Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mr. Guscott presents while Gloria and TRM attend

In the still-cool quiet of the tea shop, Mr. Apotienne witnessed what he felt was a combination of ritual, a bit of P.T. Barnum flummery - without malicious intent - and a way of doing business that might be passing into the mist.  Because all of it was taking place in Billington's Cove, a location he was not entirely sure appeared, at least not accurately placed, on most maps, he thought that here, perhaps, Mr. Guscott could continue to carry on indefinitely his ancient trade with flourish and  mystery.
Sample tea, photo courtesy of this blog and this vendor.
From his sample case, the purveyor of teas had begun to pull his wares, packaged so that they appeared to have come from a Chinese apothecary in 1910.  Gauzy drawstring bags of dark green leaves, glassine envelopes and bags, one size as small as a postage stamp, seeming to hold herbal cures.  From other regions he produced origami-fold packets of rice paper and enameled tins that reminded Mr. Apotienne of a snuff box exhibit he'd once seen.  For each sample he brought forth, Mr. Guscott seemed to have reached into a shadowy corner of Asia-past for surely this was not the stuff of modern business.  Accompanying the show was the tell as the salesman, such an ordinary name for one whose gift is the skilled choreography with which he held them captive, told of each location from which each most special tea had come.
It wasn't a lengthy unveiling.  As a spectator, The Reading Man could tell the degree to which Mr. Guscott savored these moments.   Gloria allowed herself to be enthralled by the patter, for that was clearly how they always did it, arranging every aspect of herself to be the perfect audience for a performance which a wise eye could tell had seen many rehearsals, many revisions.  Perhaps Gloria was the only customer honored with this feat.  Perhaps Gloria was the only customer.

When the names of the teas had been spoken, the names of the villages where Mr. Guscott found them revealed, he leaned back in his chair, a bit winded, a man descending to earth after the high wire act of putting it all, so to speak, on the table.  His heart, possibly, and maybe his soul could be nestled there among the fragrant plant parts.  This was who he was, this was his full and complete bag of tricks.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

"Accompanying the show was the tell", genius writing my dear!

Lisa H said...

....the story started at wonderful and continues to progress to amazing....

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Thank you. Fly-on-the-wall time at the tea shop. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Thank you. I want to throw my arms around all these people and go fun places with them in my car. xo