Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Mystery of Terse

Both Della and Bunny found Terse to be mysterious. He was gorgeous enough to be a GQ model, dressed like he was on the runway, always had what seemed to be a new sports car, lived on a trust fund his father set-up, yet he was always late on the rent. When his flat burned and there was the investigation about drugs, Della and Bunny found that hard to believe. Although no one had ever figured out what caused the fire, his place was ready to move in and soon delivery trucks from Mobile were showing up daily with new furnishings.

His name Terse came from "Tertius" a Latin word meaning 'third' as in Reginald Beauregard Jackson III. It was one of those southern traditions. He had a charmed life. He was the apple of both his grandmother and his mother's eyes. He and his sister, Maisy Ruth, had grown up in the slow sequestered life of Mobile. Their family being one of the most prominent in the area, gave their grandmother airs Terse sometimes had an issue with. His mother was more grounded. Blanche Duiese came from an old well thought of family so she had met with Terse's grandmother's approval.

Terse had all the social skills a southern gentleman should have. He was tall and handsome. He was fun and usually the life of the party. That love of a good party did not serve him well in prep school. Between fifth grade and his senior year, Terse managed to get thrown out of four prep schools. Only Beau's pull and money managed for Terse to leave each one with an acceptable report and grades.

Finally he graduated from prep school and was accepted at the University of the South at Sewanee. It was his father's and his grandfather's Alma mater. It was established in 1857 as a "Southern university free of Northern influences".  An Episcopal Bishop from Tennessee said it was created as a school that would "materially aid the South to resist and repel a fanatical domination which seeks to rule over us."  It was also known as a party school. Terse fit right in. It took him six years, but he finally graduated with a degree in Art History.

When he got back to Mobile his father was anxious for him to start a career and settle down. Those two things were not on the top of Terse's list. He had chosen Art History as his major for just that reason - who could get a decent job with that background? Beau knew Law School was a lost cause - God, how much that would cost, if he could even get Terse accepted. 

After several attempts at finding him meaningful employment, his grandmother stepped in. "Just let the boy have fun. Why should he have to work? The family has enough money to take care of him. I think we can support him."

Blanche was beside herself, "And just let him play around for the rest of his life? No, I'm not going to allow that."

But after he was let go from the Mobile Press-Register where Beau had gotten him a job as a copy writer, his father wondered. Unfortunately, the paper expected him to come to work - everyday. One of the law firms in town offered him a position as a clerk, running errands in the firm, working in the library, and some computer work. He certainly dressed the part. However, Terse was much more interested in the paralegals and the secretaries. That job did not last long either.

The positions at the city library, the town hall, the men's fine clothing store downtown did not suit Terse. He always had a good attitude and everyone liked him. What frustrated his employers the most was that he was bright and capable, but he just just could not stay on task. 

Then someone at the Press-Register found some fiction articles Terse had filed during his short stint at the paper. He had read them and was impressed. So he got with Terse and over a matter of months, had guided him through the world of writing and publishing. As it turned out, Terse was extremely talented writing historically based spy novels. His first one was set in the Civil war with the next one taking place during the Spanish American war. Not only were the plots interesting and the characters well developed, his passion for historic detail made his books a great read.

He self published his first book. About a month later he was contacted by a publishing house. Soon he had a contract and was making good money. What amazed everyone was that Terse had bargained with the publishers for an incredible contract and fee. He held out for everything he wanted. He knew they wanted his books and were willing to pay for it. In the end they did.

Blanche was so thrilled with his new occupation that she agreed with Mrs. Jackson and Beau set-up a trust fund to support Terse until the royalties started coming in. Terse moved to Gallagher because it was close to Mobile, was a quiet southern town, and he could write. Now that the first book was out he was working on the second one and already thinking about the third.

Della and Bunny could not understand why he was always short on cash by the end of the month. Ironically, he was far from short on cash, usually he forgot what day it was. He was either deep in research for his books, intensely writing, or enjoying himself somewhere else. Even if he knew they thought money was the issue, he would never have told them otherwise.

Terse was a mystery man. He liked to keep his private life - private. Therefore, he was rarely seen out in public. If wanted to go out with friends, he would meet them in Mobile. He often traveled to the Caribbean and abroad. He doubted anyone but Maisy Ruth knew where he was. He worshiped his little sister and would do anything for her. They were very close. She always knew where he was and what he was doing.

There was only one issue he had in Gallagher - certain women. Terse was aware of his appeal to the opposite sex and although he was not vain, he had spent a good portion of his life trying to disengage from women attracted to him whom he had no interest in and whose feelings he did not want to hurt. He learned it was best just not to put him in a position where he had to take such action.

In Gallagher, he spent an inordinate amount of time staying out of Bunny Vontese's path. What Terse was not aware of was the wicked web that started with Anna  Belle and Beau. His grandmother had managed to keep that a secret. However, even his grandmother didn't know the whole story. She was not aware that her first choice for Beau's wife, Tula, eventually  married and divorced William Vontese, who went on to marry that tart, Anna Belle. And no one had informed his grandmother about the Gallagher's Gentlemen's Club. The number of people aware of Buzz's story could be counted on 2 hands. And no one there was ready for it to go any further.

Now the tale of Terse's flat burning is a whole 'nuther story.

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