Sunday, March 4, 2018

We Have a Small Issue

At Dixie's home, the phone rang. Dixie was surprised to hear Ms. Harbuck's voice. "I hope I am not interrupting anything?"

"Not at all."

"I'll get right to the matter at hand. We have a small issue with Kathleen's wedding."

In a happy voice, Dixie replied,"Well, it will not be the first. The gown is already an issue, but I am taking care of that."

"This is a bit more than a gown."

Dixie's tone changed, "Oh?"

"It seems that there is another event planned at the Chateau the same day as you have planned Kathleen's wedding."

"Well, certainly it is a big enough place to accommodate another wedding." She paused. "There is the smaller chapel on the other side of the Estate. they could use."

"Yes, there is. However, this is a wedding that the Board has let me know has priority."

"Certainly, nothing more important that our wedding?" Dixie said with emphasis on the word 'our'.

"I'm afraid so." Trying to stay ahead of Dixie, she added,"There is nothing I can do."

"Nothing you can do? Well, who do I need to speak to. Obviously, they are not aware of the importance of this wedding. Why, the elite of Mobile will be there."

In a very firm voice Ms. Harbuck answered, "That would be Mr. Pace, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees."

"Well, I need his number. I'm sure he will understand that this is just not possible."

"I'll be glad to give you his number. However, there is something you should know."

"And, that is?"

"The wedding is that of Mr. Pace's grandson."

"That is just unacceptable. Why was the wedding not on the schedule when I reserved the Chateau?"

"I don't think the Bride had set her date yet."

Dixie could not decide whether to scream or cry. "This just will not do."

"Mrs. Quinton, it is out of my hands. Perhaps we can discuss other open dates."

"But Mobile's elite has that date on their calendars."

Ms. Harbuck found this amusing, knowing that the 'Mobile Elite' do have a wedding on their calenders - the Paces. She had been told the evening before that the RSVPs had already returned from anyone who was anyone in the South. "Mrs. Quinton, I am so sorry. As I said, we can look at other dates."

Dixie knew this was a non-starter. Even she wasn't going to challenge the Chairman of the Board about his grandson's wedding. In a short tone, Dixie thanked Ms. Harbuck.

She spent the next hour compiling a list of possible venues. There were few acceptable alternatives. With this many people, she knew she had to find a large appropriate venue, and she needed to find it fast. There were plenty of venues right in Gallagher, ones large enough to handle all of Dixie's guests. There was the Butler's place - Hollyhocks. She had been to many a grand event there. She had heard that one of the Fitzgeralds had returned, bought Cre Uisce Aer, and was in the process of restoring it. 'Now that was a place in it's time,' Dixie thought.

At the Gentlemen's Club Anna Belle was trying to handle Miranda's sudden disappearance without rousing any attention or more questions than she was already fending off. Wade had discussed Delmar's 'story' with Hank and Clark. They all felt like it was a non-starter. Certainly if anyone else had seen anything amiss either of the nights they were relocating bodies, the witnesses would have already come forward.

Anna Belle was not sure what would be worse - Miranda just showing up and wreaking havoc or just waiting for her appearance.  If she were dead, would they ever know? Now she was living day to day, nervous with each phone call. At Wade's advice she had changed the locks on the Club. She even went as far as updating all the passwords. 

Still trying to 'learn' everything about this quirky little town, Barbara was both amused and puzzled. Having grown up in New Jersey, she had never experienced southern gentility. It was a different world, a way of life she had read about, but still struck her as provincial at best, elitist at most, and even more than that - intriguing. She had finally been able to nail Terse down for an interview. They met at Ed's at a corner table for coffee. 

Barbara was disappointed when she learned Terse had no plans to participate in the production, nor did he think it was a good idea.

"Did you read the article that Art Nome wrote? It made this place seem somewhere between Mayberry and a freak show. Don't you get it, if you are not from here, you will never understand Gallagher. Granted I did not grow up here, but my family had ties here. I spent many summers here with my grandparents. And yes, Mobile, where I was raised, is much different. But Gallagher has welcomed me into their town. I love it with its eccentricities, its characters, and those still living in the past."

He continued, "Gallagher is a warm and friendly place. But, I'll warn you - if you run around here with your 'I'm from New Jersey' act, you will soon find doors closed and no one talking. They protect their own. Families may not speak to each other. They may be harboring generations of ill will, but they will rally to save anyone they need to, whether they are on speaking terms or not."

Barbara was quiet. Terse continued, "Yes, there skeletons in most every one's closet, but they are their skeletons, whether they choose to deal with them or not. Let me give you a little hint- you are not making friends."

Barbara just sat there. "So you are telling me this is not a story to tell, a movie to make?"

"I'm saying don't try to make the movie you have in mind about Gallagher?"

"But, this a wealth of ideas, - the characters, the way everyone acts, the town itself. I can envision this as another hit. Terse, this could be next year's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" She paused.  "Without a murder - that I know of."

"It may be the next Gone with the Wind, but I advise you to think again."

"And, what if I do? What if I do decide to make this movie? They cannot stop me. Even if they try, we have attorneys on retainer they cannot match."

Terse looked at her, paused, and considered her threat. "I'll pull my book from any production deal with your company."

"You wouldn't do that. Why would you not take advantage of the prestige a movie would give you - the money you could make?"

Shaking his head, Terse replied, "That's what you don't get. Not everyone is after fame or fortune."

Realizing this conversation was not going as planned, Barbara was really disappointed. There was nothing more to say. They were finished for now. Terse stood, and without a word, left the table. He settled up with Ed and left the cafe.

At the Rental Agency, Mike called Bunny. "Whatcha doing?"

"Just trying to review all the monthly accounts."

"That sounds exciting." Mike paused,"Can you pencil me in for tonight?"


"I don't know yet. Do you have a preference?"

"No, not that," she said seriously. "Where do I 'pencil' you in?"

Mike just shook his head and silently laughed to himself. She never failed to amuse him. "It's just a saying - basically I was asking if you would put me on your calendar for tonight."

"You are so silly. I don't have to do that because I didn't have plans."

"But you do now."

Bunny was totally confused. In her silence, Mike continued,"I'll pick you up at 7. Does that suit?"

"Of course, you know I always want to have dinner with you." Bunny was quiet, then she asked, "And no pencils are involved?" 

Mike laughed, "No pencils, at least tonight."

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