Take a small town in southern Alabama, and a young lady, just slightly out of step. Add gnarly family trees, entrenched traditions, and everyone living with skeletons in their closets - welcome to Gallagher. There one will find an extraordinary cast of insane characters. And, it could only happen in the South.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Oh God, Not Again, Why Me?

At Anna Belle's, things moved along with little fanfare. Winfred Walker (aka Sara) had found herself spending more time with Clark (DC) Butler. Sara was very popular with members, but she always gave DC priority. The Colonel had started traveling with the Alabama Historical and Reenactment Board. He was gone for a week or 2 at the time, spreading the past of Alabama around the state to garden clubs, assisted living home, Rotary Clubs - anyone willing to listen to him.

The Colonel's absence gave Winfred even more time at the club. She was making a good bit of money. Most of it was in cash, tips from satisfied members. Anna Belle made sure the amounts due each girl from the men's monthly accounts were given to each girl as a 'salary check'. This way the women were showing an earned salary that allowed state and federal with holdings.

Should anyone ask about a 'salary' or one need to produce evidence of a paying job, it was all there. Well, at least half of what they were bringing home. But, the federal government did not need to know everything. After all, Alabama was the third state to join South Carolina in secession from the Union espousing state's rights.

Things got very busy at Anna Belle's late into the night and the wee hours of the morning. It was normally only then when the men could either leave their house after their wives were asleep or 'justify' a short errand or meeting. Making things much easier for them, 5 or 6 of the men formed their own 'Club'. The only purpose of which was being able to schedule meetings. The 'Club' met every Thursday evening. This gave each 'member' a legitimate reason to be out of the house every Thursday just after supper. The members referred to Anna Belle's as the 'club house' or 'meeting room'.

It was Wednesday night and there were 6 or 7 men at Anna Belle's. Being early in the evening this was a pretty normal . 'DC' (aka Clark Butler) walked in and spoke to the men in the game room. As he approached the bar, Anna Belle joined him. "Do you need me to make sure 'Sara' (aka Winfred) knows you are here?"  DC told her that would not be necessary as he had just phoned her.

Anna Belle shook her head with a smile. "Now Clark, you realize you are taking up quite a bit of my best girl's time."

"I agree. She is one of your best but what she offers me is more than 30 minutes of a good time."

"I can imagine. Anyone else and I would take pause, but with you it is different." She wished him a good evening and walked away. DC watched Anna Belle as she walked from the bar into the game room. She was an amazing woman. He wondered if she was still as talented in bed as she had been years ago. Anna Belle had an 'expertise' that DC knew few women possessed. He smiled to himself, picked up his neat glass of Scotch, and headed toward the kitchen and the back stairway.

Sara and DC were in her sitting area talking. It was about 10:30 when there was a knock on Sara's door. She opened it to see Miranda standing there. The girl was almost hysterical but whispering. "I need help."  

Immediately Sara asked, "What in the world?" 

"Sara, I need help. I think he is dead."

"He, who?" Sara asked trying to calm Miranda down.

"Madison! He was fine and suddenly he just gave a small groan and his  body went limp." For the first time, Miranda realized that DC was in the room. She quickly closed the open robe she had thrown on, covering up her bright red bustier and  garters. "Oh, I am so sorry, I did not mean to interrupt you."

Clark was on his feet. "Madison Marlboro? Is he in your room?"

"Yes," Miranda said, trying to be calm. She walked out into the hall, looked both ways to make sure the hall was clear. Sara and DC followed her. As they entered her room, which was next to Sara's, DC was taken a little back. He knew there were men who were 'into' S&M, but he had never seen such apparatus. 

The mirror on the ceiling gave the room a certain odd dimension. On Miranda's bed, Madison Marlboro was buck naked, tied up with silk handkerchiefs. He was dead, there was no doubt about that.  DC walked up to the body on the bed and checked his pulse. "I'm afraid he is dead."

"Oh, God," Miranda quietly gasped with her hand in front of her mouth. "Not again? Why me? I didn't kill him, he just died."

As Sara tried to calm Miranda, she looked over the shaking body she was holding. "DC, please go down and get Anna Belle. Make sure no one thinks anything is amiss."

In no time Anna Belle was in the room. She looked at the bed and then at Miranda, who was quietly sobbing. "Clark, go get Wade. He is in the bar. Tell him I need him up here. For God's sake don't make a fuss."

DC left in search of Wade. Anna Belle turned to Miranda. "Sweetheart, tell me what happened?"

"Nothing happened. I did not do anything. I promise." The girl was crying so hard, she could barely speak. "Why does it happen to me? Why me?"

Anna Belle gave her a warm hug and said, "We will take care of this. We can talk later. You need to stay calm. You must remember to act like everything is OK."

Miranda looked at Anna Belle and smiled weakly. "What am I going to do now?"

"We are going to take care of this. You need to go through your room. Make sure there is nothing of his left in here."

Wade and Clark walked back in. Wade looked at Madison's dead body on the bed and then at Miranda. "Jesus Christ! Deja vu all over again."

Anna Belle quietly asked, "Wade can you and Clark take care of this?"

Wade told her he could. Clark and Wade discussed how they were going to do this. While they were untying the body from the bed and locating his clothes, Anna Belle went downstairs. In a few minutes she came back up. Miranda, if anyone asked, I am going to tell them you were under the weather this evening." She paused. "I have already taken any reference to the 2 of you tonight off the books. Since the den is full, chances are no one will notice Madison gone."

Wade added, "For all they know, he left hours ago." He turned to Anna Belle, "Do you happen to know where his car is? I think he drives that old blue BMW."

Anna Belle said,"No, but I'll find out." She  quickly walked out of the room.

Miranda had gathered Madison's clothes. Then, together, the 3 of dressed him as best they could.

Getting a strong whiff of alcohol, Wade said, "Whew, I guess Madison was off the wagon given the liquor I smell." He turned to Miranda, "Was he drinking? Or rather how much was he drinking."

"He didn't have a drink while I was with him. I cannot say about anytime before."

Clark was walking around the room gathering Madison's personal items. "I've got his wallet and his glasses, do you have his keys?"

Wade turned around, "No, I don't." He checked Madison's pockets. "They are not on him." He paused,"Great!" he said sarcastically. "We need to find them." Clark, Amanda, and Wade started searching through the room. No keys. "Well, this makes things a bit more interesting," said Wade.

Just then, Anna Belle slipped back into the room. "There is a BMW parked in front of the house. I'm pretty sure it is his." She held up a key ring with 2 keys on it, one of them having the BMW logo. "Dickson took these from Madison when he ordered his first drink. He said Mr. Marlboro had no business driving in his condition."

Wade thrilled to see the keys, thought for a moment."OK, since the bartender took his keys because he was in no shape to drive, we'll run with that story." He turned to Clark, "We just need to figure out how we are going to get him out of here."

"What about his car?" asked Clark.

"One of us will need to move it," Wade paused, "without anyone seeing us. We'll deal with that later."

"I fear the answer, but I get the feeling you have experience with this?"

"Surreptitiously moving someone elses car or dealing with a dead body?"

Wade was lifting Madison to see how heavy he was. Without turning toward Clark, answered, "Both." He paused as he put the body back down on the bed. "Let's just say this isn't my  first time."

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