- In My Father's House part 16by Halfree
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A man returns home after a long abnsense
In My Father's House part 16 by Halfree

Part 16
Mom, Mr. Greenberg and Beau stood in silence. Mom took a deep breath, wagged her head, "Oh Beau, "she murmured softly and turned to him "Oh Beau this ... this is ... beautiful, all so beautiful."

The closet walls were lined with glass shelves, floor to ceiling; the shelves covered with jewelry: rings, necklaces, pendants, and loose stones sitting about in clear jars. Mr. Greenberg lifted a necklace, held it above his head, letting the light fall on it. As he moved the necklace about, light exploded from its surface.

Beau spoke softly, in a whisper, " My  dad ... all this, my dad he made all this, my dad. I knew he made stuff ... never knew, never."
Mr. Greenberg took Mom's clipboard, wrote something on a sheet of paper, glanced up at me asking, "That's your bike sitting on the porch?

I nodded, "Yes Sir."

He folded the paper and pressed it  into my hand instructing, "Take  this to Joe Brickle.  Make sure he reads it, do not leave 'till he does, I need him here pronto ... right away!"

I was a little ... well it all seemed so strange, the way he rattled off his instruction, the horde of jewelry lining the shelves.  Somewhat confused, I took the note started down the steps, stopped and asked, "Why not just call him, I think he has a phone in his shop,"

"The son of a bitch won't ever answer his phone.  Might be the phone company has cut him off again!" He paused.  "This is Saturday so  he's probably nursing a friday night hangover. Just, give him the note; do not leave until he reads it!

  I was at the front door when he  called down the stairs, "Hope you find ol' Brick somewhat sober, be a minor miracle if you do. If he's in his cups, let me know."

It was well known that Mr. Brickle had a problem with sobriety, he avoided it. Oh, he could go for a dry stretch every now and then but he would chuck it for some personal time with Jack Daniels. He owned a small, cramped, jewelry and watch repair shop squeezed between the movie theater and the Easy Pay Furniture store. He was very good at watch repairing, had a right fare business, that was before throw-away watches from Japan. He also was good at jewelry repairing, 'specially expensive things like Hortense Johnson's diamond and ruby brooch.

 Hortense was cutting the rug at the VFW Saturday night dance at the Armory when her brooch came loose, fell to the floor dislodging two rubies from the setting, so she claimed. She had everybody crawling about on the dance floor about looking for them, could not be found.

Couple of days after the dance, Doris Felton stopped Hortense as she came out of the A&P grocery store and asked if she wanted to buy some rubies. Hortense just looked at her like, "You gotta be out of your mind!"

Doris said she had heard about her loss and she just happen to have two rubies she would very much like to sell. She explained that she was a maid at the Carolina Inn and found them on the floor next to a chair in room 102

The Inn was across the street from the Armory where the VFW held their Saturday night dances.Hortense gave her husband the good news, told him that she went back to the Armory for one more look, just to be sure, and found her rubies in a crack in the floor under the band stand.
Mr. Brickle reset her brooch and declared it was as good as new. When Hortense came by to retrieve her brooch, he  introduced her to an old girl friend

Doris Felton; she just happen to stop by to chat a bit.

 Hortense was so pleased with the resetting that she insisted that he take a rather large tip.

As Hortense left, she paused at the door, didn't turn or look back just said, rather sweetly, "Don't push your luck honey, I do have friends."

I waited while Mr. Brickle  read Mr. Greenberg's note. He read it a couple of times, dropped his arms to his side and stood frozen to the spot, muttering, "I be a son-of-bitch, I be a son-of-a-bitch."

 I was standing out on the street in front of his shop when Mr. Brickle pulled the  front door closed, the lock clicked.  He looked, somewhat befuddled, hand searching his pockets and mumbling. He turned to me, as if I had a clue,  "You seen my car, I parked it right here in front, it's gone." He stepped off the curb, looked up and down the Avenue "Where the hell did I park it ... the hell...where are my keys?"

He  stood for several minutes in the middle of the Avenue talking to himself, "... had a few with Horace and Eddie and then we...shit I parked it right ... somewhere ... I slept ... in the back room? 

He kept mumbling and hand searching his pockets, asking  " where ...where

My bike was  leaning against the wall of his shop.  He took three strides, brushed past me, tossed a leather purse-like thing into the basket, grabbed my bike  and with a run, jumped on hollering, "I'm jest borrowing it, gotta get over there, real fast ... important!"

Before I could move  to stop him, he was gone, zigzagging down the Avenue on my bike.

I was not all that happy.

I walked around the building planning to cut through some back yards, short cuts on my way back to Beau's. I found his car parked in the alley two doors down from his shop. The back door to his shop half open, his keys dangling in the lock.

I enjoyed my drive back to Beau's house, felt ... well good. Burned some rubber as I pulled out of the alley.

Author Notes
Part 16


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