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Keep Those Bottles Quiet

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Summary: Faith meets someone who’s really dedicated to their job. Really, really, REALLY dedicated. And he isn’t going to put up with any kind of guff or tomfoolery whatsoever from anybody who might interfere with this.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Childrens/Teen(Current Donor)ManchesterFR1555,2500102,79415 May 1120 May 11Yes

Chapter Five

Faith landed a good couple of yards away from the park bench that she’d just levitated from, twisting around in mid-air during her panicked leap to land on her feet. Now tensely holding a weapon in either hand that she’d snatched from under her jacket, the shocked Slayer gaped at a milkman who’d actually managed to sneak up on someone with heightened senses.

Standing there with a very bland look upon his face, the being that had existed as Louie Lay for nearly two centuries now performed a slow twirl once with the lit cigarette still between his thin lips. For some reason, Faith instantly became positive that guy over there had just showed the only sign of amusement that he rarely allowed himself. That also had the effect of arousing the Boston-born Slayer’s quick temper, causing her to growl back at who’d just caught Faith completely unawares, “Maybe, maybe not. You up to answering a few questions about who or what the hell you are?”

A calm Louie eyed the irate woman before him, to then indifferently answer, “Nope.” Turning away while carrying his milk carton in his right hand, the milkman paused at hearing a suddenly snarled statement.

“Well, then why don’t you pass on how you got the Council off your back? Woulda been interested as hell in that little trick myself a few years ago!”

Returning to face his furious questioner, Louie thoughtfully reassessed this woman, before inquiring past his cigarette, “Yer bin in trouble with them before?”

“They fucked me over good a few months after I was Called!” snapped Faith, sudden tears appearing at the corners of her eyes at memories that were still painful after so long. Nevertheless, she carried on, “My Watcher was murdered and I didn’t get any goddamn support from any of those British bastards after that! Took off across the whole U.S., wound up in a crappy motel at a little place called Sunnydale, and then things really went to hell in a handbasket! Took me years to deal with it, both what was my fault and what wasn’t-- Why the fuck am I telling you this? Go back to delivering your damn cow juice!” Right after that rant, Faith started to stomp off, until she froze in her tracks at hearing an unemotional voice speaking in a monotone.

“Had a customer once, a long time back.” After spitting his cigarette stub onto the ground, Louie stood there totally frozen, without a single clink from the bottles in his milk carton, but the skin over his cheekbones had tightened even further and turned shiny while he stared at the startled woman listening to him. “Timid feller, wouldn’t say boo to a goose. But he was interested in stars, had one of them telescopes and liked to get up real early to look at the skies, before electricity or even gaslight in most places. He’d say hello to me on my route, tell me things about stars and planets and moons and suchlike. Well, one night, found him getting turned by a vampire. Killed it, decided not to do that with him. Got him through it, though he didn’t change all that much, never could bring himself to hurt anyone. Delivered him his pig and beef blood regularly, and he went back to looking at the stars. Up to when one of your kind blew into here without a single by-your-leave, and staked him on the spot. I’m the only one who remembers his name.”

Faith managed to meet Louie’s icy gaze for several moments after his remarks, before she muttered, “Sorry.”

“Yeah, so was they, those snobby Council blokes in London after I went there. Only time ever I left my route then, which made me really play merry-hell when I said my piece to them all. Think they learned summat from that, they never bothered me again. Until now,” meaningfully finished Louie.

“I didn’t know anything about you!” protested Faith, getting annoyed again after feeling a little ashamed after what she'd just heard. She glowered at the unimpressed whatever-that-was in his blue knitted sweater with white reindeer, her temper once more stirring at actually being slighted. The Slayer tried to put aside this to instead diplomatically explain, “A few years back, the old Council got blown up by some Big Bad, and it ended with us building a new organization. Uh, there’s hundreds of Slayers like me around the world now, and we’re still dealing with that. Things like, um, you had a tendency to slip through the cracks without us noticing, and if we wasn’t bitten on the ass by that, it could have kept going on like, basically forever.”

“Wouldn’t have minded that at all,” sourly commented Louie. He sent his own glower back towards the young lady there, before adding in a more doleful tone, “More Slayers? Do I have to run ’em off every time they show up?”

Faith actually had to sigh at hearing that. Putting away her weapons back into her jacket, the woman scratched her chin, until she suggested, “Listen, I have to tell Giles -- he’s the new boss of the Slayers -- all about this, but I can also pass on that you don’t wanna be bothered. He might buy that, considering we have a shitload of other work, enough to keep us busy. We stay outta here, and as long as you keep doin’ what you do, not lettin’ any monsters mess around here, I think that’ll be fine. Deal?”

Louie Lay seemed to draw himself up in his mild affront, while he snorted, “Never had any trouble taking care of my own manor.” Relaxing a little after delivering that boast, the milkman slowly nodded, “Fine, then. There's one condition, though. You have to come back here, after settling things with your squire, to tell me that all the details are taken care of. You, nobody else. That’ll be our agreement, aye?”

“Okay, mister, you’re on,” said a very relieved Faith, who then blinked at seeing the considering glance now being given to her by Louie.

Right after that, as if he’d just made a decision, this man strode towards the back of the park bench where Faith had been seated just minutes ago, all while reaching down with his left hand towards his milk carton in his other hand. Pulling free a full bottle from this carry box, Louie then reached over the backrest of the bench, to then gently place the glass container atop the seat. Pausing to give a bemused Faith an actual quirk of his lips, the eternal milkman informed the Slayer, “Yer looking a bit peaked. Try summat that’ll settle yer stomach.”

Faith stared at the milk bottle placidly resting on the park bench, before her gaze snapped up to look right at where Louie….wasn’t. Her mouth falling open, the Slayer wildly twisted her head back and forth, only to see nobody but herself in the entire park which was easily discernable in the early morning light. After several more moments of futiley trying to find a vanished milkman, Faith let out an exasperated growl, to then study once more the milk bottle presumably waiting for her to pick it up, its sides beginning to glisten with condensation.

Giving a baffled shrug of her shoulders, Faith stepped forward, until she stopped in front of the park bench and reached down to pick up the bottle. Bringing the glass container nearer to her face for a few moments’ wary examination, the Slayer finally said, “Oh, the hell with it. He coulda done somethin’ nasty to me already if he wanted to do that, anyways.” A quick twist of her fingers stripped off the paper cap from the mouth of the bottle, and after giving a cautious sniff that only brought to her nose the sweet smell of just-delivered milk, Faith drained the whole bottle in one gulp.

“Aahhhh!” sighed the woman, enjoying the cool taste and delicious sensations of what was now comfortably in her stomach, smacking her lips and feeling that the world was indeed a good place. As Faith beamed around at the deserted park, the Slayer was totally unaware that she now had on her face the largest milk mustache in the entire universe.

Author’s Note: The title of this story comes from the song given below:

Milkman, keep those bottles quiet
Can't use that jive on my milk diet
So milkman, keep those bottles quiet

Been jumpin' on the swing shift, all night
Turnin' out my quota all right
Now I'm beat right down to the sod
Gotta catch myself some righteous nod

Milkman stop that grade A riot
Cut out if you can't lullaby it
Oh, milkman, keep those bottles quiet

Been knocking out a fast tank, all day
Working on a bomber okay
Boy you blast my wig with those clinks
And I got to catch my forty winks
So milkman, keep those bottles quiet

Now noise of the riveter rocks, don't mind it
'Cause the man with the whiskers has a lot behind it
But I can't keep punchin' with the victory crew
When you're making me punchy with that bottled moo

I wanna give my all if I'm gonna give it
But I gotta get my shuteye if I'm gonna rivet
So bail out, bud, with that milk barrage
Cause it's unpatriotic, it's sabotage

Been knocking out a fast tank, all day
Working on a bomber okay
Boy, you blast my wig with those clinks
And I got to catch my forty winks
So milkman, keep those bottles quiet

Oooh, milkman, keep those bottles quiet
Oooh, milkman, keep those bottles quiet


From the film "Broadway Rhythm" (1944)
(Don Raye / Gene De Paul)

From Wikipedia:

“Edmund Wallace Hildick (1925–2001) was a prolific children's book author, who wrote under the name E. W. Hildick. He wrote, amongst others, the Ghost Squad, Jim Starling, Birdy Jones, Jack McGurk and Lemon Kelly series.


He was born in Bradford, England in 1925. After two years service in the RAF he became a secondary school teacher, then a writer, before moving to the United States to become editor of a literary magazine. He was one of the very few British juvenile authors of his generation to achieve success in America.
He started writing while he was a teacher in a Secondary Modern school at Dewsbury in the West Riding of Yorkshire in England, his intended audience being "tough, modern kids similar to the ones I teach". He died in London, England.”

Further Author Note: The above Wiki entry doesn’t mention the quartet of novels for young people that this author wrote about Louie Lay from 1968 to 1979: Louie’s Lot, Louie’s SOS, Louie’s Snowstorm, and Louie’s Ransom. In all four books, Hildick presents a very fascinating protagonist: somebody who gets on with their daily job without any fuss or bother, yet is clearly an expert at it in serving his customers while also being fiercely proud of his occupation. Though, anybody who actually told Louie this would be given a serious fisheye, while a moment later, this milkman would merely say in a no-nonsense tone, “Yer, what about it, then?”

I couldn’t resist crossing over a Buffyverse Louie with Faith, which resulted in this tale. Let’s see if it catches Jrabbit’s attention!

The following link below shows the cover art for that book, with a great picture of Louie Lay in the identical mood he showed during this story after telling Faith about his customer.'s_ransom

The End

You have reached the end of "Keep Those Bottles Quiet". This story is complete.

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