Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Deal They Cannot Refuse

Terse took Bunny to lunch that afternoon. Just months earlier Bunny would have been beside herself that he had asked her out. She still found him extremely good looking and charming. However, in the past month or two her life had taken so many turns that she realized she and Terse were not meant to be. Now just the idea of a good friendship was wonderful.

They found a booth at the Starlight and sat down. Terse started,”Bunny, I know I have not been very nice to you. I want you to know it wasn’t anything personal. For the past year or so, I have been tied up with my writing. Often I found myself feeling extremely guilty about the way I treated people and how I hid in my place just writing.”

Bunny laughed,”I think it was worth it, don’t you? After all, you put out a best seller.”

“Well there is that. I still  find it hard to believe that my book has been that popular.”

Their food came. Bunny took a sip of her tea. “How is the second one coming along.”

Terse was munching on his French fries. “ Not as hard as I thought it was going to be. In fact I have the plot lines and characters in my mind for the next two.”

“That’s impressive. I have problems writing a letter.”

“Bunny, don’t sell yourself short.” He took a bite of his burger and wiped his mouth with his napkin. “There is a lot more to you than you give yourself credit. I'm not sure what Wade would do without you." He smiled, then he remembered, "By the way, what is the story on Vivian?’

“Well, which version do you want to hear?”

“How many are there?”

Bunny hesitated, “Terse, you know how your family and my family have those skeletons in the closet?”

“I can only speak for the skeletons I know. No doubt there are closets I am not even aware of.”

“Uh yeah, there is that,” Bunny laughed. “Vivian and I talked the other day. One of her parents was from the ‘Wells’ family here. Shortly after her birth they were killed in a car crash. Her relatives took her in but she was moved from home to home. Throughout her life, Vivian was told about the family in Gallagher. She said she never felt like she had roots, except here in Gallagher.”

“Was she married?”

“No? Why do you ask?”

“Well, the 3 children.”

“Oh, that’s another part of her story. She had one cousin she was very fond of. When he and his wife were killed in an automobile accident, Vivian felt like she owed it to him to raise his children. She could relate to them in a way given what happened to her parents.”

“Wow?”, Terse said as he leaned back in his chair. “That is dedication.”

“It is.”

“So, let’s hear the 2nd version.”

Bunny heisitated. “Terse, I’m going to share this with you only because of our family’s past history. Vivian does not know this yet and I do not want her to hear it on the street.”

“Fair enough.”

Bunny told him the tale of Tula, her father, and their ‘love child’. When she finished, Terse laughed, “You cannot make this shit up.”

“No, and needless to say, Tula is not real happy that Vivian has shown up.” Bunny smiled, “Neither is my mama for that matter.”

“I can only imagine.”

“Terse, are you interested in Vivian?”

“Maybe.”

“Well, she's cute and sweet. And you are not the first to ask me about her.”

They had just finished catching up on life when Mike walked in the front door. Bunny called him over. “Come sit with us.”

Mike walked over to the table. Terse stood up and shook his hand. Mike said,”Well, well, well, if it’s not the town celebrity.”

“I wouldn’t say that. It's hard to compete with Colonel Walker and his costumes.”

Mike laughed,”Well there is that. Speaking of the Colonel, I have a great story.”

Bunny brightened up, “Did they find General Kirby?”

“They did.”

Terse said, “Sit down and have lunch with us.”

Mike thanked him and the 3 of them sat down. The waitress came over and got Mike’s order.

Bunny asked, “OK, what did they find?”

Mike skipped the jars of money since that did not have anything to do with General Kirby. “The good news is that the Colonel found General Kirby.”

“And the bad news?” asked Terse.

“There were no artifacts in the grave.”

“Artifacts? What did he expect to find, his gun and sword?”

Mike laughed,”That would have been nice. But the Colonel would have been pleased with buttons or a buckle or even a few patches of cloth.”

Bunny laughed,”There was nothing there? It had all rotted with the body?”

“Well, according to the Colonel, even in graves where there was no box or coffin, there should have been some patches of cloth, much less buttons and buckles from his uniform and boots.”

Terse just howled,”So the General was buried buck naked, huh?”

“Seems the case. Appearantly when he fled the lady’s bed chamber, he left a very delicate situation in haste, taking no time to grab his clothes.”

“What a story!” said Bunny.

“What an exhibit!” exclaimed Terse.

While Mike was having lunch with Terse and Bunny, the Sheriff had called Sam down to the station to discuss the Eldridge case. Sam suggested that finally this may be their break into the bootlegging network if they offered the twin sisters a plea bargain. If they turned state’s witnesses, they could get off with probation.

There was much discussion of whether the twins would take the offer or not. The Sheriff doubted they would. Sam was convinced otherwise. “I think they will. What do they have to lose?”

“They are pretty stubborn old birds.”

The Sheriff called the judge to get the offer approved. Then he called Mr. Todd to extend the offer. The Sheriff gave the attorney 24 hours to discuss the offer with his clients and get back to him with their answer.

When the Sheriff got off the phone he went back to tell Sam where they stood. Sam asked,”By the way, how much cash was there?”

“$467,824 in small bills.”

“Any idea what they charged for their hooch?”

“Not yet. Hopefully, we’ll learn all those details when they accept our offer.”

“Well, hopefully we’ll catch some of their handy work going across the state line. There is a group out there we have known about for a while, but never have been able to infiltrate.”

It wasn’t long before the Sheriff’s phone rang. It was Mr. Todd. He and the Sheriff discussed a few things. Then they rang off. The Sheriff returned to Sam. “Well, I’m not sure what that meant. That was Mr. Todd. He talked with his clients and they are interested in the offer but have some logistical questions they want to discuss.”

“Discuss?” asked Sam. “Since when do we ‘discuss’ these details with defendants.”

“When we really need their help.”

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