Friday night was busy at Dot's. Jeb, Kathleen, Bob, and Parker were at a table sharing tales of their past week. Terse and Vivian walked in and sat at the bar. Terse ordered a bourbon and ginger ale. Vivian ordered a Pinot Grigio, to which Terse commented "Seriously? I bring you to Gallagher's finest bar and you order wine. Look at the choices you have?" He pointed to the dozens of liquor bottles lining the shelves behind Ike.
"Right now, I'll stick to wine, thank you. The last time I drank liquor with someone on a first date, let's just say it didn't end well."
"Well technically this isn't our first date."
"Given this is the first time you called me up, asked me out on Friday, told me what time you would pick me up and where we were going - it's our first date." Vivian looked at Ike, "Right Ike?"
Ike continued wiping the bar, "Generally I don't get involved in such discussions, but in this case I think Miss Vivian has a point."
Terse laughed, took a sip of his drink and said,"In that case, I look forward to our 2nd date."
"If there is one," Vivian said with a wry smile.
Meanwhile Wade walked up to the bar and spoke to everyone. "Ike, I need a drink. It's just what the doctor ordered."
"Coming right up 'Mr. Wade'," Ike said as he reached under the bar and poured Wade 3 fingers of a clear liquid. "Ice?"
"No, I'll take it neat. Thanks Ike. He smiled, "Put it on my tab."
"Yes sir," Ike said knowing that Wade would tip him handsomely before the night was over.
Wade left the bar and moved over to a table where Sam and Della were sitting. They chatted for a while. Then Sam looked at Wade's drink,"What are you drinking? Something clear and neat, I've never seen you drink anything but single malt Scotch."
Wade laughed,"I'm venturing out in my old age. This is straight Vodka, good ol' Stoli."
"Maybe I should try that. I need to get out of my rut. I've been drinking beer for a while now. My poison of choice was gin, gin martinis."
Della laughed,"Shaken or stirred?"
"I didn't give a damn as long as it was good gin with just a smidge of vermouth."
Everyone at the table got a good laugh out of that one. They continued exchanging stories about their drinking experiences. Sam entertained them with raucous tales about stakeouts he had been on for bootleggers and searching for stills, while fighting coyotes, snakes, and mosquitoes.
A bit later Mike and Bunny walked in. Bunny was wearing stilettos, tight black pants, a leopard design camiesolle under a black sweater with a fluffy pink collar that resembled a small pink boa.
Needless to say she stood out among the patrons who were dressed in cotton sweaters, khaki pants, tweed, and wrinkled cotton shirts. By now, nothing Bunny wore surprised or offended most of the towns people. Oh, the old Gallagher folks may have wanted to shun her, however since she owned one of the nicest plantations around along with a trust to keep it up and her life taken care of, they could hardly be rude. Most of them were barely holding on to their homes. Those who were, found themselves struggling to keep it up without a house staff - which was long gone.
As they sat at the bar, Ike put a Mai Tai before Bunny before she even said anything. She smiled and thanked him. Mike ordered a draft bear. Terse reached over and shook his hand,"Damn, you look like you've seen a ghost."
They all laughed. By now everyone in town knew the details of what happened to Mike at Widow Barker's that day. "Don't even get me started on that. I never thought I'd get the blood off me."
Vivian looked serious. "It's a good thing you didn't get shot."
Mike laughed, "I'm still not sure why I was spared."
Bunny looked at everyone."Can we talk about something else? I just live that afternoon over and over on my head?"
Mike looked at her, "You weren't even there."
"I know, but still...."
Hollis and Mercer walked in, spoke to everyone and went to the bar. Hollis ordered for both of them, "This has been one Hell of a week. Ike, I need just what the doctor ordered. And, Mercer here will have the same thing."
Ike reached under the bar. Poured 2 drinks neat and set them before the men. They thanked him and went to sit down at a table. "You know I thought Mike might have been seeing things when he talked about "the floating white figure". However, after hearing the same thing from the guys in the wild game truck, there may be something to it," said Mercer.
Hollis sat there, leaned back in his chair, and took a sip of his drink,"Mercer, sounds like you got knocked in the head. I'm the one who deals with the dead folks. Don't you think if anyone were to see ghosts, it would be me?"
"Well you got a point there."
"What's the status on the Widow Barker?" inquired Hollis.
"Physically, I think she is fine. Her mental and emotional states are another issue. I need to call in professionals to help there. I am out of my league there." Mercer took a sip of his drink. "I would like to know about the ash on her night gown and the rips in it? Now, I'm not sure who can answer that."
"By 'professionals', do you mean board certified doctors of medicine specializing in mental health or someone having special powers and a crystal ball."
"I'm leaning toward the later."
Jeb walked past the doctor's table on the way to the bar. "Well, if it isn't Joseph Edward Beauregard the 3rd!", exclaimed Hollis. Jeb held his hand out to Hollis to shake it, and acknowledged Dr Magill. Hollis stood and shook Jeb's hand. "How's the family?"
"Doing well sir."
"You still haven't married that pretty little Kathleen?"
"No, sir. Not yet?"
Mercer added, "Son, don't tally 'round. Someone might just snatch her up?"
Jeb laughed laughed, and looked back at his table with Kathleen, Parker, and Bob sitting there.
"Not too worried about that right now."
The 3 men laughed and Jeb left them for the bar. There he found Mike, Bunny, Terse, and Vivian. He spoke to each of them and shook hands with Terse. "Back from the dead ol' boy. Glad you made it," Jeb said as he shook Mike's hand.
Bunny then introduced Vivian to Jeb. She just kept it simple telling him she was working as an accountant in the rental office and was a distant relative of the Wells family. Jeb nodded at Vivian, "Nice to meet you."
"Seriously Mike," Jeb continued, "I heard you about got shot."
Mike blushed a little. "The Widow Barker just pointed her gun at me, she didn't shoot me."
"And the blood, where did that come from?"
"We are not really sure. Seriously guys, I don't think we need to talk about this any more."
Jeb ordered his drinks and returned to his table. He told them about his conversation with Mike. He's pretty shaken up?"
Kathleen added,"Well wouldn't you be if a bat shit crazy women aimed a shot gun at you, you saw a floating figure in white, then awake covered in blood with no idea how that happened."
Bob laughed, "And, just how do you know so much about the incident Miss Kathleen?"
"Well, my Mama heard it from Marybell, our house keeper, who heard it from Jesse, the yard man for the Sheriff and his wife," explained Kathleen.
"Wow, that's amazing, I'm impressed," said Parker.
"But just how did the yard man hear it?" asked Bob.
"Seems the Sheriff and his wife were having lunch and he was telling her all about what happened?" answered Kathleen. "There's more if you want to hear it?"
"Do tell!" asked Bob.
"Well there was something said about blood everywhere and bodies of dead deer."
"Whoa", exclaimed Parker. "I had no idea!"
"And the Widow screaming like a raging witch."
"You're making this up," said Jeb.
"Trust me, I'm not. I failed creative writing in college."
"You know, no kidding, this sounds like the Sheriff needs someone who practices Voodoo and can rid the evil of this situation and see back into the past and into the future," said Parker.
"And who exactly would that be?" asked Bob.
"My mother's sister. Everyone thinks she is bat shit crazy, but I have always been amazed at some things she has done," Parker took a sip of his drink."Not that I get to see her that often. Put it this way, I would not want to piss her off."
Everyone at the table laughed. "It's your turn to get the drinks," Jeb said to Parker. "My glass is empty." With that Jeb turned his glass upside down to make his case.
Parker stopped by the doctors table on his way to the bar, obviously, a bit tipsy from 3 drinks. "Dr. McGill, I've been thinking. Maybe you need special help with your case dealing with the Widow Barker. We've been discussing it back there," he pointed toward his table, "I know just the person."
Mercer laughed, "and just who would that be?"
"My Aunt Reeza, she works with good and evil."
"And where does Aunt Reeza live?"
"Back in the Bayou?"
"Well son, that may be just what the doctor ordered."