Breakfast Special, #47, “Flipping Switches”

Flipping Switches

“Oh it got something to do with them and Lily all right.” Anton took a few steps backwards to get out of Sarge’s immediate reach in case he pushed the wrong buttons and riled him up while trying to discuss an issue that needed to be addressed immediately in light of what he and Esther had just witnessed. “Now we go back to what we set on the side. You dancing the way you did with Lily was like turning on a whole lot of light switches at the same time like we did today to check the rewiring at Percy Two’s place. Only it turned on a bunch of women instead of light bulbs. Probably more than a few men in that bunch too, truth be told. You read that action?”

Sarge frowned at Anton and shook his head. “No way. I have never had anything like that happen before. Never after dancing with a woman in public. Not once. Not ever.” He pushed away from the wall and stood up straight, facing off with a clearly disbelieving Anton. “I am not bullshitting you, Anton. That sort of thing has never happened to me any other time.”

Anton read the other man’s body language as an effort to assert his honesty rather than an attempt to physically intimidate him into backing down. Considering this and recalling their private conversation on the roof, he took his time deciding what might be the most effective route of communication. “When was the last time you danced in public with a woman, Sarge? Huh? How long it been?”

Sarge shrugged and took his time answering. “I don’t know exactly. Sometime in the spring. I met up with a group of people from Max’s store going out for a night together. I had a good time with a couple of the ladies who were willing to step out on the floor. It didn’t score me any action. But I wasn’t looking to score any action anyway, so it was all good. I certainly didn’t get any other women coming onto me afterwards.” He looked down the hall to where Lily and Esther remained talking close together. “Christ, I hope it doesn’t piss Lily off.”

“Fact you did not leave her hanging in the wind back there, Anton don’t think Lily get bent out of shape with you. After she get a full list of who and who from Esther, well, Anton not putting any money in the betting bank on who she do get bent with first.”

“Ahh I don’t want her getting into it with anybody on my account.” Sarge started moving towards Lily until Anton lightly put a hand on his shoulder.

“Lesson regarding Esther and Lily, let them talk it out. Otherwise you get them both coming at you at the same time. That a definite no win scenario, Sarge. Hang back. Don’t worry, Esther keep Lily from acting out if need be. How about we talk some more?”

Sarge hesitated, watched the two women for a few moments than stepped back to stand next to Anton. “I don’t want her thinking I was feeding her a line of bs last night when I came clean about all the women in that damn book.”

“How’d you pump up to do that?”

“I didn’t. It just seemed logical and right considering she decided to give me a chance. I didn’t want her getting blindsided at some point and giving me the boot for not being up front from the get go.”

“We working together all afternoon and evening and you neglected to mention that tiny piece of significant intel, Sarge. Is that any way to build up trust?”

“No offence intended, Anton. I’m still getting used to the whole idea myself. Besides, with Little George in the dark mood he was in the whole time, it didn’t quite feel right to bring it up. But I told you now. It’s barely been a full twenty-four hours since she decided.”

“Ah ha. No harm done. No foul.” Anton held his tongue regarding what Lily had told him about her giving Sarge a chance all along. He glanced at the other man alongside him in the dimly lit hallway. “How all that talk about those women go down with Lily?”

“Not quite like I expected. But that was okay. She asked a lot of questions. Most of which I could answer and a few I couldn’t. Even though I was worn out by the time we finished, I felt good about talking it out with her. She didn’t, or hasn’t changed her mind yet, since I laid it out for her, so all in all I’m still feeling good.” He grimaced. “Except for what happened a little while ago. I mean, hell, it wasn’t like we were getting it on out there. If we had, that would make some sense, but you know damn well we weren’t.”

“Ah huh, if you say so.”

“Your tone implies a certain element of disbelief, my friend. Why is that?”

“You ever get it on with woman on a dance floor like you say, Sarge?”

Sarge began pushing his hair away from his face with his left hand. “It’s been a long time since I did that, but, yeah. It was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Not by a long shot. But yes I have.”

“Did the audience express their appreciation accordingly?”

Sarge crossed his arms and shrugged. “Depends on what you mean by accordingly, Anton. If one hell of a wild brawl counts as the audience expressing their appreciation of that dance, then yes they certainly did.”

“A brawl? Where that dance be? In a bar? You get it on with some pole dancing queen?”

“No.” Sarge gave him an indignant look that said he couldn’t believe Anton would even suggest such him doing such a thing.

“No?” Anton waited for more information. When it was clear that it was not forthcoming, he said, “You gonna make me pull that tale out of you, Sarge?”

“No.” Sarge adjusted his stance and bent downwards. After some further hesitation and a long look at Lily and Esther, he spoke quietly so his words wouldn’t carry towards the kitchen. “You know Reginald’s in M-?”

“Hmm. Way too proud of itself without just cause high dollar dinner and dance joint uptown is where Anton thinking.”

“Sounds about right. My brother Francis set me up with this really smart, gorgeous woman for a night out to celebrate his first wedding anniversary at Reginald’s. Only problem was she wouldn’t dance with me. I couldn’t get her out on the floor no way. No one else would get out there with me either. Not even Francis’ wife, Irene, who at that time was usually good for at least two dances, sometimes three depending on the music. That night the live band was hot and tight so I was going crazy with no dance partner. I said to hell with their drinking party and I grabbed a seat at the bar to scope out the place for a likely candidate. In almost no time I get a fix on a woman wearing down the guy she’s with on the floor. When he’s had enough, he leaves her stranded out there. I did not waste any time with formal introductions. I went out there and we faced off and went to town for about five numbers in a row. It was all good until tune number six when we both decide we like each other’s moves enough to turn up the heat for fun. It got hot and real fast. Her guy and his friends didn’t appreciate the show. Francis and Irene did not appreciate our behavior anymore than my dance partner’s guy. They all decided about the same time that they didn’t like me very much. Things got very out of hand. The damage tab was quite impressive. I couldn’t get back inside the place for six months. That really pissed me off because she, the woman I’d picked up for dancing, and her guy could. Considering it was him who blew his cork first and came at me, I didn’t think that was fair play at the time. It didn’t help my attitude that I really wanted to dance with her again and couldn’t.”

Anton considered this intel, glanced at Lily and Esther then shot a wary look at the kitchen entrance. “Ah ha. What about your date for the party? She shut you out too?”

Sarge shook his head. “Strange as it sounds, she did not. Right about the time things started winding down fight-wise, she makes a run right into the middle of the action and surprises the hell out of me by getting a grip on my belt. As I’ve had enough of the action at hand, I see no point in resisting, so I let her haul me out the back door and straight into a waiting cab.”

“No f’n way.”

“Yes way. Stranger yet, when we get to her place, she cranks the stereo and we dance until she decides it’s a good idea to alternate dancing with other things. She was a damn good dancer. I never understood why she wouldn’t dance with me in the first place at Reginald’s. We could have had a great time right from the start if she had.”

“Her name in that book?”

“Of course.”

“Maybe that had something to do with her not dancing with you in public.”

“Who knows.” They stood side by side. Sarge was appreciating the cold coming from the porch which Anton was simply ignoring. “Why would anyone, even a pimp, care about a woman dancing with me? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Who says pimps make sense? If that pimp be your father, then no point even looking for any sense nowhere, Sarge.” Anton rubbed his jaw. “You like dancing with Lily, don’t you?”

Sarge surprised Anton with a big bright grin. “Like? Are you kidding, Anton? I love dancing with Lily. She swing dances like none other. She’s got all the oldies down pat thanks to Priest. She has no hesitation for trying everything else too. We have a damn lot of fun with that old record player and the radio. Hell, I would not think twice about getting out on the floor with her for that swing dance fest contest at U of M- they have every fall. Damn, I wonder if she’d do it?”

Anton stared at Sarge and shook his head. “Ah ha, so much for dancing just being dancing with some people.”

Catching Anton’s serious tone, Sarge stopped thinking about how to broach the idea of the swing fest with Lily and punched Anton lightly in the shoulder. “Hey, I wanted a chance with Lily even before we ever started dancing. Even if she couldn’t dance like she does with me, I’d still want a chance with her. Fact that she does dance, is well, well it’s sort of like having the very best fresh homemade cherry pie for dessert after a great main entrée. Makes a great meal even better.”

“Hmm. Anton thinking Sarge got dancing as the wrong part of that meal, but no matter right now. Heads up, here they come.”

“I’m thinking we should call it a night, Anton. Early as it is, at least I should. I’m in no mood for a round two of any sort or I might do a little acting out of my own. I do not want to put you to the trouble of keeping me in line. I’ll keep myself in line by making tracks back to Lily’s place. If Lily wants to stay on her own, I’m okay with that as long as she doesn’t walk home by herself.”

“That is almost funny, Sarge. Almost. Like Lily going to let you wander off all by yourself to her pad after that dance and whiplash action? Anton don’t think so. Anton think it a damn good idea both you and Lily call it a night so those all those turned on light bulbs don’t blow the whole damn fuse-box. Anton think damn best you two go home together and dance up as much cherry pie as you please. Alone. As in: no one watching the dance show. You read that music?”

“You don’t really expect me to argue with that thinking, do you, Anton? Hmm?”

Anton’s eyes narrowed as he took note of Sarge’s grin. “Sarge using Anton to get right where he want to be with no debate from the women-folk.” Anton shook a finger at him. “Ah huh. You smarter than you look, Big Man. Anton on to you now.”

@eva2014

6 Comments

  1. Deborah said,

    May 4, 2014 at 12:53 am

    i’m quite content at the moment. At least the two of them are getting along, even if things are stirred up around them. :-)

  2. slpmartin said,

    May 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Oh this is my favorite series…as always…I wait tor read…when nothing else is pressing on me…and as always I loved the part of the story.


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