Tuesday, December 4, 2012

36TH BINGO BOY episode 12/5/12

Bingo Boy - post 35

Before We can check in with the skinny school teacher, I have to tell you what happened to Ricky. Yes, I am one of the ghostly narrators. But you shall not see me again, for I am only the spirit of a quiet farmer slain by a highway man in his bed at night. They built Ricky's property over the spot one hundred and eighty years later. If you dig down under the foundation of his red brick row house, you'll see me, or rather the bones I left behind. My box is gone. The highwayman and his apprentice harried my corpse into a small  tight crate. I believe it once held delft ware from Holland. And buried me under the ashes of my home after burning it to the ground. This happened in seventeen seventy. The district later known as Lawndale was farmland then. My holdings were rather isolated. Great, tawny panthers roamed through the woods. I believe you call them 'mountain lions'? But let me serve my purpose and tell you about Ricky.

He returned to the street by day, for the nights were getting treacherous. Break-ins were routine, even more so than in the rough environs of Little Chrissie's quarter. For this ward still bore the stamp of better days. Lawns were neat. The streets were leafy. They looked like home.  But some modern form of laudanum flowed from a cellar one square hence. And a clan of Tinkers 'found' many stolen things. While a woman over there sold her body.

Yet Ricky thought he was safe. No riches hid behind his walls, though thieves smelled other things. At first he saw nothing. He parked the car, went up the walk and put in his key. That's when it hit him. Mail thrown about. Photographs in disarray. His mother's things, her what-nots and knick-knacks watched from strange, new places. They pulled out all the drawers in the dining room and all the drawers in the bedrooms too. Who knows what they found? Who knows what they stole? He never looked through his parent's things. There was no gold. There were no jewels. There was no family treasure. But all was in chaos. The television was gone. He didn't notice that til later. And a gold-filled pocket watch with sentimental value was lost. Some tools in the basement disappeared. A few family photographs were gone, while some lost ones now were found. And an old broach, belonging to his great grandmother sat among the mess like a guardian. 

They came in through the basement window and left by the back door. The police couldn't do much. Every third house on the street had been robbed. Violent crimes took pride of place. Thank God there were few (relatively speaking) of those. So they wrote a report, said it was 'kids' and left. He cleaned up a bit, called a handyman and waited, all alone in a quiet, violated room. The small window was bricked in and sealed. No light came in now. The space was a sad, dark dungeon. Then he picked up some of the books strewn on the floor, along with the mail and left. 

A few of the neighbors were returning from work. He told them what happened. They went - tsk, tsk, tsk. But this was an old tale. The neighborhood was changing, though the bricks and the trees and the gray, slate roof trim still looked just the same.

Then he drove off. He wanted to cry... but he just didn't. He had to get away. 'They' had to get away. The baby was his family now, and the baby's mother and grandmother too. Oddly enough, so was Jimmy. 

A little later, he stopped at a place  to pick up crab-cakes and then he went 'home.'

Perhaps in a week or two he'd call one of those guys who bought old, distressed houses? At least he'd be rid of it.

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Next time we'll speak of the school teacher.....
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