... cleaned... out... the... estate. There is some ‘stuff’ there but... it (the estate) IS... to the lay I-eye... cleaned out. AND I am intentionally alone and I... this first day... fully complete the clean out to MY broom clean contractual criteria...:
“Yeah, yeah, yeah get the point” is a foist-at-me but I remind that YOU are looking for space to park at the Target... and NOT looking for ‘antiques’ in Colonial Maine farms. So... I am there doing MY broom clean dance AND ‘loading’ ‘stuff’’ I purposely left ‘there’ ‘until now’ such as the two occasional tables (Part Thirteen). There is a ‘truck load’ of ‘that kind of stuff (‘good antiques’) there for me to TAKE .... “TODAY”. “What the?” you say?
OK so when you have a contract you don’t ‘empty’ ‘it’ before that contract is ‘over’ because a someone-who-parks-at-the-TARGET might think, therefore, ‘your done’ cleaning out. “I’m not done”. So: Got it?
AND OK so... amusingly... ‘leaving’ ‘good stuff’ is ‘not a problem’ because the same park-at-the-Target set figure... for me (YOU)... and to themselves... that IF YOU ‘left that’ it is... ‘no good’ ‘because YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING’. SO if I leave the 1810 English Regency drum top stand AND the New England dish top candle stand ‘in there’ with... like... a bottle of Windex and roll of p towels on the c stand and a... hammer, pry bar and flashlight on the... plant pot stained ‘top’ of the drum stand...: They, a thief, will only ‘take that’; the flashlight, hammer and pry bar. Absolutely... securing this... by dirty trick... is the skillful-on-my-part leaving on the floor beside the drum stand a... six pack of ‘Quick Stop’ grade beer... lacking one can (leaving five cans). In most cases a ‘visitor’ will... ‘take that’ and... be completely satisfied with their ‘visit’ and... even leave the.... flashlight.
So this day one day is... ‘broom clean’ day and here comes... skipping along... Asa. WHAT then is day two?
Well, bronco busters... that day is a dirty day. I, broom clean, come back with two “I choose’ ‘guys’ ‘I know’ whose quality service offering is that they are... really good... at ‘creeping’ ‘old farms’ to ‘find things’. Here, for example, there are six old buildings on the property. WE have ‘cleaned’ those buildings ‘out’. No one thinks we have not done this BUT:
This is the ...first time... in the property’s two hundred and fifty year history and the ...last time... in its two hundred and fifty year history... that... WE (I) and/or ANYONE ...is going to be alone on this property... ‘looking for antiques’. It is a simple “Don’t screw this (opportunity) up”. WE... at the empty, cleaned out... farm ...spend a whole day creeping ALL OF IT... in tag team togetherness, spiritedness, Old New England-ness, old farm-ness... old your-not-there-or-are-gonna-be-there-either-ness. It is the complete old... every time I ever drive by that place again ever... I ‘know’ ‘it’s empty’ (“broom clean”) ...ness.
That’s what we do. That day. AND... for the record... the creeper buddies of mine invited there... although very good at creeping and ‘finding’... are... by their own afflictions... ‘very stupid’ when it comes to ‘knowing’ about ‘antiques’ and ‘art’. Especially the last. OK they don’t ‘the TARGET’ themselves so much. It’s MORE HOME D for them actually and-but... “the wife” is both ‘the Target’ AND B-B-BEYOND. So... ah... they find it (antiques) ok but ...”don’t know”. Except that they do ‘have surmised’ that I DO know and, well... don’t’ like that. Especially when I goof on them that, for example, at a review of the ‘finds’ they, should they and they don’t... ‘steal something’... they probably wouldn’t take the ‘a good thing’.
I remind... that in the Colonial New England homestead setting... ‘things’ were few and scarce. They were ‘put away’ and ...that’s a big door that opens right there. If they were ‘put away’ they are probably ‘still there’. We just ‘look’. And look. And look. It takes a whole day of being alone, not being bugged and not having to ‘explain’ what we are doing. That’s the last day in a ‘broom clean’ estate. It’s a very pleasant day and actually is ‘part of my job’.
Asa won’t come visiting the ‘last day’. Too many trucks. Scares him away. “Good bye”. If Asa suggests asking to be around I suggest that my ‘they’ helpers will... pack him up in an old nailed shut box and leave him under the eaves in the attic for the ‘roofers to find’. Shifting his weight back and forth... Asa takes that verbal hit but... still keeps coming.
“Dartmouth wasn’t it?” I continue.
“Divinity? You can pass the dish (the ‘offering plate)?”
“Have you ever?”
“Not...in the traditional sense... I will admit.”
“OH THIEF you ARE. I forgot.
“Same as passing the plate really.”
“That’s philosophical of you. You must have studied someone. Margaret Fuller?”
“A seed from Thoreau?”
“A single grain of rice?” I continue. “Looks to me like you’ve spilled rice all over the FLOOR of your life.”
“You always look at others like they’ve been cast.”
“Cast in bronze or cast off your back porch?”
“When you get to the ‘Death Chair’ I’d like to buy it.”
“It is for sale.”
“Two fifty ($250.00).
“Oh I won’t pay THAT.”
“Where is it? I’d like to look at it again.”
“Again? You have a memory of it?”
“You sat in it?” I continue.
“YOU sat in it YOU SAID.”
“Yes I did; sat my butt right down in it.”
“No one ever...”
“Except ME. That comes with this dirty business of mine.”
“You know... having to be violated by someone like you. That makes this dirt dirty.”
“When you come down (in price) let me know.”
“Your not gonna buy that. Let me put it outside the (front) door so you can steal it.
“Your not gonna buy that. Let me put it outside the (front) door so you can steal it.
Pause and then Asa says “Just where is the chair?”
“Right in there.” I say briskly while turning to point at the... very closed... bedroom door. “I put it in there for safe keeping. That room has a MAGIC force field that keeps people like you far, far away.”
“I’m gonna fetch it now and put it out on the porch for you to steal so get ready Mr. Minister for your act of GOD.”
“Stealing Her chair”.
“You are a piece of shit.” I said and paced to the bedroom door. I opened it, left it wide open, stepped in and retrieved the chair... Then I carried it out of the bedroom through the main room past Asa directly to the front door of the homestead where I, holding the chair in one hand, opened that door. Stepping out into the late morning air I plopped the chair down to the going-out-that-door’s left.
I walked back into the house closing the door behind me. Then I paced directly across the room to the bedroom doorway and closed that door too. Asa... spent most of all of that staring at the open bedroom doorway.
“Asa” I said. “I’m gonna say something and then your gonna go and steal the chair.” I said something to Asa. He listened. I’ll speak what I said in a minute. Asa, at the end, looked at me, turned round, went out the front door and closed it behind him. I stood in the room very carefully listening. I heard Asa shuffle the chair. Then silence. Then I heard Asa shuffle the chair again. Then silence. Then I heard Asa’s feet stepping across the porch. Then he stopped. Then he steps back and I hear the chair shuffle again. Then I hear Asa step away and down the porch steps. Then it is quiet: All quiet. I wait.
I am alone in the house. There is no noise. I go to the front door, open it and see the Death Chair sitting where I left it. He didn’t take it.. He almost took it but he brought it back. Before that... he sat in it.
What I spoke at Asa before he left was: “Asa I want you to know that I know that one day out on your back porch your gonna chuck your empty bottle but that time your gonna chuck yourself down that hillock after it. After about five days someone with find what’s left of you. After about five weeks I be up here going through your house and the barn too. I’ll get the chair back. I’ll get everything. There’s noting you can do about it. It’s all mine anyway; all of Her stuff and the chair. Steal the chair and keep it. I’ll get it back. It won’t be that long from now either.”
I said that to him.
That’s exactly what happened.
“Ladies all I pray make free
and tell me how you like your tea.”
(Motto printed on a nineteenth century English Staffordshire transferware child’s plate).