Folger raised his fist. Then he drew in a few breaths. A few blinks later, he tapped on the black door.
The door creaked open just from a few taps.
The man greeted him and removed his glasses.
Folger said, “Stewart?”
“Stew,” the man said, putting on a warm smile.
“I’d like to…I mean…what I…it is your coffee maker.”
Stewart pointed to another part of the house which lay hidden behind the door. “The special coffee maker?”
“And,” Stewart said. “How would you know about my special coffee maker?”
“Oh darn. Yes. I haven’t told you. I believe you know my father, Tupper. You’re friends with him?”
“Yeah…yeah, I know Tupper. Heck, I didn’t even know you were grown now. Come on inside. How’s he been doing?”
Folger followed Stewart inside and sniffed the air. “Dad’s great.”
“Good, I’m glad to-
“Oh my God,” Folger said. “Is this the masterpiece?”
Folger descended on the coffee maker which sat on the kitchen island.
Heavens, what a thing of beauty.
Glass siphons comprised the top of the coffee maker. They held a green tint to them, giving the appearance that the coffee glowed green. The glass pipes leading down to the cup formed a credit card-sized dollar sign. A hot green river of deliciousness.
Stewart chuckled and poured a cup full and handed it over to Folger and then he filled one for himself and took in the aroma and enjoyed a long sip and said, “Ah. Now that is coffee.”
Folger smelled the coffee and then closed his eyes and drank. He grimaced and spat the coffee back into the cup. “What is this?”
Stewart frowned. “It’s a Robusta and Arabica blend. Quite delicious.”
Folger wiped his lips and shook his head. “No. You must go with pure Viatnamese Excelsa. This fine machine shouldn’t be filled with that crap.”
Folger said, “I’ll buy it and give it a proper home.”
Folger held up his hand. “No. No. Despite your mistreatment, I’ll give you a fine price. You deserve it…for the machine at least.”
Stewart said, “It’s not for sale.”
“I will offer you double the price. Come, now. You are an engineer. You can produce another one.”
Stewart patted the fine machine. “I put a lot of work into this one, young man. I don’t want to make another one. This one is perfect for me.”
“We have connections, Dad and I. We can organize you a team to do the work. It will be great. I can’t wait to share a cup of this fine brew with him. He’s going to love it.”
“No,” Stewart said. “I won’t sell it.”
“Everything is negotiable.”
“Some things aren’t.”
Folger stroked the fine machine. Drool fell from his bottom lip onto his shirt but he didn’t touch it. The drool held a magical quality-the kind of drool that must have cascaded down Edison’s lips when he finally got the light bulb just right.
Stewart stepped between Folger and the machine.
Folger said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m keeping you from humping my machine.”
“Humping? Come, now. There’s no reason to use such a foul word for this occasion.”
“There is no occasion. You’re not buying my machine.”
“But I must! I love coffee. My price is more than fair. Dad will pay it. In cash even! Now, I’ll just take it back and show him.”
Stewart blocked the machine.
Folger reached around him.
Stewart pushed him.
Folger said, “What are you doing? If Dad saw this-
“I’ll be happy to talk to Tupper about it. Have him call me. Now you need to leave my house.”
“But why won’t you sell?”
“I already told you why. Now go.”
Folger swallowed. “Listen, civilization only exists because men can make deals with one another. Otherwise we become savages. We should be civilized about this for your…our, safety. Correct?”
Stewart started dialing on his phone. “You can’t have civilization without the police.”
When he talked to Dad, he almost told him about Stewart’s ridiculous actions but he decided against it. Dad often took Stewart’s side or anybody’s side over his. The old man made sense on a lot of things but he still looked at Folger as if he were a child. Folger would be twenty-three in ten and a half months. How can he be a twenty-three-year-old child? Dad didn’t know everything.
This required further negotiations or else civilization just might have to break down for a minute.
Fairfax parked his truck a few houses down the street from Stew’s home. Glew got out of his silver Taurus and walked over to him. He carried a small case. Fairfax pointed to it and said, “What’s that all about?”
Glew held up the case. “It’s my pool stick. Glew’s cue, my man. This stick has won many a billiard game. And more than a few dates.”
Fairfax shut his truck door. “We’re here to work.”
“Yeah, yeah. But Stew’s got a pool table. It’s in the center of the house and it’s not even visible from the street.”
“You start clacking them balls into each other…an intruder might sneak up on us.”
“I’ll take my time between shots. I need to work on my game. It’s been a while. You can play, too.”
“I ain’t ever been any good at it.”
“There’s only one way to get better.”
They walked to Stew’s house. It sat in the middle of a street in a decent part of town. Most of these folks made upper-middle-class money. Many of the houses stood two stories tall but they wouldn’t catch your eye. Stew’s mechanical engineer salary he earned at Rubber-Dub-Dub Specialty Wheels and Tires Company made him comfortable or as comfortable as a divorced guy can be. He’d asked Fairfax to watch over his place for the weekend. When you start house sitting and protecting folks’ homes from thieves, word gets around quickly. Fairfax preferred to sit in the dark of the home and just listen. When nothing happened, you got a lot of time to think and relax. When someone did break in, you got to bust him up and run him off. What’s not to like?
Glew did not possess Fairfax’s focus. His attention would collapse into news feeds or games on his phone or he would have to snack on some Goobers or fidget around which usually led to noise- not ideal for the official private detective of the duo.
After Fairfax picked the lock on the back door and got them inside, Glew walked in behind him and pointed to the security system. “Did he give you the code?”
“Stew disarmed it before he left which was about twenty minutes ago.”
“Thirty,” Glew said. “He pulled out when I parked.”
“I love an open house.”
“You think he’ll get hit? I mean the last two house jobs haven’t turned up anything. Maybe the thieves are figuring us out.”
“Stew grinned at me when he asked me to do the job. I think he knows something we don’t.”
“You don’t think he’s setting us up?”
“No, he’s always been a good fellow. His drinking got a little out of hand over the divorce but it’s been a couple of years now. I think he just has an enemy out there.”
“Don’t we all?”
“You and I have plenty at this point. I just hope they’re too stupid to figure us out.”
They climbed the carpeted stairs while shadows covered the coffee bean twist color. Glew turned on the billiard room light. Fairfax flipped it back off.
Glew said, “Come on, stud. What are you doing?”
Fairfax flipped on the pool table light above. “Only the necessary light.”
“I have a stick,” Glew said. “You? You are a stick. And you stand in mud a lot.”
“Shut up and shoot.”
Glew removed his cue from the case and screwed the two ends together, forming “Glew’s cue”. “You sure you don’t want to play?”
Fairfax sat on the floor with his back to the wall. “Maybe later.”
“Watch and learn then.”
Glew racked the balls for an eight-ball game. He shot and clinked off the cue ball which moved three inches to the right and rolled to a sad stop.
Fairfax said, “I’m no expert but I’ve heard you’re supposed to chalk the cue’s tip.”
Glew twisted the cue’s tip into a blue chalk square and said, “Your no-talking rule sounds good right now.”
Cathy shut her front door and she didn’t ease it shut either. Ham always wants her to stay close by him but half the time the big lug sleeps in his recliner with his keg belly hung out, looking like a freshly-glazed piece of hog in the oven on Christmas day. She wanted to stretch her legs and if he woke up and found her gone, then he could just deal with it. A good boyfriend wants to do things with his woman.
She walked up the street, dressed in overalls and cowgirl boots. The weather called for a light jacket but heck. Sitting around wrapped up in a throw like so many gals do never appealed to her. How could you have any fun wrapped up in a permanent straight jacket?
A car slowed down close to her. The driver leaned his head out of his window, gawking at her. That slug kept time with the easy chick who lived down on the corner. Did he know that five other dudes visited her on the regular? At this moment, he only thought of Cathy or so his eyes indicated. As low-down as that chick could be, she deserved something better than that ugly mug. Cathy stopped and stared at him. His little hint of a smile remained. She threw her hands up at him, wearing a stern expression. The driver dropped the smile and puttered away.
He got the message, the old buzzard.
She walked on ahead.
Well, hold on, now.
That truck- a bicentennial Chevy Bonanza- powder blue with some red and white and blue design on the doors, in celebration of the USA’s birthday.
That truck could only belong to one man in this town.
He wouldn’t be at the house right there. He didn’t tolerate such snooty folks’ company long. He wouldn’t even be at the next house up either. The man who lived there didn’t allow any visitors ever. He probably hid something but he kept his secret so hidden that any chance of figuring it out remained hidden.
That next house up there, though.
Stew would be his kind of speed.
She stuffed her hands in her pockets and walked in a bee-line to Stew’s house. She peeked through the windows. It looked vacant. She tried the front door. It opened. She stepped back. Why would she just try the door without knocking? Was she losing it?
Well, she had walked in here a few times when visiting Stew.
Still, this house held that vacant creepy vibe and here the door just opens right up?
She pulled the pepper spray from her pocket and stepped inside and said, “Stew?”
Glew dropped the nine-ball in the side pocket. Fairfax whistled. “Man, at that angle, I didn’t think you could do it.”
Glew chalked his cue. “When are you ever gonna realize that doubting me is pointless?”
Someone opened the front door and called out Stew’s name.
Fairfax killed the light and hunkered down.
Glew got down as well, holding his cue by the top end so he could swing the broad side at somebody’s head…or shoulder…or well any body part really.
Fairfax peered into the hallway. Glew duck-walked to the other side of the doorway. Each man watched for movement. They gave each other nods. Then Fairfax slipped into the hallway, keeping low. Glew followed six feet behind him, holding his cue with both hands. Fairfax peeped around the corner.
The front door stood open. The intruder stood with his knees bent and his hands out. He held something in his left hand.
What was that smell?
A very alluring Pantene shampoo?
Was that a woman?
He looked back at Glew who raised his eyebrows at him.
Fairfax shook his head.
He called out, “Cathy?”
Then he stood up.
Glew’s mouth hung open. Fairfax motioned him toward the billiard room but Glew didn’t move. Fairfax leaned toward him and whispered, “Get back in there.”
However, Cathy drowned him out when she said, “George! Where are you at? Where’s Stew?”
Glew said, “Huh?”
Fairfax smirked and flipped on the light in the billiard room.
“I thought that was too much light,” Glew said.
Fairfax sloomped down the stairs until he met Cathy halfway.
She said, “Big bro” in a deep voice. “How are you?”
She stirred a heap of southern sweetness into those last three words. Fairfax embraced her. She kissed him on the jaw and then gave him a little shove. “Where have you been keeping yourself?”
“I don’t keep. I move around so I won’t spoil.”
She cackled. “You nut.”
He swallowed and glanced at the front door and then back at her. “How did you know I was here?”
“Please,” she said. “You’re the only one on Earth that owns that truck.”
“Oh. Right.” He shut the front door. “You live kind of close to here?”
She rolled her eyes. “You might know if you paid me a visit sometime.”
“I…have been…busy and um…”
“Save it for your wife, if you ever get one. Anyway, Ham’s laid up on his worthless butt. So I went out for a walk. Where’s Stew?”
“Um, he’s out of town.”
She shrugged. “You’re just house sitting for him?”
“Yeah. Pretty much.”
She scanned the room. “Are you allowed to have light?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, but I’ve just been hanging out in the pool room upstairs.”
“I got time for a game. I always could whoop your butt.”
Fairfax returned to the billiard room with Cathy trailing behind. “That sounds good,” he said. He pointed toward Glew and said, “But you’ll have to beat him first.”
She stepped in just as Glew pulled the rack off the balls. Fairfax picked out a cue from the rack on the wall and offered it to Cathy but she slapped it away and picked out her own. Then she stared at Glew. “So big boy, you like a challenge?”
Glew smiled at her. “I sure do.”
He proffered his hand toward her.
She slapped it away.
“We’ll shake when it’s over. How does that sound?”
“I like it.”
Fairfax said, “Cathy, Glew. Glew, Cathy, my sister.”
Glew kept his eyes locked on her. “You’re related to Fairfax? I’m sorry. That must be painful.”
She sunk the five ball and smirked at Fairfax but spoke to Glew when she said, “You have to just make do with what you’ve got.”
She dropped the three and then the four and then the six. She chalked her cue and said, “I guess you should sit down. You won’t be getting a shot.”
Glew kept standing and said, “You’re about to miss.”
“Is that so?”
“You said you ‘guess’ I should sit down. You’ve got doubt, little lady.”
She got into position for a shot on the one-ball. She drew the cue back.
“Go ahead,” Glew said.
She shifted her gaze from the ball over to Glew.
The front door opened again.
Fairfax killed the light.
Glew got down with his cue in position.
Cathy opened her mouth but Fairfax covered it and whispered, “Take it easy. We’re protecting Stew’s house from intruders. Be quiet. Okay?”
She spoke behind his hand.
Fairfax shook her. “Quiet. Okay?”
Someone stirred downstairs.
She patted his hand. When he let her go, she got her own cue into fighting position.
Thank you for reading! For the rest of this story and four more Fairfax and Glew tales, follow the link below and check out Fairfax & Glew Volume Tew! Thank you again and happy reading!!!