My Life A Bit South of Normal

Sunday, February 4, 2018

I'll See You in the Movies

Meanwhile over at Vivian's, Tula was holding court. It wasn't a pretty sight.

There was a scream. That was when Mike stormed in, gun drawn. He did not know what to expect. Having never heard Vivian scream, it could have been Tula.

Mike burst through the door. "Don't move."

As he stood there with gun drawn, he surveyed the room. Vivian was on the sofa with a look of shock on her face. He heard another shot and swung around. Then he realized, the sounds were coming from a police detective show an Vivian's TV. He turned to see Vivian laughing.

"Did you really think someone was shooting a gun in here?"

"Yes, you would have too, if you heard what I did on the porch." He started laughing as well. Then he stopped, he had totally forgotten about Tula. "Where's Tula?"

"Gone, thank God. We had an argument about how vain she was."

Mike shook his head,"No offense, but she's the poster child for vanity." He explained that he had learned Tula was coming to Vivian's house. They had not been able to find her to arrest her."

"Sorry," Vivian said still laughing.

"Do you need anything?"

"No, but thanks anyway." They exchanged pleasantries and Mike left.

He called the Sheriff and told him that he had missed Tula. He failed to add the dramatic details of his entrance.

On his way back to the station he saw Colonel Walker on his horse, in full Confederate regalia. It wasn't unusual to see the Colonel in town, but Mike had not seen him astride his trusty steed in a while. As he made his way down the street, he saw a lady he did not recognize, trying to get his attention.

Mike parked his car and got out. "Yes mam, how can I help you?"

It was at that time that the Colonel passed. He lifted his hat and bowed his head a bit in recognition of the lady. She stared for a second then turned back to Mike. "That would be the Colonel?"

"Yes mam.

"Well you must be the young deputy. She turned, looked down the street. And there's the Starlight Cafe," she said pointing toward the cafe."

"Yes mam," Mike smiled,"I don't think I know you. But you seem to know quite a lot about us."

The lady extended her hand,"Barbara Birch."

Mike shook it, "Mike Pace."

Barbara turned her head to survey the street scene."It is exactly like it was described."

"By who?"

"Art Nome, in the article he wrote in the New York Magazine. I knew Art said 'quaint', but this is more than even I expected."

"You came to visit just to see the real thing?"

"Not exactly. I came here to see if there was really a movie here."

"You have to drive to Mobile for a picture show."

Barbara laughed and turned to face Mike,"No, to make a movie - a movie about this town. I need to speak with the head of the Chamber of Commerce."

"Well, mam, if you go out Oak Street here," he pointed down the street, "and take a left, it will put you on the highway. Mobile is about a 2 hour drive."

"No, I mean the Chamber of Commerce here, in Gallagher."

"Mam, we do not have a Chamber of Commerce."

"Well who do I speak to about possibly making a movie?"

Mike thought for a second. "You need to talk to Walter at the Starlight Cafe".

"Thank you for your help."

"You're more than welcome."

Barbara turned toward the Star Light Cafe.  As Mike got in his car, he noticed the Eldridge twins walking on the sidewalk toward Miss Birch. As usual, the 70 something year old women were dressed exactly alike. Mike shook his head. "I wonder what Mr. Nome really wrote about us. I guess I need to read that article."

Bunny was meeting Mike for lunch at the Starlight Cafe. Since it was around noon, when they arrived, there was quite a crowd there for lunch. Bunny found a table while Mike walked up to the counter to order their lunch.

Walter was doing 3 or 4 things at once, balancing several plates that he was giving to Mae to be served. "Hey Mike."


"Walter, can we get 2 of your burgers and fries. Don't worry Mae when they are ready, just holler. We're sitting over there." Mike pointed toward Bunny sitting at their table.

Mike slipped behind the counter and poured 2 glasses of sweet tea. He made his way through the crowded room. This was one disadvantage of living in a small town - everyone always wanted to be friendly and speak. 

Finally he reached the table, handed Bunny her ice tea and sat down.  They  discussed supper plans for that evening.

Bunny smiled,"Just come out to Ivy Lane, I'll fix dinner."

Mike laughed, "I'll make you a deal - you can host me at Ivy Lane and I'll bring supper."

"You are so sweet. Are you sure you have time?"

"I'll be there, say around 7." Mike was a bit tired of eating Spam. Who knew the potted meat could be prepared in so many ways. But, he knew if he said anything, it would hurt her feelings.

At the next table there was a lively conversation going on. Mike turned to see 'Miss' Ella and Rayanne laughing about something, no doubt a private joke. Walter yelled that their food was ready. Bunny stood up and said."I'll get them."

As Mike watched her make her way through the tables filled with diners, something caught his attention. He leaned back in his chair so he could hear more.

Ella was saying, ". . . that was so much fun."

Rayanne agreed. "He is such nice young man. His mother had to be proud of him."

Ella took a fork and started eating her chicken salad. Rayanne continued, "He's kinda mysterious don't you think - not wanting anyone to know who bought the place?"

Ella wiped her mouth with her napkin,"I'm sure he has his reasons."

Rayanne took a drink of her ice tea and put her glass down. "Don't you think it's odd for someone to keep a gate locked, like he does? And where did get he get his money come from. It must be costing him a fortune to restore the place?"

Ella held a fork full of chicken salad in the air as she started to put it in her mouth. She put the fork down and said,"Rayanne, he comes from money. You know his mother had that small fortune. And, he didn't lose it in a scam with an African Prince," 

Rayanne laughed. She paused,"That was such a shame, for that to happen to Cre Uisce Aer. And, Faolan Fitzgerald never got any of it back. Bless his heart."

By this time Bunny was back with their burgers. She put the plate down and started talking about Lue Ellen. "I just ran into her. I haven't seen her in a while. She says she has been taking a correspondence course on making macrame koozies at home." Bunny kept going, chatting quickly about Lue Ellen's plans."

At the same time, Mike was trying to listen to the lady's conversation. He put some salt on his French fries. "Mike Pace -are you even listening to me?" Bunny said.

"Of course I'm listening to you. I'm just looking forward to eating this burger. I'm starved." With that he took a bite. Hopefully, she would get into her burger.

Meanwhile he was trying to listen to Ella and Rayanne's. Bunny's interruption made him miss part of the conversation. Ella spoke,"Don't you think it was odd that he didn't even ask about his cousins?"

"That struck me as odd also." Rayanne took a bite of her pimento cheese sandwich. It was a small bite and did not slow her up her comments to Ella.

"Well, also I want to know who this Hugh McKissick is? I found it quite curious he only only asked about him, no body else. And who has heard of this McKissick. Gallagher is only so big, and I've never seen or heard tale of him before."

Their conversation moved onto to Jeb and Kathleen's wedding. Mike had no interest in the wedding, but was very interested in their comments about Hugh McKissick. He heard Bunny say,"Are you sure, you are OK. You are just staring into air."

"Sweetheart, I'm not just staring, I'm thinking about dinner with you tonight."

That seemed to satisfy her and she continued eating her French Fries. Mike debated what to do. This was the first he had heard anyone say anything about McKissick. When he and Bunny had finished, Mike left a couple bucks on the table for Mae. They stood up and started to leave. Mike stopped at Ella and Rayanne's table.

"It's so nice to see you," Mike asked.

"Where have you been keeping yourself," Ella asked, "I never see you about."

Mike smiled, "Well between the Sheriff and 'Miss' Bunny here, I don't have a lot of time."

Bunny walked up.  She and Ella exchanged pleasantries.

" 'Miss' Ella, I was not paying attention to y'alls conversation. In this noisy, crowd it would be hard to.  He paused."But, I heard you mention Hugh McKissick. Do you happen to know him?"

"Not at all, which we find a bit curious."  Rayanne realized that she should not have mentioned his name. It was going to be hard to explain what they heard without telling who they heard it from. She took a sip of tea, to give her time to think.

Ella chimed in,"Someone just mentioned the name out of the blue a day or two ago."

"May I ask where?" Mike asked trying not to sound too interested.

Rayanne quickly said, "I think we were at the Tea House."

Ella added,"It was a large crowd. And I do not remember exactly who said it."

"I think it was later in the afternoon." Rayanne smiled. "You know they now serve adult beverages." She giggled, "We can be a lively bunch when they offer us wine."

Mike looked as if he was shocked, "Now, I know that you and "Miss" Ella would never partake in something like that? I am just astounded."

Everyone laughed. Mike put his hand on Rayanne's shoulder. "It's nice to see you ladies, as always." They said their goodbyes and let the cafe.

"Why were they talking about Hugh McKissick?" asked Bunny.

"I don't know, but I need to find out."

 Bunny looked at Mike with a very stern look. Trying to be serious, "Well, Mike, sweetheart, you may just have to join the ladies one afternoon for their little tipple time?"

Mike just shook his head, "And, that would start a whole 'nuther thing for them to talk about." He paused, "But, I can only imagine how entertaining that would be."

Bunny laughed, "No doubt."

Their conversation moved onto to Jeb and Kathleen's wedding. Mike had no interest in the wedding, but was very interested in their comments about Hugh McKissick. He heard Bunny say,"Are you sure, you are OK. You are just staring into air." 
"Sweetheart, I'm not just staring, I'm thinking about dinner with you tonight."

That seemed to satisfy her and she continued eating her French Fries. Mike debated what to do. This was the first he had heard anyone say anything about McKissick. When they had finished, Mike left a couple bucks on the table for Mae. They stood up and started to leave. Mike stopped at Ella and Rayanne's table.

"It's so nice to see you," Mike asked.

"Where have you been keeping yourself," Ella asked,"I never see you about."

Mike smiled, "Well between the Sheriff and 'Miss' Bunny here, I don't have a lot of time."

Bunny walked up.  She and Ella exchanged pleasantries.

" 'Miss' Ella, I was not paying attention to y'alls conversation. In this noisy, crowd it would be hard to.  He paused."But, I heard you mention Hugh McKissick, do you know him?"

"Not at all, which we find a bit curious."  Rayanne realized that she should not have mentioned his name. It was going to be hard to explain what they heard without telling who they heard it from. She took a sip of tea, to give her time to think.

Ella chimed in,"Someone just mentioned the name out of the blue a day or two ago."

"May I ask where?" Mike asked trying not to sound too interested.

Rayanne quickly said, "I think we were at the Tea House."

Ella added,"It was a large crowd. And I do not remember exactly who said it."

"I think it was later in the afternoon." Rayanne smiled. "You know they now serve adult beverages." She giggled, "We can be a lively bunch when they offer us wine."

Mike looked as if he was shocked,"Now, I know that you and "Miss" Ella would never partake in something like that? I am just astounded."

Everyone laughed. Mike put his hand on Rayanne's shoulder. "It's nice to see you ladies, as always."

They said their goodbyes and let the cafe.

"Why were they talking about Hugh McKissick?" asked Bunny.

"I don't know, but I need to find out."

Bunny looked at Mike with a very stern look. Trying to be serious, "Well, Mike, sweetheart, you may just have to join the ladies one afternoon for their little tipple time?"

Mike just shook his head, "And, that would start a whole 'nuther thing for them to talk about." He paused,"But, I can only imagine how entertaining that would be."

Bunny laughed, "No doubt."

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