The Blake Chronicles

Party for the Century: Part 3

Dressed in Red

I dropped Krzysztof and Henry at the Christian Reform Church on the East side of Garfield Park to meet up with Benny. I helped unload the wine barrels with “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” labels. Well, actually I just stood there with open hands while Henry somehow managed to balance all five in his arms. I tried to help; but he brushed me aside with his shoulder and yelled back:

“Lad, let boys handle the mornin’ papers; the men will handled the spirits!”

To think, a mere hour ago the guy was half asleep in the back seat. Yet, once there is an ounce of alcohol in the vicinity the Scotsman is doing the work of five men. Krzysztof stood there also in amazement to Henry’s increased feat of strength, clearly not offended by the snide remark since it was of course directed at me.

Once the barrels were unloaded, I left the trio. A slight question crossed my mind where Kyle was. But, I figured I didn’t want to know since it ALWAYS meant trouble for me. So I left it at that.

I headed back to my flat. It was a long and early morning. I needed some rest.

I awoke around noon. Boy, was my back killing me! My bed had not been comfortable. It felt like a ram-rod had been shoved up my back. You know, one of those silly rods that servants would wear in last century to keep them up proper. Yeah, it was good that they stopped using those decades ago…because they must have been excuciating.

I started cleaning up the mess that I had left the other day. I started with mopping the entry where Henry had tracked in mud. I knelt down to sweep up some of the dried areas. I heard a giggle coming from behind me. I quickly turned around to scowl at CG. She was on the top of the icebox. In seeing me turn she quickly darted inside the Kellog’s Toasted Corn Flakes box. The box tipped over not only spilling out its contents, but knocking over the bag of Dolly Dimples flour. The flour flowed over the top of the icebox down on to the kitchen floor. Great! That little faerie sometimes seemed more nuisance than good.

I saw little footprints forming in a path cutting through the blanket of spilt flour. Apparently, she was unaware that I was still tracking her movements even with her Glamour of Invisibilty. I could really be angry at her. Her naivety was far too welcomed to shun her for too long. My temper quickly vanished. I thought how ironic this pixie was. She knew so much about magic and faerie lore, yet was so oblivious to the more mundane. I brought the broom to the kitchen and hurriedly swept up the flour and cereal mixture.

By the time I was done cleaning, I knew I had about an hour before Carlton would arrive with Father’s car. I quickly showered and shaved. I got my tuxedo from the closet. A trail of tiny white flour footprints led from the cuff to the inner-coat pocket.

“CG, you can’t come. Remember you said yourself that I will have trouble enough crossing the Threshold alone. If you were inside my jacket we would for sure be barred from entry.” I reached my hand into the pocket and pulled out an invisible fury pinched between my fingers.

“Put me down! If only you knew who you were dealing with Knighten Foraine!”

“And who, pray tell, would that be, CG?”

“I—I am…ARGH!! Knighten, let me go!” I almost got her to tell me more of her past. She was so close. I conceded defeat and let the pixie go. She fell a few inches in mid-air before regaining control of the flight in her wings. She flitted away angrily. I thought maybe I had gone too far. Knighten, how could you be so insensative?

Carlton’s horn sounded outside. I quickly slipped into my tux. I threw on my socks and dress shoes. Fortunately, I had polished them the night before. I hurriedly threaded my belt. I grabbed my untied bowtie and threw it over my shoulder as I ran out the door down the steps to the front door of the townhouse. As I was about to step out, I remembered that I did not have my ticket. I raced back upstairs and grabbed the envelope where I had left it.

I flew down the stairs and shut the front door behind me. I locked up and glided down the front steps with the envelope in my lips now, while my hands were freed to begin tying my tie. Carlton was holding the back-passenger door open to Father’s car. The engine was still running.

“The bat flies around the tree… and says ‘hi’ to the swallow… bends his wing… and flies into the hollow….” I muttered under my breath as I approached the car. I obviously wasn’t getting the tie correctly. “Or is it ‘into the hollow…say ’hi’ to the swallow’?”

“Allow me, Master Knighten.” I allowed Carlton to correct my knotted mess.

Carlton had been with my family for a long time. He worked along side my father in the stockyards before the turn of the century, back when they were young. The two sort of parted ways, but always stayed in touch. My father moved on into the buddying car industry. He saved enough money working on the car line to pay for college. My father always had big dreams. He graduated top of his class in Harvard Business School. He returned back to Chicago to start his own business in the car industry. He could see that the turmoil happening in Europe before the turn of the century was going to create a huge demand for car engines and parts. When the War began, my father was selected as an officer due to his college degree. It was there that he met up with Carlton again. Carlton was serving under my father’s command as a corporal. The War really bonded them. My father said that Carlton even saved his life. This incident left Carlton mildly crippled in his right leg. For as long as I have known him he has had a limp that he tries to keep subtle. After the War, my father learned that Carlton had fallen on bad times. He had lost his job at the stockyards due to his disability, and his unfaithful wife had run off with his life savings. My father took him in without question and gave him this job. He is like part of the family, now.

“There you go, Master Knighten. Quickly, your father will be waiting.”

I jumped into the back seat. Carlton shut the door, then dignifiedly limped around the back of the car to the driver’s side. He tipped his hat as he looked at me through the rearview mirror.

“We ready, sir?”

“Drive on, Carlton.” That sounded so much like my father. I saw Carlton smile in the mirror. Apparently, he thought the same thing. Carlton always saw me as more than I thought I could be. When I was younger, whenever I was feeling frustrated or angry with Father being distant at times, it was Carlton who would act as the mediator between Father and me. He helped me understand Father better. He helped me find great respect for Father. I was always impressed with their experiences in the War. They were true men and gentlemen in my eyes. When I felt at times like I let my father down, Carlton helped me to understand how much Father loved and cared about me.

More to come…

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