“Ma Bell Intel”
Esther propped her feet up on the little green pillow that served no other purpose than that of being the favorite cushion of her heels. Unlike Anton who stood out of sight as far as the phone cord allowed, when she wanted privacy on the kitchen phone, she seated herself within direct line of sight of the main hallway so that she could immediately see anyone coming in her direction from any of the first floor rooms and the front door. At this time of night about the only foreseeable source of interference with her phone conversation with Rosa would be some member of the Neighborhood Watch coming through the door to report an emergency beyond the night’s crew’s ability to address on their own. Considering the extreme unlikely hood of that happening since Anton was already out with the crew making the rounds, Esther was looking forward to an uninterrupted intel sharing chat with Rosa about the tall man who for all intents and purposes was currently living in their Lily’s home space—and about whom Lily wasn’t sharing much intel at the moment.
A quick glance to make sure their agreed upon time had arrived, Esther dialed the number listed in the white pages under Ricardo’s name, and patiently waited for Rosa’s soft, “Hello.”
“Hey there, Rosa. Oh yeah, nice and quiet here too. All your little house guests doing okay? Oh heck yes, Julianna and the other girls did a fine job sorting all those clothes. Tomorrow I’ll give them some needle and thread action on some jeans. Boys too, if any are so inclined. So how are things on the first floor? Hmm? That tall man still behavin’ like a gentleman? Ricardo share any intel? He what? The whole day? Maybe they both on the same wavelength. Hell yes, you make the most of that child care action. That girl got a whole litter of cat curiosity inside her just waiting to jump on the unsuspecting rest of us. Lily say anything about all that? Ahh ha. Oh yeah, dancin’ in the hallway again? Tonight? Well, that’s one form of sweet touch action, I guess. Nope. All intel Anton share be about that Zinn history book he and Sarge both read some time back and been having some serious hard talk about. Anton says it solid evidence Big Man got a mind can play on the same field with Lily. Her numbers action aside, of course. Yes, you’re right about that, Rosa. Esther hear you loud and clear. . . mmmmm.
When Esther and Rosa hung up their phones twenty minutes later, they each gave some serious thought to what they considered the most important things they’d learned via direct experiences about the males of the species over time. Rosa quietly wandered down to the second floor landing midway to the first floor and listened to the sound of music still coming from Lily’s home space. Sitting down on the step to the second floor landing, she lost track of the music while thinking about her little niece’s behavior with the tall gringo and wondering what to make of it. Ricardo wasn’t just unconcerned, he was downright thankful that there was now an extra mind and pair of hands to help deal with Marianna and her mischief, especially on days like today. Rosa couldn’t fault him on that point. It was clear Marianna needed more one to one attention than she or Ricardo had been able to spare under the current circumstances. Yet with all the people moving through her world every day, Marianna had zeroed in on the very newest and most unknown adult available. Lily had told her that aside from reading a book with her and making sure Marianna didn’t con Sarge into preparing more food than her little stomach could possibly hold, no matter what the six-year-old claimed, the girl had indeed spent the majority of the time downstairs constantly interacting with him even after she’d returned from helping Esther with “sun rise” projects. It wasn’t lost upon Rosa that this seemed to please Lily in some sense that she hadn’t divulged to Rosa.
Meanwhile, at exactly the same time, Esther made her way to the dark bay window seat that faced Rosa’s house across the snow buried street. Making herself comfortable, she contemplated the fact that her Anton was actually putting forth efforts to develop more than a causal passing acquaintance with a man from a side of the tracks he generally had no interest in visiting. She’d overheard enough of their conversations to realize they were both enjoying being able discuss ideas and books without having to worry about their manner of doing so in regards to proper language usage or any other intellectual formality. Sarge was not put off by Anton’s lapses into what he called his ‘street chimes’. She had even heard him occasionally use some of the lingo himself when in the company of certain groups of the neighborhood men. As for Anton, he’d told her outright that he honestly didn’t mind listening to what he called Sarge’s occasional monologues because it was clear the man wasn’trying to play ego games, but just really needed to get his thoughts out of his brain-space. Plus, he always welcomed Anton’s reactions and thoughts with an openness and lack of bias that was prompting Anton to share a great deal more of his own thinking than he generally did with anyone besides Esther and a few other people. Her husband felt like they’d created a certain sort of safe space for speaking their minds without any control or dominance issues—and that was feeling good to Anton especially under the circumstances created by the current weather lockdown.
At about the same moment in time, both women thought along the same lines of: forget whatever Karen’s cat might have dragged into Rosa’s house in the Flats, the important thing now was, what kind of man had their Lily hauled directly into her home and life with no apparent intention of sending him any further on his way.
Music Notes: Snoozer Quinn, Snoozer’s Telephone Blues
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The legendary guitarist Ed ‘Snoozer’ Quinn (1907-1949) performing ‘Snoozer’s Telephone Blues.’ Recorded by his friend, the cornetist Johnny Wiggs, at the Charity Hospital, New Orleans, in 1948.
Breakfast Special #1 https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/breakfast-special/