Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The March, Chapter 32: Scenes from Outside the March

Chapter 31

There’s no basement in the Alamo
-Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

The March was on a brisk, busy street.  Hundreds of shoppers, commuters, tourists and working folks rushed past its doors every day.  The March, like the businesses that surrounded it, was background to the individuals on that brisk, busy street and those individuals rushing past the bar blurred into indistinct parts of a crowd to the folks inside.  Indoors, an interesting event like Mary’s brush with the criminal element captured the attention of The March staff and patrons for days on end; outdoors, other interesting happenstances enjoyed perfect secrecy despite happening amidst of throngs of incurious souls.

Take for example a reedy looking Karl Rafferty lounging about on the steps right outside the March, rolling cigarettes and taking inventory.  Bulstrode walked down the street and caught Raff in his eye, battled for a moment with his fight or flight reflex, and then steeled himself and strode purposefully toward his new nemesis.

“Why are you here” demanded Bulstrode.  “I thought we had an agreement.  Why are you so determined to destroy my life?”

“Least you had a life,” said Raff, bitterly.  “I never had no place but The March and the joint.  I’m going in for a drink soon. “

“I’ll give you two hundred dollars in cash right now to walk away,” said Bulstrode.

Raff took the money and walked away.

Bulstrode walked past the bar, turned the corner and then took a moment to lean against the wall.  He knew this would not stand.  He knew something would have to break soon.  Eventually, he’d figure it out.  Right?  Something had to change.

He turned around and walked back to The March, where he had a meeting with Tré and Caleb.


Tré had just had his own moment outside The March.  He was standing outside, preparing to present his plans to launch the rebrand at The March when suddenly he found himself so overwhelmed with fatigue and nerves that he had to rush around back to the alley to vomit.  “That’s it,” he thought. “I’m puking in an alley at 11:30 in the morning.  I’m talking to Rosie today.  Something has to change.”
He walked to the convenience store across the street for a coke and some gum.


Later on, you might have found Will hiding in the apartment building steps right by The March, where he’d ducked in after spying Brooke and Teddy walking into the bar.  He lurked there, listening to them arguing.  Teddy was insisting that he would finish his book but that when he did, it would make no difference.  He told Brooke to make sure she had no children.  “They’ll be no world for them, my dear.  I’m just glad I’ll be dead before the end.”  Brooke was clearly frustrated with Teddy.  But rather than argue, she just sighed deeply.  Will could practically hear her rolling her eyes.  He found the exchange surprisingly inspiriting, despite Teddy’s depressing commentary.


Later still, you’d have heard Caleb pop up for a visit with Jorge.  Celia had finished her shift at Marshall Fields and was hanging out in the door, making plans for a movie with Gio.

“Gio,” said Caleb.  “I think it’s time we got you trained for the bar.”

“Really?” said Gio, excited.

“Yeah,” said Caleb.  “It’s time to get you and Brooke trained.  You’ll start Fridays week after next.  And, Celia, it’s nice to see you. Now go away and let Gio do his job.”

Celia laughed and said, “You bet, Caleb.”  But when he left, she jumped up to hug Gio and they started kissing right there on the street.

It was a pretty good kiss, too.  But no one stopped to notice.