The Fire Cooperative


Marlowe and Dinah

Summary: Marlowe's bill and the fire cooperative are discussed

Date: June 16, 1883

The Fire Cooperative

Tietz's Meats

Tietz's Meats

Entering the Butcher's and Delicatessen, the first thing that stands out is a gleaming oak and glass display case, filled with cuts of beef, a variety of fowl and mutton, and very occasionally, goat and certain varieties of fish. A similiar case stands at a ninety degree angle to the first, but not touching it, with non-kosher cuts of meat, and a variety of smoked meats. Noticibly missing is ANY cut of pork, no bacon or hams or chops grace these displays. Several small tables are bunched into one corner, facing the front window. Two doors behind the main display lead to the back and upstairs.

Players: Marlowe Dinah
Exits: [O] Division St [S] Shechita
[U] Parlor

The screen door opens with a crash, and slams behind the 'breed as he stalks in, a handful of crumpled papers gripped tightly in his mangled hand. 'Whar's thet four-flushin' dayamed coyote uv a butcher?"

The smoked buckskin shirt, heavily fringed and quilled is drawn in at the waist by a broad leather belt. Trousers of the same buckskin, fringed as well, cover the tops of the desert moccasins on his feet. He wears a bandanna, wrapped turban like on his head and tops that with a wide brimmed floppy hat. A black obsidian dagger is tucked securely in the small of his back, and the big Greener ten gauge would command attention, were his face not so scarred by fire, his limp so halting. His hands are knobby and twisted, the left missing two fingers, crudely hacked off at the first joint. A leather patch covers his left eye, the right eye appearing an icy blue. His entire demeanor and movements suggest nothing more than a near helpless cripple.

Dinah is standing over by the kosher meat section, eying up a bit of something fresh and very appealing in the case. The slam of the door causes her to jump a little and turn quickly in a swirl of skirt and scarf, eyes gone a bit wide. "I beg your pardon, sir?" she asks, not in challenge but in puzzlement. "Mr. Tietz is inside his home just now, I believe. Is there a problem?"

The single glacial eye rakes the woman with a chilly glare, "Don't concern you, I reckon." he slaps the bills on the counter, the paper's flying every which way, then pins them down with his belt knife. "What the hell is he doing at home this time of day anyhows?" he mutters, "Giving that ole woman of his a poke, like as not."

Dinah's lips tighten only slightly, just enough to indicate a disapproval she probably had not meant to show. Her voice, however, remains as gently modulated as if Marlowe had merely remarked upon the unseasonable warmth or the loveliness of a patch of daffodils. "Mr. Tietz is at his afternoon prayers with my husband. I don't know what time he normally closes the shop, but if he normally is here at this time, I'm certain he will be back. The afternoon prayers only take a little while, and they've already been at them for ten minutes or so. In the meantime, would you care for a few berries?" she gestures with the right arm, which holds the handle of a small basket. "They were a gift from Mrs. Tietz, and I'm sure she won't mind if I share them."

The 'breed snorts and eyes the berries distrustfully, "If she knew you was offerin' them to me, she'd likely dust 'em with rat poison and call it sugar." He steps back, his eye narrowing, "You one of them Joo-gals too? Can ya cook? My wife needs a new housekeeper and cook."

Dinah keeps holding out the berry basket, apparently unconcerned about what her fellow Joo-gal might think of her regifting the berries. Well, except for the one or two she picks out of the basket for herself, plump juicy blackberries. "Yes sir, I do cook passably well. I don't know that I'll be able to take a position as a housekeeper or cook, however. This being my first home of my own, I'm not entirely certain I'll be able to keep it all myself, let alone another home as well. Once I get settled and confident that I know what I'm doing, perhaps, if your wife is still looking for a cook at the time. Are you sure you won't have just a few berries? There are far more here than I'll need for just two pies."

Marlowe grumbles under his breath, "Same thing that Sary leah said, only she gots to blame it all on me." lookign up, he replies, "Done told you, I don't want none of yore berries, thank ya just the same. Take 'em and pound 'em with fat meat, and make pemmican outta 'em. Keep ya all winter long." He jerks his knife from the counter, resheathing it, and tosses a small bag on top of the bills. A small bag that clinks with a heavy tinkling. "If he dun be careful," the breed warns, "Just might have to go back to buying beef straight from the ranch."

Dinah's head tilts and her brows draw together as if in consultation. Apparently it doesn't help much, because she has to say, "I'm new here, and a little confused, so I'm not certain I understand your meaning. What should Mr. Tietz be careful of? I wouldn't want to mangle the message I give him."

He nearly froths at the mouth as he replies, "Well double billing, what else would he be doing? Damn it to hell and back, you'd think he'd give a body one bill a month, stead of slipping two under the door! Beef might be good'n tender, but tain't that good!"

Dinah's brows lift, then lower together, only this time instead of puzzlement, the effect is one of quiet affront — not at Marlowe, but at the possibility that the accusation is true. "Your bill isn't my business, I know, but if it touches on the honesty of Mr. Tietz, this may be something that concerns me as a member of the community and a customer of his shop. Would you mind showing me the bills?"

The gnarled finger jabs at the weighted down pile of bills, "Help yoreself. Just you mind to not be sneaking none of them gold double eagles outta that bag. Might have only one eye, but I see almighty particular with it." The aforementioned eye narrows, watching the woman closely. "Ain't got enough troubles roundabout here, now we got to be getting tooken for a ride from the stores."

Dinah reaches for the papers, careful to disturb the bag as little as possible, and takes a careful look. She hmms over the meat and its cost, reading the first bill aloud: type of meat, cut of meat, number of pounds, price per pound. "This first one, is this accurate? Did you actually get exactly what it says here?"

Craning his neck, marlowe peers at the bill, 'Ayup. that ones for the fire Dee-partment, two hunnerd pounds of beef, twenty chickens and fifty pounds of fish." Pointing to the second one, "That 'uns from mah wife's boardin' house. Hunnerd pounds beef, fifty pounds mutton, twenny chickens an' a few fish here an' thar. That last one is Miss Meriah's house."

Dinah looks over each one. "Yes, I see. This one," she holds up the first bill, "says what you ordered. /This one," she holds up the second bill, "says what you received. It's a receipt, not another bill — it's for you to keep, in case anyone at the fire department, the boarding house, or the third establishment should say that they didn't get what you ordered after all. You see? You aren't being asked to pay twice."

the 'breed's eye narrows further and he rasps out, "You sayin' he is putting it on paper what I ordered? Keepin' track of me? We'll jest see 'bout that!" He heads for the steps, growling, "Tietz! I'm gonna come up there an' kick yore scrawny backside from heah to Goshen an' back again, git down heah you summanabitch!"

Dinah's head is already shaking. "No, no, no," she says in what she hopes is a soothing voice. "He's not keeping track of you. He's helping /you/ keep tracking of your /meat/. If, God forbid, one of your employees takes some of the meat home for himself, and claims that it never arrived, this receipt will prove that it did arrive. It will also help the head cook in each kitchen know what's there, so they'll know how much they have, how much they're going through, and when it's time to order more."

Marlowe turns, his face still angry, "Now what the hell would they do that for? Ain't nobody in the boardin' house 'cept mah wife an' the boarders..they pay fer the meals, why can't they take whut they want? My firemen gots families, so if they take a bit heah and there, I dun care none."
He hooks his thumbs into his belt, and smirks, "An' them nigras at meriah's know bettah than to steal, they'll get the hide peeled off their backs 'Sides, they git fed good enough."

"The second point still remains," Dinah points out reasonably, handing back the bills and receipts. "If the cook at each place knows how much meat was ordered and delivered, then she'll know how much is in supply and when it's time to order more, so that you don't run out. There's another good use for a receipt, too. If any of the meat is spoiled or substandard, you can bring the meat and the receipt back to Mr. Tietz and say, look here, this meat was delivered on Monday according to the receipt you gave me, and already spoiled by Wednesday. Then Mr. Tietz would have to either give you fresh meat in place of the spoiled, or give you your money back so that you could replace the meat without losing money."

"now yore sayin' Tietz'd give out spoiled meat? looky here now..he might be a strange duck, talks almighty odd, but he tain't never brung over no bad beef." A sudden thought seems to strike him, and he takes a small notebook from his pocket, "Whut'd you say your name was, nohows?" he inquires, turnign the pages laboriously squinting at the writing. "An' hows come I dun see no new entries in here for you joinin' the fire coOPertive?"

Dinah's head shakes again. "I don't think Mr. Tietz would ever knowingly give out spoiled meat, but even a scrupulous man can make an honest mistake. Now, what is a fire cooperative? Is that different from a volunteer fire department? Can a woman join it, or shall I notify my husband about this?"

He looks horrified at the thought, "A woman join the coOPerative? Why the fust damned time ya went runnin' into a burnin' buildin' yore skirt'd catch fire." he eyes her critically, "An' I dun reckon thar's many want to see yore nekkid rear." he chuckles, wryly, "Ten dollars a month fer a business, five for a home. Iffen a fire starts up, an' yore paid, my boys come put it out iffen they can. ya ain't paid? We watch it burn."

Dinah just got off the train, but not the boat. This, she's heard of. One brow lifts. "I see." And she does, too. Protection rackets fuel the economy of New York City. "And how much for a home that's upstairs from the business that we own — that is, if we decide to buy a shop and the home above it?"

Marlowe scratches his nose, and replies, "Ten bucks, same as the business." he shrugs, "Only fair, can't be chargin' twicet for one place. One fire'd get 'em both, I reckon." Just then, the antiquated man-pulled fire pumper rolls by, a half dozen or so men pulling on a variety of second and third hand equipment as they ran along behind, "Wal, looky thar, there they go now..reckon I'll be holdin' payday tonight."

Dinah's lips purse as she considers the going rate, and she nods with finality and reaches into a pocket to pull out a few bills and some shiny silver coins. "That's a fair price. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, nine and a half, ten. Do you need both of our names for your list, or only my husband's?"

Marlowe eyes the money offered, and fishes a stub of a pencil from his pocket, "Don't need no names, need to know whar to come. And it is near half through the month, so's if yore signin' up now, it is only five dollars." He stops, the pencil poised over the paper, "Dependin' on whar it is, maht be paid fer this month nohows. What place ya buyin'?"

Dinah nods towards the window which shows the vacant shop-and-house building right next door to the Tietz's place. "Just there." Right next door to the Joos.

Squinting out of the window at the boarded up building, the 'breed checks his notebook, "Well, if this ain't yore lucky day. Masters paid ahead on thet place afore he got hisself kilt..Ain't nothin' due on it till August Fust." he snaps the book closed, replacing it in his pocket, "Dun be lettin' thet Jakes feller high grade ya into payin' again. It is me or one of the boys collects, ever' month, nobody else." His eye slits again, "Iffen anybody else tells ya they are collectin', you just plug 'em and call the Sheriff, or let me know, I'll lift their damned hair."

This time, the undersized Jewess is genuinely taken aback. Not once, but twice, an honest assessment of fees? "I believe you. Thank you very much, Mister… ah, I don't believe I caught your name, sir."

"I'm sure you Tietz, or thet damned woman of his'n." Turning for the door, he yells back up the steps, 'Tietz, same ordahs next month, an' keep your reciepts. This heah bird lookin' gal down heah got your money."

Dinah watches the man leave, shaking her head. And smiling. "Well, I never."


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License