My Life A Bit South of Normal

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Characters

Ella and Rayanne were finishing their tea when the door to the Tea Room opened. In walked a lady and gentleman. "Never seen them before," said Rayanne quietly.

Ella paused. "The lady looks familiar." Ella continued looking at the pair. "If I'm not mistaken, that is the movie producer lady who was in town several months ago."

"Oh, I remember. She wanted to make a movie based on one of Terse's books."

"No, she wanted Terse to write the movie script. But, it wasn't going to be about one of his books. She just wanted him to write something for her."

"Now, I remember. She was connected to that reporter who came down here to interview Terse." She started to pull out her wallet.

"No, no, not now," said Ella almost in a whisper.

"You paid last time, it's my turn today."

"No, not that. We need have some more tea. I'm not ready to leave."

"Does this have anything to do with those 2 who justed walked in?"

"Maybe."

"Art Nome, Art Nome was the reporter. I think he was impressed with Gallagher."

"And, why do you think that?" Ella asked watching the pair being seated at a table close to them.

"Because she talked to everyone and kept saying we were 'unbelievable'."

"Rayanne, I don't think she meant that as a compliment."

"I wonder who the man is? If he's a movie star, I don't recognize him. And, I read People every week."

At the next table Barbara Birch and her director, Jerry, were ordering tea. "See. I didn't make this up. Jerry, this place is in its own little world."

"So far, I don't see anything but a small sleepy southern town."

"You wait. I tell you when Art came down here to interview Terse . . ."

“Barbara, I hope you didn’t drag me down here for nothing. You have been known to embellish things a bit.”

“Seriously, this is the real deal.”

“Yes, but so were the parents with their sextuplets. Remember what that turned out to be.”

Grice brought their order to table. As she set the plates down, she asked, “Is there anything else I can get you?”

Jerry and Barbara said ‘No’ and thanked her. With that Grice walked over to Ella and Rayanne, “Y’all need anything?”

“Some more tea would be nice,” replied Ella. Grice turned and went back to the kitchen.

Since they had started eating, Ella couldn’t hear what Barbara and Jerry were saying. But, it seemed to be very serious. Barbara was talking a lot more than Jerry.

It wasn’t long before Jerry excused himself to find the men’s room. He had just opened the door and stepped in when Barbara saw the Eldridge twins walk in. Each wearing pink cropped pants, white sensible shoes, floral sweaters, and wide brimmed sun hats. She turned back to see if Jerry was out of the men’s room. He wasn’t.  If he could just meet these twin ladies, Barbara could show him a prime example of what she was trying to tell him. 

Unfortunately, the ladies turned to leave. Just then Jerry returned to the table.  Barbara was excited. “See up front. Those 2 old ladies are dressed exactly alike.”

Barbara heard the bells on the door jingle as she turned . Looking at the hostess table, they only saw Caroline standing there talking on the phone. “What 2 ladies?”

“Well they were in here. They were up front talking to the hostess. I guess they just walked out.”

They talked quietly as they finished their meal. It wasn’t long before Barbara and Jerry paid their bill, stood up, and left the Tea Room. Once they were on the street, Jerry looked at Barbara. “Now what?”

“Well, I cannot remember where Terse lives, but I know who to ask.” She turned to the right and walked toward the Rental Agency. "Oh, and you cannot believe the manager there. Her name is 'Bunny'. She has blonde 'Dolly Parton' hair, wears skin tight clothes - usually in animal prints." Jerry followed behind. As they passed Millie's Cut and Curl, Jerry commented,"Let me guess, Millie is the hairdresser?"

"Who else would it be?"

On a lark Jerry stopped, "With a name like 'Curt and Curl' I've got to meet Millie."

Annoyed, Barbara told him how to get to the Rental Agency. She continued on. She had not gotten  very far when she ran into Ada Mae, who was hard to miss. She was wearing white 'Go Go' boots, a psychedelic  mini skirt that barely covered her rear end, with a macramae vest loosley hanging over a purple tie died t-shirt.

"Good morning," said Ada Mae.

Taken aback with Ada Mae's wardrobe, Barbara couldn't resist. "And, where are you going?"

Ada Mae stopped, pulled down her white rimmed sunglasses. "Jerry Garcia is in town and invited me to his pad. He is so groovy."

"Jerry Garcia is in town? Here?"

"Yeah, kinda cool huh?" She put her sunglasses back on. "Gotta run. Jerry's writing a song. He can't decide whether to name it 'Dark Star' or 'Dark Moon'. That's kinda fab, don't you think?" With that Ada Mae walked off.

Barbara found herself running into Millie's to get Jerry. "You gotta see this. There's a girl out there who thinks she is on her way to see Jerry Garcia." Realizing she had just interupted Millie and Jerry's conversation, she apologized, grabbed Jerry by the elbow and dragged him out of the shop. But Ada Mae was no where to be seen.

"Seriously? Here? Barbara you have issues. For one thing, Jerry Garcia has been dead for years." He shook his head. "Where is this 'rental agency'?"

"Jerry, I'm not making this up..
"Oh, I doubt you are - in your own mind."

"Just wait, there is a man who thinks he is a Colonel in the Confederate Army. He wears the uniform everyday. And, the brothel . . ." 

By then they had arrived at the agency. Della greeted them as they walked in. "I remember you. You're the lady who was here sometime back looking at Gallagher for a movie."

"Yes, Barbara Birch." She turned to Jerry. "This is Jerry, we work together."

"Welcome to Gallagher. How can we help?"

Barbara asked her how she could get in contact with Terse. Della replied, "Oh, I'm sorry he is out of town."

Just then Bunny walked out of her office. Her hair waas pulled back in a pony tail. She was wearing flat shoes, and a nice dress. Barbara was speachless. Jerry stepped up, "You must be Bunny. Barbara told me all about you."

"Well wasn't that sweet of her. We hope you came back to talk more about the movie."

They talked for a while. Jerry finally said, "It is so nice to get to meet you. Barbara, I have a plane to catch."

They apologized and walked out of the office. "What plane? We don't leave until Thursday. Where are you going?"

"Back to reality." He started walking toward the General Taylor Imperial, where they were staying. "You should try creative writing. Seems your imagination is getting the best of you."

Barbara just stood there, very upset that Jerry was disapointed. She decided she was going to stay around for a few days. As she made her way back to the motel, the Colonel passed her on his white horse, uniform and all. He tipped his hat, " 'Morning mam. It's a great day in Gallagher."

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