Fight at the K.O. Corral
At the edge of madness you howl diamonds and pearls.
He finally found it – happiness! Henry Peck walked on a cloud. Every day was sunny. Every problem was a challenge. Every dull obstacle was a bright diamond. Sheena balanced Henry’s paranoia with her present moment living. Henry countered Sheena’s reckless spontaneity with his past life regression. It was a match made in – another world. What could possibly come into question when you finally find the answer?
They were moving in together. Henry would sell his big suburban house, the one he raised his family in, and move to the little house on the left on Pete Street. The first order of business was to get rid of stuff. There was a lot of stuff, a lot of memories, not all bad. Actually, there were few memories that made him feel bad. There were mostly good memories that made him feel bad. He felt loss with latter.
The only thing to do was to get rid of everything. In Henry terms this meant putting everything from family albums to light bulbs in storage. He stopped for long periods in his packing and thought about the past as he came across mementos. These character came alive as the dusty objects touched reached up and touched him with memories…
Mama Mia’s Lousy Words
Henry picked up a shoe box. It was full of letters from his mother. He re-read these letters with amazement. Even though English was her second language, her written word were perfect and her gentle script communicated her genuine love. Her spoken English, however and for whatever reason, was memorable.
At Thanksgiving, she would call for a toast. She stood gave a similar speech every year. Her speech always ended with the same words. Mama said, “Me rather be with all of you than with the best people in the world”.
Mom’s language was her own sort of creole, made up of two languages mixed together and, when spoken, gave unpredictable results, using a word with the best guess but wrong meaning. Henry remembered one time she was consoling a young pregnant family member on the realities of natural child birth.
Mama said, “For each my children was born at home with no drugs because it happened so fast. I screamed and I screamed…the neighbors could hear. And that was only at the conception.”
Christmas was always another story or rather the same story at the Peck house. All the uncles and their families came to Henry’s parents house: Filet of Moose Face. Every one would eat their fill and the uncles would overfill their drinks. By the dessert time they were plowed. The dessert, jellied moose nose, was so prized the uncles pulled their guns to get a single munch of moose goo.
Gun fire erupted and the police showed up. All the neighbors stood in their doorways observing in disbelief the annual Christmas spectacle (not to mention the occasions of child birth and Thanksgiving). Henry’s father and his uncles were paraded out each wearing a kind family man’s uniform: pleated and cuffed sharkskin slacks, suspenders, no shirt, and a hat, either pork-pie or fedora.
When the police asked Mama for a statement about the rumpus, through her tears she said, “Mi Familia become wise guys because a nostril.”
Big Al’s Blousy World
In another box, Henry found some accounting ledges, tax statements, and a business card: Fashion World Enterprises. Oh yeah, Henry’s first attempt to go out on his own. A partnership with the irrepressible Big Al.
Big Al always answered the query, “How are you?”, with Perfect! Whenever he was going out catting around, he would first tell his wife he was with Henry. The next day he would contact Henry and let him know that he was with Henry that late night. Henry was always his cover.
Big Al did as he pleased. When Henry met with him on matters of their partnership, Fashion World Enterprise, Big Al usually dictated their agreement. When discussing the business card, Big Al suggested adding the slogan “We’re into women’s blouses”. This is one time Henry prevailed. The company slogan became, “We’re Tops – And More!”. But as a general rule, Big Al said “Agreement is just for show”.
Little Nick’s Mouse that Whirled
Nixon is listening…what channel?
You’re not paranoid if people are really out to get you.
Let’s rob a bank.
Diamond’s aren’t forever.
Is that her whore name.
Henry and his buddy, Big Al, would sell women’s apparel in beauty shops. Why not? Women with money go to the hair dresser every week. Women cannot resist new clothes. Women won’t pass up a bargain. Research, done! What should we call this enterprise? Fashion World, done! What would be our slogan? We’re Into Women’s Blouses! No. We’re Tops & More! That’s the ticket even though we were only into women’s tops.
Fashion World was great idea. The guys bought seconds from shady dealer, after paying a franchise fee, and sold them on a consignment basis. The two erstwhile entrepreneurs had a piece of paper that sealed the deal with the supplier and a handshake agreement with the beauty shops to secure there inestimable future income. Things were looking up until…
Sometimes start-ups are slow to show profit before they stop altogether. In some stores, there were marginal sales and shop owners paid agreed remuneration. In other stores, there were significant thefts and the shop owners wouldn’t pay for the loss. It was what happened with the supplier’s store that cost Fashion World the most. The franchiser started to send too many of the worst sellers too often, and none of the best sellers at all. Finally, all contact was lost. Henry and Big Al’s business was hung out to dry, their blouses twisting in the wind.
Always learning the hard way, if they learned anything at all, the dynamic duffuses sought to sink more money into this ship by borrowing and finding a new supplier. The kind of money they needed to finance the risk they propositioned wouldn’t come from a bank. It could only come from one other place.
They started seriously talking with small loans outfits. They began jokingly discussing with each other robbing a bank. There talks sounded like they had merit – on a wiretap. One of their prospective financiers was mobbed up and Fashion World had stuck its big toe into a whole new world.