Breakfast Special, #46, “Pinballing”

Pinballing

Upon reaching the main hallway Sarge kept on moving until they’d moved past the kitchen and stood at the cold back end of the house on the inner side of the rear porch. Seeing his stressed expression, noting the strength of his continued grip on her and how he put his back up against the wall and took on a defensive stance, Lily  glanced back down the hall they’d come through. Seeing none of the b-brigade had followed, she turned back to find Sarge pulling on the string around his neck to which one of her sachets was attached. She helped by releasing the string when it caught on a shirt button. Trying to regain her composure, she said nothing.  Sarge inhaled deeply  the scent of the small bag then managed a smile for her. “Have you done that pinball action before, Lily? Was that beginner’s luck or are you a ringer? Come on, fess up, Missy.”

“That’s what that move is called, pinball? Ah ha.” Lily clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Purely beginner’s luck, Funny Man.” She laughed softly. “We’re going to have to practice that in reverse.”

“Reverse? As in you putting me into motion?”

“Yeah. Why not?”

Sarge cocked his head to the left and looked her over. “Sure, why not. With the right leverage and some serious spin you could get my weight flying. Maybe.”

“What? You think I can’t throw your hide?”

“Throw me, sure, no problem. Pinballing me through a crowd, that’s another story. But it’s a possibility under the right conditions.”

“Under the right conditions, huh.” Lily smirked then glanced again down the hallway.

“Are you okay after those body slams?”

“Yeah, I’m good. My shoulders did most of the work. But you look really hot.” Without thinking how he might react, she reached out and put her hands lightly against his fully flushed cheeks. “Are you sick?”

“No. Just way too many people in one place.”  He searched her expression for some sign of being angry with him. Finding none, he sighed with relief. Unsure of how to begin processing what had just happened with the women in the crowded main room, he waited  for some clue from Lily on the subject. “Is everyone in the Flats trying to pack themselves into that one room tonight or what?”

Lily refrained from bringing up what had happened with her and the b-brigade and the young man and his friends. “There are a lot more people than usual showing up tonight that’s for sure. The kitchen is full of food waiting for space on the tables. There’s hardly any room to move around in there either. I don’t understand why people aren’t spreading out into the other open rooms.”

“Maybe there’s an effort underway to set a record for most people in a certain amount of square footage?”

Unaware they were being watched by several very interested parties from the kitchen, Lily felt his forehead for sign of a fever as Sarge closed his eyes and leaned his head into her palm. “If that’s the case, why don’t they just pack themselves into where the middle of the street ought to be? Put their body heat to use melting some snow.”

Sarge laughed a little then opened his eyes and tensed.

“Everything level here?” Anton’s voice and presence startled them. He’d caught them unawares without realizing he’d done so. Having made no effort to hide his approach, he backed away a few steps with his hands held palm open and up in front of him at the fierce look in Sarge’s eyes and an equally harsh glare from Lily. “Easy, Anton comes in peace.” He inclined his head towards the hall he’d just walked down as he tried to get a reading on Lily regarding her reaction to what had transpired with the b-brigade and other women. “Figured I’d run some interference in case anyone still does not have a full grasp of no.”

Relaxing noticeably as Anton kept his distance and his calm tone while apparently taking no offence at the threatening look he’d initially sent his way, Sarge responded with an apologetic shrug. “No problem, Anton. I just didn’t realize you were here until you spoke. You do a fine impression of a ghost. You’ve got some damn quiet feet. A little chain rattling wouldn’t hurt. ”

Anton took his house keys from his pocket and shook them. “How that work?” His own red alert signal eased up when Sarge laughed and waved a dismissive hand at his joke. He shook the keys again while meeting Lily’s  puzzled stare. “That working for you, Lily?” Unlike Sarge, she didn’t laugh or relax. “O give Anton a little joy for effort.” He jerked his thumb in the direction behind him. “Esther holding the front line. She’ll make noise if some company you don’t want makes tracks this way.”

Lily moved to look past him to where Esther was standing further down the hall watching the entrance to the front room. She looked at Anton. “What’s going on? If the b-brigade is on the warpath, I’m more than happy to deal with them on my own. Esther doesn’t need to burn any of her bridges on my account.”

“You best inform her of that fact. You know she not going to budge on my say so.”

Fully aware of Anton’s intention to send her Esther’s way and guessing they both knew something she didn’t but should, she decided to cooperate. “I will. Keep an eye on Sarge. He’s not feeling well, even though he says otherwise.”

“Don’t concern yourself, Anton. I’m good.” Sarge shrugged when Lily gave him a look that said she didn’t believe his self assessment before walking in Esther’s direction.

Satisfied that he’d pushed the correct communication button, Anton  cautiously edged closer to Sarge and lowered his voice for privacy. “Sorry, Sarge, Lily say otherwise and Anton’s bones say otherwise too.”

“Who am I to argue with your bones? That crowd got to me. But I’m okay now. I’m not sick as in, toss my dinner sick.” Knowing that Anton wanted to talk with him, Sarge joined him in keeping an eye on Lily as she made her way to Esther. “What’s a b-brigade?”

“B-brigade no problem at the moment. Anton define them later.” He moved to stand facing the hallway so he could watch it and talk quietly with Sarge at the same time. He looked Sarge over. “You definitely not up to par, Sarge. Lily correct in saying you not well. If you gonna hurl or do a face flop, please inform Anton directly so I can evade the splatter.”

Sarge shook his head. “I’m not going to do either one. Quit already.” A moment later he said, “Do I really look like I might?”

“Either, both, or something else.” Anton watched Lily and Esther conversing down the hall. He stepped sideways a little closer to Sarge and glanced cautiously at the kitchen doorway before speaking. “What in hell possessed you to turn up the heat dancing with Lily in a crowd full of stir crazy women?”

Not liking the implication that he’d deliberately brought the unwanted sexual advances upon himself, Sarge said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Anton. I didn’t dance any differently with Lily than we do when we’re by ourselves.”

Anton gave up watching his wife and Lily and turned his full attention to the man still getting his bearings after politely bulldozing his way through a dozen bold women with no claims to self-restraint or tact a few minutes earlier. “Hold on. You been dancing like that with Lily all along?”

Sarge’s confusion and incomprehension was plain. “Like what? We dance, that’s all. She’s a great dance partner, even when her right foot acts up. We read each other and the music really well together.”

Tuning into his bones and his intellect full throttle, Anton stared intently at the younger man, himself on the alert for duplicity or any form of  deception. “That what you call it? Reading the music together?”

“Yeah, what else? What do you call it?”

“We put that defintion on the side for now. Don’t you dare tell me you don’t know what just went down while making an exit from that room. You got to be clued into that action or you be brain-dead and don’t know it yet.”

Sarge pushed his hair away from his face. “Of course I know. How could I not? I dealt with them without making a bad scene, didn’t I? What the hell that was about is beyond me though. I never saw most of those women before tonight.” He leaned against the wall  in an effort to relieve the tension the conversation was creating. “The ones I have met never acted like that before. You know it because you’ve been with me at every one of their homes when we did some repairs. You also know that none of them ever pulled that kind of shit on me before tonight.” When Anton didn’t respond with more than a nod, he continued with, “Does it have something to do with Lily?”

 

 

9 Comments

  1. slpmartin said,

    April 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I love it when a writer can make me forget that I’m reading the dialogue and making me feel I’m hearing it…another excellent write.

  2. April 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    You would think the b-brigade would have more respect for Lily? Guess Sarge’s dance moves and some pheromone action must be at work here.

    • April 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      :) I guess so.
      Hi artistatexito. Hope the river has been treating you well.

  3. Deborah said,

    May 1, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Oh my! I hope we don’t have to wait long for the next installment!

    • May 2, 2014 at 1:15 am

      Hello Deborah. Not long. Thanks so much for reading and enjoying. Your attention is very appreciated.

      • Deborah said,

        May 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

        I do have a question. Should I understand why the b-brigrade is trying to cause trouble for these two? Or is that something yet to be revealed? I understand all the other plotting and planting, but this kind of took me by surprise. However, I will be the first to admit, I let huge gaps of time go by sometimes and it’s possible I lose track of important clues. Thanks :-)

      • May 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        Hello Deborah. Oh you didn’t miss the b-brigade clue for further connection clarification. It’s coming up. I understand about the gaps in reading time. Keep in mind that Sarge has his issues with his past relationships–such as they’ve been–and Lily has a personal relationship history too. To help out a little, the b-brigade is part of Lily’s relationship history with another man. These women, and others like them, are part of the group that provides some motivation for Lily’s decision “to own” Sarge as she does to make a personal statement in a social venue. Hope that helps a little. Thanks for reading whenever you come around to do so. :)

      • Deborah said,

        May 3, 2014 at 11:37 pm

        Oh good, I feel better now! I did get it that they were the motivation, but I thought maybe I missed why. So I’ll be patient (mostly)! haha


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