She was the kinda gal who sashayed where ever she went. Always sashaying and flicking those hips from side to side. She was the best mover in town, everyone said so. Even the Reverend Gascoin, who was a sort of expert in these delicate things.
He enjoyed having opinions on worldly stuff, as long as his boss up above didn’t get to hear about it. I kinda think that the Rev didn’t really understand the Bible.
As for the gal, who was called Helen, she worked at the Teddy Coffee Shop; it was named after President Roosevelt. One day his automobile had a flat tire and he stopped in for a strong, black treacle drink. He apparently said it was the goddamn best cuppa coffee he had ever drunk. Had them serve it at his funeral, I heard. Not sure how true that is, either.
Still you gotta go with what you hear and make your own mind up. Them’s the rules.
The café was on a muddy, bumpy road just off the thruway, and the only folks that visited it, were there ‘cause it was accidental. But then the founding father probably took a wrong turn and just decided to stay.
The railway came through in ’86 – 1886 that is and folded thirty years later when the main investor, one General Wade took all the monies and disappeared to Bolivia, or at least that’s the story. Like I say, you can pick and choose what you believe of this short story.
So you’re gonna ask what was so unusual about Helen, the gal who liked to sashay? And you’d be correct to ask the question, ‘cause it’s an interesting one.
You see Helen was my grandmother and on her deathbed she told me a story. When she’d finished, she took one final guttural breath and kissed me and then the world goodbye.
And so I am gonna tell you the story exactly as she told it to me and you can make your own mind up:
“I was working in the Teddy on that particular day, the day when the two gentlemen came to call. It was unusual as we normally had only one customer at a time. But hey, you gotta take the money where you can get it. They didn’t arrive together which made me think that they were trying to have a meet without anyone else over-hearing, if you get what I’m saying. The both asked me what was the special for the day and I told them it was the mac and cheese. They both seemed happy with that. One of them was a real good-looking man with a New England way of talking and when I walked across the floor, he mentioned that I had a nice real way of moving. I took that on board with both hands, I’ll tell ya. The other was a dark, strange-looking fellow, who seemed to be keeping one eye on the door.
I was wiping the counter and that was when I heard the conversation they were having. And this is where I swear it got strange. The good-looking man said that it was true that he was dying of cancer or something. I couldn’t quite hear as they would stop talking when I got close. I couldn’t keep asking if they wanted more coffee as it was starting to look strange. That was when the other asked when he would do it.
It seemed that one man was dying and he wanted the other, a hit man, to shoot the dying man, and that he’d get well paid. He just wasn’t to tell him when it would happen. ‘Let it be a surprise’, the good-looking man said with a grin.
I remember they left a big tip and shook hands, then they drove off in separate cars and in different directions. It was only when I read the papers a few weeks later, that I realised that one of them was the president, and the other was some guy who shot him from a book depository.”
bobby stevenson 2016