Old Black Maggie – Episode 9

taravao-presquile-de-tahiti_211237[1]The Everywhere Man

Friday and Saturday afternoon became Gary’s regular days at Walton’s Drugstore. Beez was a regular also.

Beez always dressed in dress slacks, wore a sport jacket, and button-down flat cap. He was always clean and neat. He drove a white Austin Healy. He inherited what he had.
His family owned a building that the Majestic Theater, Bigalow’s Hamburgers, and Callahan’s Cycle Shop occupied. There were several apartments in the building and Beez had the one that had a box seat to the theater. He watched all the movies by just walking out in the hallway of his apartment and into a balcony box seat. A lawyer and accountant took care of everything for him. He never worked a day in his life. He had an easy life.

Gary slid onto a stool at the counter in Walton’s, a seat away from Beez, where he was reading a comic and sipping a Coke through a straw.

“How ya doin, Hot Rod?” Beez said cheerfully. “How was your magazine?”

“Good,” Gary said. “How are you today, sir.”

Beez looked around as if Gary was talking to someone else. “I told you they call me Beez, my dad’s name was sir.”

“I’ll remember that,” Gary smiled.

The counter girl came and Gary ordered a chocolate coke.

“Is that any good?” Beez said.

“Sure is,” Gary said. “I switch from vanilla, to cherry, to chocolate, and plain. I like to mix things up.”

“A real cosmopolitan aren’t you?” Beez said.

“I don’t know what that means,” Gary smiled.

“A guy whose been around and tried about everything,” Beez said.

“That’s not me,” Gary said. “Maybe someday.”

“Do you want to travel and go places?” Beez said.

“Sure, doesn’t everybody?” Gary said.

“No some people will spend their lives right here and seldom go outside the area,” Beez said. “The world is a big place, a lot of different ideas, cultures, things to do and be experienced and if you don’t do them you will live a life of just wondering how things may have been different if only I’d taken the opportunity when it came along.”

“Where all have you been?” Gary said.

“Name a place,” Beez smiled.

“California,” Gary said.

“Come on,” Beez said. “That’s too easy, try again.”

Gary grinned confidently. “Tahiti.”

“You thought you had me, didn’t you?” Beez said. “I was there two years ago in a small village named Taravao.”

“You’re kidding me!” Gary said. “You’ve been to Tahiti.”

“Several times,” Beez said.

“What about the South Pole?” Gary said.

“Very good, Gary,” Beez said. “Now that’s one place I haven’t been, but since you mentioned it, it’s definitely on my list. Although I have seen the coast of Antarctica.”

“No way,” Gary said.

“If you’re in her tomorrow I’ll bring a picture of me with the coast of Antarctica in the background,” Beez said.

“I’ll be here,” Gary said.
They talked for a few minutes. Beez told him about a few other places he had traveled. All the while Gary’s mouth hung near agape in amazement. Beez acted matter of fact as he regaled Gary with his exploits of far away places.

“We’ll talk some other time,” Beez said. “I have to meet a friend. But remember be here tomorrow around two in the afternoon.” Beez pulled a small appointment book from the inside lapel pocket of his jacket and jotted it down. “Two, I got it right here. I’ll see you then.” Beez ruffled Gary’s hair. “Take care.”

“You too,” Gary said.

A moment later Gary heard the muffled sound of Beez’s Austin-Healy start and drive away.



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