My Life A Bit South of Normal

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Boone's Farm and a Bowler

Bunny was in the kitchen when she stopped running. Mike had reached the butler's pantry and opened the door. There was no point her going any further. Bunny stood back, waiting for the shit to hit the fan. 

"Here they are," Mike said calmly. "Mary Wells had the best selection of wine glasses - all fine thin crystal. Can you please carry these 2 and I'll take the other 2."

Before she knew it, Mike and Walter were in the kitchen. "You okay honey?" asked Mike. 

Trying to think quickly, she just said, "I thought I may have left the oven on and wanted to check." Since she had just prepared a green mixed salad and cold macaroni, hopefully no one would pay attention to those details.

As soon as she knew Mike and Walter were back on the porch, she opened the door to the butler's pantry. Standing there was Pervis. "Did they see you?"

"No, I didn't want to get shot. Mother would be most disappointed."

The last thing Bunny was worried about was 'Mother'. Looking around the small room she saw no where for him to hide. However, that was not the issue at the time. "I need you to leave - very quietly. You are lucky my husband didn't find you."

Bunny walked out of the pantry with Pervis behind her. She looked both ways. Not seeing anyone, she quietly said, "Now scoot." She pointed toward the kitchen.

Bunny took a deep breath and made it back to the table on the porch. As she sat down Walter asked, "Bunny, please explain to me how I am drinking a 2016 Chateau Margaux. This is some of the finest wine I have ever had." He sipped it very slowly knowing Mike had just opened a bottle of wine that retailed for over $500.

"Well, all I know is that it is red. I really like a sweet pink Chablis, not the reds everyone else wants. Heck, I still like Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. Now that is some good stuff." 

Mike just shook his head. He poured more wine into Walter's goblet and added, "To answer your question Pops - 2 words: Harrison Wells." He put the bottle down. "Bunny inherited it."

"Well, do tell, there must be a story here."

Bunny explained her relationship with Harrison. 

"So this," Walter said, waving his hand around, "was all his?"

"It was."

"He didn't have any family?"

"Oh, he did. And I'm not very popular with them."

"I guess not."

"Pops you want to see Harrison's wine cellar?" asked Mike.

"Do you mind Bunny?"

"Of course not, it is Mike's as much as mine." She laughed. "Harrison had been building his wine collection for years. The first time he mentioned his collection, and said he wanted to show me his cellar, I thought he was talking about a 'root' cellar.  Then when we went down there, it looked fancy, but I couldn't read most the labels. I do know something though - whoever Mr. Rothschild is, he must sure make good wine." 

They all laughed. Walter added, "Yes, my dear, he did make fine wine."

"But none before its time, I can add," Mike said.

Everyone laughed at Mike's take on Orson Wells' infamous comment about Paul Mason. Every one but Bunny.

"So true it is." laughed Walter.

They finished their dinner. Afterwards Bunny was in the kitchen cleaning up. Walter brought the dirty plates in from the porch. "Bunny, I just want to tell you how happy you make Mike. And, that means the world to me. He had a rough shake as a little boy."

"Oh Walter, I adore him. After Harrison's death I thought I would never find true love. But then came Mike. I'm just like a puppy in spring time - falling all over my feet and not knowing what to do with myself."

"My dear, no doubt you made Harrison very happy from everything I hear. Mike said he was an excellent businessman. I know he would not have left Ivy Lane to you on a lark." He paused. "We are so lucky to have you." He reached over and kissed her on the cheek. "God bless you."

"Well, I'm not my Mama."

"You may think that, but you are better in your own ways."

As Walter made his last comment, Bunny saw Pervis walking very carefully through the grand hall toward the back door. Trying to distract Walter, she said, "Let's go see that wine cellar."

"After you my dear." Walter indicated she go before him - toward the grand hall. 

She turned back toward him, "Let's go through the dining room, there is something I want to show you."

"Sounds wonderful. I have seen so many lovely pieces in this house."

As they started that way, Bunny saw Pervis walking down the hall to the kitchen. He must have circled around from the hall through the dining room. Thankfully, he ducked back into the butler's pantry. "Oh, I don't know what I was thinking," Bunny turned around quickly. It is in the hall after all." The 2 turned around once more and walked back through the kitchen into the hall.

Bunny noticed some portraits of Harrison's grandparents. She pointed them out and told Walter they had been painted by a well known artist. He was most impressed. After that they joined Mike and Anna Belle in the library where the stairway down to the wine cellar was. 

They made their way down the steps. When they rounded the last turn in the staircase, Walter just stopped. "Well, I've never." He continued down into the wine cellar. "This is incredible." He walked around looking at the different bottles and commenting on many of the labels.

Seeing he was so happy, Bunny said, "Walter, you are welcome to have anything in here. There is no way Mike and I will ever be able to drink it all."

Mike walked over to the far wall and opened a cabinet that revealed a glass cigar humidor. "Another thing Harrison enjoyed."

"My kind of man." Walter walked over to get a better look at the cigars. Just then there was a large thump upstairs followed by someone yelling "Yow". 

"What the heck?" asked Mike. 

"I didn't hear anything," said Bunny trying to make light of it.

"How could you have not? It sounds as if someone fell down."

Bunny quickly suggested, "Maybe something fell off a shelf, I'll run up and see," she said as she headed for the stairs.

Mike followed, "I don't think anything that falls off a shelf yells 'yow'."

They reached the top of the steps and carefully walked through the libary. Seeing nothing, they quietly made their way through the living room. Mike turned and whispered to Bunny, "Stay here, I'm going to check the hall."

Mike carefully walked out of the living room into the grand hall, trying not to make any noise. There he didn't see anyone. He made his way toward the kitchen. It was then, on the floor of the hall, he saw the bowler hat. 'What the hell', he thought as he picked the hat up.

By this time Bunny was right behind him. She saw the hat. Worse case scenarios went through her mind. 'Was Pervis still in the house? Was he gone?' 

Seeing the look of mild terror on Bunny's face, Mike gave her a hug. "It will be okay, I promise." He looked at the hat. Then he laughed. "How dangerous can someone be who wears a bowler. Only dandies wear bowlers."

"Yeah, like someone who lives with their mother," said Bunny. 

"What?"

Realizing what she said, Bunny laughed weakly. "Oh, I read it in a book."

Mike put the bowler on the hall table. "Whatever. Let's get back to Pops and Anna Belle." They made their way back to the wine cellar.

"Everything okay," asked Walter.

Mike shook his head and laughed. "The weirdest thing - we didn't see anyone but there was a bowler hat on the floor in the hall. Pops, I assume that was not yours."

"No, not quite my style." He laughed, "But no body?"

Mike just smiled and looked at him. "Didn't see one. But if this was a board game, we could rule out the dinner guests in the wine celler. Maybe it was an intruder hiding in the butler's pantry." They all laughed, except for Bunny.

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