My Life A Bit South of Normal

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Enough Tragedy, Sam Returns, and The Columns

After leaving Anna Belle's, Sergeant Brown and the Detective made their way to the Sheriff's station. The Sheriff explained to them that he had contacted the Montgomery Police Department when they realized the the AFID from the taser tied it to the MPD. That was the first time they learned that Miranda Davidson was really Miranda Davis and that she was formally a policewomen in Montgomery.

"Did they tell you the details of her dismissal?"

"Yes, they did." Sheriff Quitman said. He looked at Mike, then looked at the Sergeant, "Let's talk. We have the unfortunate deaths of an obviously troubled young lady and one of our town citizens. Both are gone. Nothing will bring either of them back. As far as I am concerned, there is no need to stir anything up here, no need to cause collateral damage. There has been enough tragedy. You agree?"

Sergeant Brown looked at the Sheriff for a second or 2, then said, "Fair enough. I just want to find out what happened so I can close this case."

"Well this what I know." The Sheriff explained about Madison being found dead in his car and then the mortician finding the taser marks. That they had the mortician search for and collect any AFIDs he could find on the body and the decedent's clothes. The Sheriff and Mike had gone back and could only find a few AFIDs in the car, leading them to think Madison wasn't killed in his car.

"When we checked the AFID system and the learned where the weapon came from, it all began to fall in place. Our coroner was looking over the case and recognized Miranda's name. That led us to Anna Belle. After telling her about Miranda, her background, and the taser, she agreed to check Miranda's room."

"And she found the taser," added the Sergeant.

"Hidden under the bed."

"Any AFIDs there?"

"None, she could see," the Sheriff stretched the truth a bit. He added, "We still do not have Miranda together with Madison where she could have killed him. The only motive we have is her vile hatred of men."

"If that's the case, you have told me everything I need to know. I only ask for one thing."

"Certainly."

"If you learn more details about Mr. Marlboro's death or there is any other death that can possibly be traced back to Ms. Davis, let me know. I hope we do not have a serial killer here."

"Fair enough."

"Also, tell Mrs. Vontese that we appreciate her help, and I do not think it will be necessary to speak with her again."

The men exchanged a few words and the Sergeant and the Detective left.

The following morning Sam walked in the Rental Agency. Della did not know whether to laugh or cry. He told her that he was back. His assignment was over. Sam said he had errands to run and things to do around the house, but he would pick her up after work. Bunny insisted Della take the day off. 

"Gee, we have missed you so much. Not nearly as much as Della." Bunny turned to Della who was beaming. "And you are the most romantic man in the world."

"Really, and why is that - the fact that I left or that I came back," Sam laughed.

"No, the roses. That was so sweet. Della swore they were not from you, but we knew they were. We knew you were thinking of her."

Sam just stood there. He looked at Bunny. Then he looked at Della. Finally he said, "I can assure you I was thinking about Della everyday and while I would love to take credit, I did not send any roses."

"You did not send Della a single rose every day or so while you were gone?"

"Nope, I'm afraid it wasn't me. I must have some competition. Good thing I came home."

They all laughed. Della and Sam walked out. Vivian looked at Bunny. "You know she told you all along that they weren't from Sam." 

"Well never mind that, I'm going to have a party to welcome Sam home."

"Not a wedding shower?" laughed Vivian.

"No," laughed Bunny. "Not a wedding shower. "I learned my lesson. Just a good  ol' fashioned BBQ. I'll get Mike to cook something on the grill. This will be great fun. I haven't had folks out in a while."

Meanwhile Dixie finally found a venue for the wedding. It was not ideal, but given her situation it would do. A business man had bought a piece of land half way between Mobile and Gallagher. He built a large white 'Plantation' style house on it, complete with large columns. He had the grounds landscaped with a nice wide lawn, a pond, and picturesque bridge, obviously built for pictures.

One of the negatives with "The Columns" was that they required one use their caterer. For a $500 fee one was 'welcome' to bring in their own wedding cake in lieu of having the inhouse baker prepare one for you. There were 2 weddings hosted there every day. Therefore one had to choose a late morning or late afternoon time. Dixie decided on an afternoon wedding. However the 6pm time she had chosen for the wedding would require everyone to be off the grounds by 10 pm. Perhaps an earlier time that afternoon should be considered, she thought.

'The Columns' was not inexpensive. In fact by the time one chose from the a la carte menu of available (and necessary) services it was more pricey than the much more exclusive Chateau Belmont. She knew Harrell was not going to be thrilled but he would get over it. (Dixie knew he had the money.) After sitting down with the Wedding Coordinator, she was able to get an idea of the cost of services they offered:

  • Venue Price                10,000
  • Photographer               2,500
  • Videographer               1,700
  • Food                          14,400
  • Cake Fee                        500
  • Open Bar                   18,000
  • Champagne                    400
  • Chairs @ $1 each           400
  • Valet (3 men @ $20 per Hr)
    • $1 per car              1,000
      • Total of         48,900
Then she would need to add the expenses of the other items and services not included or handled by the venue:

  • Band                            3,500
  • Flowers                        3,000
  • Kathleen's Dress          5,000
  • Invitations                       700
  • Chrysalis                      1,400
  • Wedding Cake              1,000
      • Total              14,600
Even Dixie winced when she totalled it up. $63,500 for the reception and this was before the 18% gratuity on the food and drink. Looking over the list, she knew she had underestimated the open bar. Also, in order to have decent champagne, she had limited the number of bottles. Who could drink cheap champagne anyway?

As she prepared to finalize everything, the wedding coordinator asked, "And when will we meet the Bride?"

"Oh, she is so busy. It may not be until the day of the wedding." Dixie said with a smile.

"Mrs. Quinton, I'm afraid that will not do. At The Columns we have a policy of not accepting a contract for a wedding until we have met the Bride and are sure she is satisfied with the venue and setup."

"But, that may not be possible."

"Mrs. Quinton, I'm very sorry, but that is our policy. We need to meet with her within the next 10 days or you will lose the reserved date."

Dixie realized there was no getting around this. "Well if you say so. I'll see when she can come over. But, I know she will be be thrilled. She and I always agree on things like this."

The wedding coordinator looked at Dixie and smiled,"Yes, mam, I am sure you do." 

They exchanged pleasantries and Dixie left.

The wedding coordinator watched Dixie walk to her car. She thought to herself, 'Why do all Mothers of the Brides insist that they can speak for their Daughters? It had only taken 2 melt downs by Brides on their wedding day at the venue due to polar opposite ideas of the 'perfect' wedding with their Mothers for The Columns to implement the policy. One Mother-Daughter situation was so bad that there was blood shed, the police were called, and the family was billed $10,000 for damage to the facility.' 

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