episode 13: rick pince, whale mouth, and the panton chairs
open auction room, at least seventy chic seats laid out, none filled. dent chewed nicorette, drank the ritzy coffee, three sugars. in his pocket, mont blanc, index cards, a single check, throw away mobile, like in the wire. darby was on call, told to circle the building in a cab for a half hour. the room itself, an swedish/danish who’s who of office furniture, surprising for a private estate sale. who were they trying to impress? this was to be more of a spectacle than an actual transaction, at least that’s how dent planned it. running the sale, an old rival, gigs in repo, mortgage, bonds, and now, estate auctions. dent once popped this guy’s sternum with a thermos after a night out with chums in upstate ny digging for clawfoot tubs in a warehouse, bumping lines off thumbs. the fellow never forgave mike, as he’d reeled from the jab into a handcut mirror from 1794. to pieces it fell, along with the dinner they’d had together. ever see oxtail and shattered glass on concrete? pure post ab-ex. a sworn enemy of quomodo, the auctioneer waited for mike dent at the podium, also sporting a blank check, and a mont blanc pen. evil twins. remember, said cloris, “darby is a tool, not a weapon.” in this case, dent’d have mcclure in full form. the object of his future pugilism yet to be decided upon. there were plenty of chairs about.
the site reeked of rot, when the cabs rolled up, you could smell it through the air con. “dead deer carcass, for sure, omen.”, a pensive ifa said over shoulder. renee gagged, stuck her head in her shopping bag, brought specifically for heaving, breathed deeply. she’d packed the bag with lavender sachets, the only cure for her carsickness, which she’d not revealed to anyone in the group. they looked upon her, huffing her saks bag, with incredulity. she’d been known for worse. tamar searched the roadside for a body, decided it was off in the brush, thought about its guts. “exactly where is this magic kingdom?”, tamar shouted from the back of the cab, through the screen, over rai. “covered from this angle,” ifa pointed west, “and the frame’s got no shadow.” olen sat with his pen ready, drawing upside down whale bellies and rows of exotic shelving. olen ragnarsson was famous for freehand, impromptu genius. whatever was drawn on his pad at the moment was mondrian. tamar could see the workings of his pen from the corner of her eye. she pinched his thigh. he didn’t react. under a gray sky, with little traffic passing the site, the samurai, minus their mcqueen, strode single file, almost in step, to the base of the bomb shelter. hard hat men waited with tools.
“rick pince, caught you sexting.” shit grin dent pointed his index at rick pince, auctioneer, bent at the waist checking his blackberry behind the podium. dent sat with right leg crossed left, held #13 on his lap. he wore no socks, a tactic he found to throw the straight-laced, and make him seem a confident don johnson. “been a year, still soaking cork? mortgage market got that jaw sore?”, as dent stuck his tongue in and out of cheek. black dick humor came to michael p. dent before he’d used his own, a savant of insult throwing cock talk. “mike you still roll fly down commando, or did that teen rap back in ought four get you jail time?” pince’s ping pong had no effect on dent, who popped another nico and chewed cud. “get going you mouth,” dent raised his #13, “fifty to start for the shithole.” pince looked down at his info, spoke through the feedback in the mic. “property bid at fifty.” pince held up his own #11. “two pricks won’t get you pussy pince. put those dick digits down. one fifty.” pince wagged his number over his head, “two twenty. raise me miami vice.” dent clicked twice on a nextel. suddenly a car door popped outside, and a shirtless mcclure in balaclava & bike shorts stormed the near empty room, plucking a chair from the back. dent ducked, the chair flew over his head, hit the podium, followed by a baboon hoot, and some glasgow filth talking, unintelligible. game on.
ifa heard the two nextel clicks, waved to the contractors, grabbed olen by the scruff. “ok mr. o, you’re on, get down there in boots and direct traffic.” she followed the pasty to the site, gaping mouth of whale sixty-five feet wide, twenty high. arc welders and torches lit, the teeth of the beast burned white under the flame. olen donned a headlamp, snuck inside. the beast, a 60’s mod bomb shelter for the richardson clan, local rockefellers of the plastics racket as seen in the graduate, stretched in a convex dome from it’s twenty-foot high mouth, to a lip at the back. inside, unbeknownst to every realtor, auction clown, and kicking richardson, the shelter was stacked head high with piles of vintage 60’s fournir. culled from the richardson’s california prop, a take in the adirondacks, & an upper-west pent, the shelter was less intended for protection, and more for dementia. somebody in the fam had pack-rat’d their way to an abject fortune of leather, suede, and crack plastic. michael p. dent, the prick of bowery, the knob of new haven, was a swing or swig away from the furniture equivalent of walter raleigh’s pussy hunt, stolen under the nose of every archivist south of albany. smoke cleared from the torches, olen stepped deeper into the darkness. a beam of remaining graylight struck the chrome frame of a corbusier chaise, covered in white cotton, finger deep in dust. “oi oil,” remarked a squinting olen, “well, we won’t need to furnish.”
as the podium shattered dent leap to his feet, pounced with a knee on a whimpering rick pince, who said in vibrato, “aye aye, dent take the shithole, just don’t bust my seats. the estate’s main house gets razed monday. title keeps the can.” dent stood without a wrinkle on his thieves single button. “richard pince your puss can first void that bank check in your name, then hand the title to mr. bike shorts over there.” darby was straightening the chairs, a butler in balaclava. pince knelt, touched his balls, as if they’d been chopped, and handed a file to darby, “we’re off mikey, car’s waiting.” dent gave pince a pat on the cheek, refilled his coffee by the door, spit his nicorette wad in the basket. “nice bin, i love puking monday in mine.” pince rolled onto his back stared at the lacquered drop ceiling panels, custom job from montreal. his auction house intact, cheap podium dashed to pieces, richard b. pince survived a rout by darby mcclure without blood loss, the first in five years to do so. he’d not learn about the hidden furniture for weeks. a manila folder under his office door, glossy photo, showing a naked quomodo crew seated in seven panton chairs, signed in white, quomodo: minimalist twatcock.
one to go, onearchists. quomodo closes its doors tomorrow. dent’s soliloquy, darby’s lament, olen’s giclee, renee’s complaint, ifa’s wet dream, cloris’ countdown. quomodo, you’ll miss the fuck out of us, or just miss the fucking.