Breakfast Special, #28, “Fair Trade Creed Reads,” pt. 3 ~ Just Two Guys On A Roof

Sarge shook his head. “Anton, I honestly do not know. This is not the sort of thing any man lays out for a woman he cares about. It’s not a question of forgive and forget. It’s more like: how can you be so damned stupid for so damn long that you may as well be deaf, dumb and blind and then some.”

“My bones are hummin’ that you owe me fair intel trade. Now pay up or you eat a lot of snow when you hit bottom after flyin’ off this here roof.”

“Anton, slim jim that you are, I do believe you would find a way to do what no other man has done yet and throw my shit kicking ass off this roof. Give me a minute to think how to start.” Sarge watched the clouds while quietly inhaling and exhaling until he was fairly certain he had the nerve to say what he needed to say. “What I mailed to my mother were photocopies of a book I found. This f’n little book belongs to my dad. I found it when I was taking care of some electrical problem that my mother asked me to fix at my parents’ home.  I was not looking for the damned thing. Hell, I didn’t even know it existed. But I know it’s his alright because everything in it is in his handwriting. You know how some guys brag about their little black books?

“I read.”

“Well, my dad has a little grey book. That it’s grey is not the only difference between it and a little black book.”

“So he got some side action going. Lots of men do.  Don’t mean they don’t love their main women.”

“Anton, if only, if only that were the long and short of it. You ever see a black book with so many names and contact intel in it that extra pages have been added for the overflow? What kind of man has a black book like that? I can think of only one kind. It hurts so bad just thinking it that I can’t even say the word. I know you read me here.”

“I get that. But what this book got to do with you? That’s his dark shit.”

“Yeah, well, I have slept with a lot of women in that book.”

“What you mean by a lot?”

“Nowhere near even a quarter of the names in it. But that’s still a lot. Honestly, I don’t know, Anton.  I can’t make an accurate count because for a few years farther back, up until about five years ago, I was so out of my head swimming blind in booze, fighting like a lunatic and screwing constantly twenty-four seven that there may as well be a black hole in my mind when it comes to any clear memory of just about anything or anyone from that time in my life. What I know is that there is not a single woman whose name and face I do remember, who is not in that book. Bottom line, every woman I’ve ever had any sort of relationship with, her name is written in that little grey book. What further f’s up my head is that I liked a lot of them enough to try to get some traction with them for something more than fun between the sheets. Now I think I know why I couldn’t get anything real going with any of them. I wasn’t supposed to.  He, my dad, set it up so that I couldn’t. Here I’ve been thinking for years that I’m a complete ass when it comes to women, when all along I had no chance in hell with any of them from the get go.”

“Except for sex?”

“Yeah, except for sex big time. What really makes my skin crawl is that I never picked up any of these women on any street corners, dives or even high-toned red spots. Every single one of them I met at my parents’ home or at one of my brothers’ homes or their friends’. Now my brothers are all married, as are most of their friends. Keep that in mind. Personally, I wouldn’t have anything to do with any of their wives, even if I was paid to play with them. All along they’re telling me they’re bringing home potential baby breeders so I’ll straighten up and fly right like the rest of them. This is some deep serious irony, Anton. Because if the little grey book is what I truly think it is, then nothing is further from the truth. I cannot wrap my head entirely around this game play. There is just no end-zone in sight from my perspective. I mean, what is the point of all this shit? Is it all just to fuck with my mind?”

Anton slightly turned to look at Sarge in the moonlight. “You really don’t know, do you, Big Man?” Catching the distraught expression on Sarge’s face, an expression that Anton would not have seen if he hadn’t been quick to look, Anton decided to not fill in the blank with the most obvious answer just yet.

“Shit no. Not for certain. None of it makes sense to me. But the main thing eating me at this point is: what does my mother know about it all? Has she been in on it from the start? Has she just turned a blind eye to everything because she enjoys a decent lifestyle she never had while growing up? Could she possibly be as clueless as I was for a long time? I don’t know. My folks don’t flash any cash around in any way. House has some serious room space, but it’s no showcase. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about it.”

“I read that if she be in on the game, that do some serious bad action on your head. That so?”

”Definitely, Anton, most definitely. I figure the ball is in Nora’s court when she gets those photocopies of the grey book in the mail. I went that route because she handles everything that comes through the slot. Mail hits the floor right next to his shoes and my dad does not pick it up. That’s Nora’s turf and he has never once messed with it. At least not that I’ve ever seen. So it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. Postal service delivers my book payload. What’s going to blow after that is beyond me. What I do know is that my dad will soon be very well aware that I’m onto his let’s- fuck-with-Sarge’s-mind-game. The only reason the shit has not hit the fan yet is down to Mother Nature’s deluxe snow delivery package deal.  This may sound weird to you, but I am damn grateful for every f’n inch that has fallen and basically nailed my ass to being here in the Flats with Lily and everyone else I’ve met. Otherwise, hell, I don’t know, but I have a feeling I might not be breathing right now if everything had been in the normal groove of things. That might sound paranoid, but I think I can make a claim for paranoia with a more solid foundation than most of these buildings in the Flats have.”

When Sarge fell silent, Anton considered, then reconsidered telling him what he thought the end zone of the mind fuck game entailed. He decided to refrain from speaking that creed for the time being after contemplating what effect that piece of enlightenment might have on Sarge’s state of mind. It would only be prudent to speak such truth with plenty of backup ready and waiting in case things got out of hand. While they continued sitting in companionable chilly silence on the rooftop, Anton focused on recalling everything Esther had told him about the little grey address book she’d discovered in the hidden inner pocket of Sarge’s coat during her fishing expedition for useful intel about the man when he’d first landed in Lily’s pad.  More solid intel was required before doing something as rash as telling the man sitting beside him what his bones were muttering about in regard to everything Sarge had told him so far. Deciding he needed a good look at the little grey book in order to confirm or deny if it was indeed what Sarge clearly hated it being what he thought it was, he nudged him with his elbow.  “Any chance you got some wrong ideas about your dad’s book?  Any luck Anton see this book stirring up all this turmoil? ”

“You of a mind to offer a second opinion, Anton? Is that it?”

“F’ yeah. Why not?  What, you never read a book or person wrong and not know it until you talk it out with someone else? Hmm?”

In reply Sarge dug around inside his coat then tossed a small book at the other man’s gloved hands. “Look all you want. If you can come up with another purpose for that damn thing, I would truly like to hear it, amigo. Oh yes, I would.” He turned on the flashlight they’d brought along to light the way up the stairs and focused it on the book as Anton took off his gloves to handle the thin pages easier.

For several minutes Anton worked his way through the grey book randomly selecting pages with entries written in black, blue and every so often red ink.  “What these numbers? Some kind of  code?”

Sarge looked at the numbers Anton pointed at for several names. “I have no clue. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to them as far as I can figure out. Maybe Lily could find some order in them, but I sure as hell don’t want to ask her to do that. Not when I have no good answers to any questions she might ask.”

Anton nodded as he turned to another page. “I read you on that Lily score, Sarge. Oh yeah. My bones getting a weird vibe off this here ink all by itself.  Damn, these addresses all over M.  Plus major representation in a lot of those little towns all outside M-  on those old business highways. What in hell is going on with that intel?” He continued thumbing through the pages checking just the city locations. “Lot of places here. Wonder what we see if we put them on a map.”

“I did that using enough of them to notice that they’re all over the place in all directions. One other thing I noticed is that the addresses and phone numbers for the women I’ve met do not match the contact information I have for any of them. A lot of them have addresses in that book outside of M-. I know damn well I never visited anyone anywhere else except at houses and apartments in M-.”

“You sure about that? Some of these right on the edge of M-.”

“Damn right I’m sure.  The only buses I ever caught to make my way anywhere and back home were  M- ones. Then, after I started living in the freight district about five years back, the other line to make the connection with Falls. I never made any bus trips out to any of those other cities or little towns.  I definitely didn’t rent any cars to drive out either. So that’s another thing getting under my skin. Nothing matches up. I figure that means a lot of lies all around from the women and my family regarding them.”

“You ever get a feeling something was out of joint after you seeing these women for a time?”

“Ah hell, Anton, most I ever saw of any of them was three, four different times max. That’s  counting the first time I met them.”

Keeping his hand on a page to save his place, Anton partly closed the book as he looked at Sarge.  “What you sayin’, these a bunch of one nighters with some encores? That what you sayin’, Sarge?”

“More like mostly two timers when it comes down to it. Don’t look so surprised, Anton.  It’s like I told you before, I have no traction when it comes to getting serious with women. Certainly not any of those ladies. Every now and then I’d think I’d gotten lucky when I managed three hookups with the same woman.  But soon after that third go round, it was like I’d run into a brick wall and there was no fourth round on any docket. Not even once.”

“You play the game with different women at the same time?”

Sarge shook his head. “No, just one woman at a time. I’d meet someone new, things would dead-end and after a while I’d meet another woman at a family dinner or some other get together. I never had more than one in play at any time. If you can even call that being ‘in play’ at all.” He turned the flashlight off since Anton wasn’t reading the book. “Anton, I never spent so much time one on one with a woman in my whole life as I have with Lily and goddamnit, I like it.”

“What you like, Sarge? Spending a heap of time with a woman or spending a heap of time with Lily?”

“I’m damn sure it’s Lily. That may sound strange because I don’t have others to compare with. But I’ve been feeling damn good around Lily ever since I sat down next to her for breakfast in that f’n tavern.  It wasn’t like we hit it off and got all cozy right then and there.  It’s not that kind of ‘good’. It’s the kind of ‘so damn good’ that got me following her out of there to try talking to her again out on the street that morning.”

Hearing the rising stress in the other man’s voice, Anton took care with his own tone and words when he spoke next. “Easy there, Big Man. Anton didn’t mean to rile you with the question. Just trying to get what’s clear in your own head, that’s all.  No secret to anyone how you feel about Lily. Everyone can see that on your face any time she around. Heck, she don’t even have to be around. Somebody just got to say, ‘Lily’ and it like flipping a light switch on the way you glow.”

“Is it really that obvious, Anton?”

“Hell yeah, you crazy mo fo’, it is that damn obvious. There ain’t a damn thing wrong with it either. Hell no. It’s a little different cuz must guys hide all that heartbeat stuff best they can. Got to protect themselves. Come right down to it, maybe they’d all be better off if they weren’t working so hard hiding how they feeling. But you, you like some big happy puppy all full of happy heartbeat shit like none other. ”

“Christ, sounds like I’ve been entertaining the hell out of people.”

Anton laughed a little and shoved his shoulder against  Sarge’s. “Oh yeah, but in a good way, Sarge. In a damn good way.  Nobody holding it against you.  Except, probably a few guys who been trying to get back into Lily’s good graces ain’t too happy about seeing you all happy. Cuz that mean Lily’s good graces all occupied, so to speak. But fuck them. They had their chances and blew ‘em.”

Sarge tugged on the string around his neck and yanked out the sachet attached to it. After taking a few strong whiffs of the scent he leaned back against the bricks. “I guess that means it’s obvious to her too.”

Catching the scent of pine on the light wind, Anton inhaled.  “She sure not blind, Big Man. Thing is, how she be seeing it. Be one thing if she looking at you like other women in the Flats be looking at you, and oh yeah, they be looking hard, Sarge. I got that on good authority.  You only see Lily, so you not seeing who else be keeping eyes on you and her and looking for a way between if there be one.  That another show all by itself.  But if she looking at you that way, then most like you can depend on a lot more one on one time with Lily.   Other thing though, when it comes to Lily, she could be looking at you a whole other way. If she be looking at you with her home people eyes, then hell, who knows for sure how she be seeing you except her and her bones.” Anton reached over and lightly tugged on the sachet string. He tapped on Sarge’s shoulder.  “Is this Lily’s home people smells I’m sniffing, Sarge?”

“Yeah, what of it?  Calms me down. I like it.” As if daring the other man to make any negative commentary regarding the fact that he was wearing a small bag of fragrant plant material on a string around his neck, Sarge lifted the sachet to his nose and inhaled its scents. “Smells like a forest to me.”

“I read that.” Anton leaned back against the brick wall and considered this information while realizing just how tense both of them had become during the course of their conversation. He worked on relaxing himself and for a time the sound of the wind swirling crisp snowflakes across the flat open roof took center stage. His voice was low and quiet but full of curiosity when he spoke again. “That little bag come from Lily direct, Big Man?”

“Of course. What, do you think I swiped it from her shower?”

Anton laughed. “Noooo. But it sure do smell like her bathroom.”

“It should because we put the same things in this bag. The others are all different. We made several blends from what she has stashed in her box.” He shifted his hips and dug into his pants pocket. “Here take a whiff of this one. This has more of a floral scent to it.” Sarge handed it to Anton who obliged him by sniffing the sachet. “These two are the ones I’ve been using today. I like them both, but the forest one seems to relax me quicker.

*

*

Might have something to do with the pine needles. I’m not sure. But it does take the edge off the tension pretty damn quick.”

“How many you got?”

“Seven. You ever try any aromatherapy?”

“Not like that. Esther got some candles I like better than others.  She lights that purple lavender one and I mellow out for the night in no time flat. So I got some idea of where you coming from.”

“Alright, you got Esther’s lavender scented candle and I’m working Lily’s home people scents. We’re square then.” Sarge inhaled and exhaled hard and long. “Yeah, just us two guys sitting on a rooftop at night talking about what chills us out. It’s all good. You read? ”

“I read. We be square for sure, Sarge.”  He tapped his fingers on the little book and caught another whiff on the cold air of the forest scent from the sachet Sarge was slowly swinging back and forth.  “As for Lily looking at you with her home people eyes, hell, maybe her nose got some say in the matter too. Cuz it sure smelling like home people land right here. Mmm..  Could be she working on getting you smelling right on that man woman pheromone level.” He made several loud sniffing noises. “Then again, could be this already a done deal. You two been rolling in the clover?”

“Very funny, Anton. Very funny.  This puppy has no problem with the pheromone gig whatsoever.  But the only deal she and I have going right now is a fair trade: my pancakes for her sachets. The rugs are all that’s getting rolled and that’s for dance time.”

Anton picked up the flashlight, turned it on and it shone skyward between them in order to get enough light to see Sarge’s face without blinding him. “Say what?”

“What?”

“Don’t start your literal word shit game, Sarge. Rewind.”

“Okay. What part do you want me to repeat, Anton?”

“Last part. Say again.”

“About rolling up the rugs for dancing?”

“Hmm. That the part. What that about?”

“About?”

“Sarge! Yeah, I know you can’t resist that word action, but keep with the main program here.”

“Easy, Anton.  That was a real question I was asking as in, what about the rugs or the dancing you want to know? Which is it?”

“Fuck the rugs! The foot action, Big Man. What’s with the foot action, the dancing?”

“Fun, that’s what’s with the foot action, Anton.  We’re just dancing for some fun.  You know, we clear the rugs out of the way, put some records on and get our swing on. That’s all that’s about. It’s no big thing.”  He looked at Anton staring at him hard.  “Hey, I’ve danced with enough women to know better than to ever think they want anything more than some fun on the floor and that’s all. Anybody who enjoys some dance action learns that fast or you mess up chances with good dance partners.  Having a good time on the dance floor doesn’t mean you’re getting any other traction off it.  Enough with the sky-beam already.” Sarge pushed the flashlight switch to off.  “Messes up the night light out here.” He gestured up at the moon and stars.

Anton looked up at the night sky and nodded. “I read that.”

*

*

Two nights later, Anton understood what Sarge had said about his dark shit not being the sort of thing a man wants to share with his woman. Anton did not want to discuss any of his own thoughts concerning the book with his dearly beloved Esther. He did meet her eyes directly when she questioned him, but steadfastly refused to utter a single word in response. Eventually, after consulting with his muttering bones, he asked her to very discreetly tell Lily that the grey book definitely did not belong to Sarge. And that was all he was going to say about it, even if she kicked him out of bed to the carpet for a month.

~~~

Breakfast Special #29  https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/breakfast-special-29-treats-and-tricks/

~~

Breakfast Special, #28, Fair Trade Creed Reads, part 1, Les Mis:

https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-1-les-mis/

~~

Breakfast Special, #28, Fair Trade Creed Reads, part 2, Stealth:

https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-2-stealth/

 

~~

Forest Elves  ~  Cry of the Forest

Published on Jan  7, 2013

https://soundcloud.com/forest-elves/f… —————————————-­——————————– ☾Find us on Facebook and Soundcloud!☽ —————————————-­——————————– http://www.facebook.com/ForestElvesMusic http://soundcloud.com/Forest-Elves —————————————-­——————————–

☾LYRICS☽
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Roots and leaves, soulless thieves
Calm and still, an earthly chill
As stars look down, they hear the sound
Of silent screams, from fallen dreams

Buried deep, lay secrets of forgotten places
The forest sleeps, never forgetting the faces of past
Trails of stories untold, tales of glory unfold
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☾Credits/Extra Info☽
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Please note, this song is free to use, but please credit us and contact us so that we know where it is being used!

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15 Comments

  1. slpmartin said,

    September 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I always save these installments of the story for when I’m alert and focused…just love them too much to not really read them. 🙂

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Charles, are you saying you’re Unfocused the rest of the time? Hmm? Just kidding. Much appreciate your attention always. 🙂

  2. lesliepaints said,

    September 30, 2013 at 3:25 am

    OK, now I am really getting the creepsover this grey book thing and his parents and his brothers. creepy, creepy, creepy…… and I still know nothing of Lily’s home people!!!!!! Great on keeping my attention, Eva. 🙂

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Leslie!
      Oh those home people!
      Oh that LIly!
      Oh those creepy creepy guys!
      Yeah, there’s got to be a dark side to every day, right? Contrast, you know ALL about contrast as an artist, Leslie.

  3. October 5, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Hmmm…what’s going on with Sarge’s dad and family and what other secrets do they hide? Longing forward to finding this out and more!

    • November 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Al, you river ‘digger’—I hope you’re still looking forward when you find out. LOL.

  4. October 5, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Well, let’s make that “looking” forward! Sometimes one can get in too big a hurry to push the post button!! Thanks for the story Eva.

    • October 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      LOL–hey, Al, I ‘do’ that all the time.
      Oooo what secrets indeed! Just keep in mind the ‘black holes’ in from Sarge’s ‘crazy’ time. Hmm….zip locking the fingertips now!. IF WP plays nice there will be some more BS ‘fun’ soon. Thanks so much for reading.

  5. Jenell said,

    November 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    hmm , the plot thickens Sarge doesn’t know as much about the family business as the parents think

    • November 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      (((Jenell))) welcome! I’ve not been much on the book of faces of late. Wonderful to see you. Oh there’s a lot Sarge doesn’t know–yet. 😉

  6. penpusherpen said,

    January 27, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Yeah, just two guys on a roof, int’dark and chilled, talking aromatherapy, laughing my socks off here Eva, (not wearing any) but what the heck eh? The plots thickens, alarmingly. but oh so compellingly Eva… You are a splendid story teller. xx

    • January 27, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      LOL, Pen, I bet you’ve got a pair of purple woolies nearby just waiting for some footie action. With big grin 🙂 thanks for expressing your enjoyment of all things sniffed.

    • January 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Pen, as I’ve been catching up with people I’ve noticed an issue that I thought I’d previously addressed regarding this section, which is in three parts,

      In case you never found it– here is the link to the first part of the this section:

      https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/breakfast-special-28-fair-trade-creed-reads-pt-1-les-mis/

      Les Mis is part one.
      Stealth is part two.
      Two Guys is part three.

      Scowling at the missing links and wondering what mystery box they’ve fallen into. Hmm……


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