Kacy raised an eyebrow. “He?”
“My old pal Dick.” Deacon laughed at her shocked expression.
“I see. I never heard it put quite that way before.”
Deacon held out his arms to her again, sitting on the edge of the bed, supporting his sore leg on a pillow. “Well, my first girlfriend called him Mr. Sparky, but that’s kind of juvenile.”
Kacy tossed her hair, giving him a coy look. “Oh, I dunno. Sparky seems pretty appropriate to me. I am a lighting designer, after all.”
“That’s very true. Appropriate since that’s what sparked your interest.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She tried to look innocent.
“Admit it, when we saw each other naked, that’s when you started having naughty thoughts about me.”
“Well, that might have had a little something to do with it.”
“Little? Little she says! My dear, I have you know that there is nothing little about it!”
His kiss stopped all further comment, but she had to agree he was right.
Tuesday morning, Deacon was on the phone for hours trying to arrange lumber, canvas, paint, hardware and tools to be delivered the next day. Since none of the wholesalers knew him, they were giving him a hard time, making excuses about why delivery couldn’t be made on time. The foreman of the construction crew saw the problems he was having and asked for the phone.
“Lemme, talk to him, Mr. Stewart. I know these assholes.”
Deacon gladly handed the phone over. Mac, the foreman, made it clear that delivery would be when Mr. Stewart said, or he would no longer do business with them. Not only would Mr. Stewart not do business, Mac himself, and Mr. Sawyer would no longer do business. Was that clear? Deacon had to admire the man’s moxie. He had a strong New York accent, that Deacon placed as Brooklyn. Deacon thanked him after he got off the phone.
“You betcha! You just got to know how to talk to the guys down here, Mr. Stewart. Up home, it’s a whole different finesse, have to sweet talk ’em a little. Down here, you refuse them your patronage, let them know you’ll tell all your friends in the business, and drop a few important names and badabing!” Snapping his fingers, he laughed so heartily, Deacon had to join in.
“You have the job from now on, of calling the suppliers, that okay with you?”
“Part of my job, Mr. Stewart.”
“Call me Deacon. Let’s get this party started.”
He listed the first five tasks needing completion and was impressed at how Mac divided his workers and got them all started.
“There’s a list beside the back door over there, when that stuff’s done, just check it. It’s mostly in order, but if I’ve gotten out of sequence, correct it as you go. Find me if you have any questions. You good to go?”
Mac grinned broadly and saluted, his craggy, suntanned face nearly cracking in two. “We got it under control, Deacon. Go be creative.”
They had set up an improvised shop in the large backstage area of the theater. The electrical equipment was housed there, so they could continue to work even if it rained. A tarp had been erected outside to cover the building materials, and a shed was being set up to put it all in so it wouldn’t get stolen.
“Theft from construction sites is bad down here. I don’t think Mr. Sawyer would appreciate buying this stuff two, three times,” Mac said.
“No, it would annoy him,” Deacon replied absently. He laughed loudly for a moment while Mac looked at him. “I just had this mental image of Dino squatting on the two by fours, with a rifle across his knees, guarding the stash.”
He and Mac chuckled as they stood outside on the back porch smoking cigarettes. A few other workers were also there, chatting a while on a short break.
“While I’m thinking of it, Mac. No one smokes inside. I’ve got cans of sand outside each door, butts go in there, not on the ground. This place is old enough to go up like a torch. Pass the word. Clear?” He directed his comments to the gathered workers.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Stewart.” They obediently ground out their butts in the can and went back to work.
Deacon stood on the porch, finishing his cigarette, enjoying a quiet moment.
“Mr. Stewart!” It was Mac’s voice.
Puzzled by the sudden formality, Deacon turned around. Mac didn’t look happy at all.
“Coming. What’s up, Mac?”
The older man looked agitated. “Some asshole from downtown, he’s bitching about our permits. I posted the damn things and showed them to him all nice and pretty, and he’s not satisfied. Apparently, a new ordinance, I was unaware of, we have to have one to erect that damn shed back there, and he’s fussing.”
“No, or I’d have him sweet talk the guy, if you know what I mean?”
Deacon did. He knew there was graft on every level of every bureaucracy.
©2021 Dellani Oakes
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