Monday, June 11, 2018

The Mooney House

The Sheriff went back into his office to make a call. The room was his sanctuary. It fit his personality with its worn wooden floor, old widows with wavy glass, and well aged plaster walls that had not seen fresh paint in 80 years or so. (Mary Lou often referred to the color as 'Rat Shit Brown'.)  

Like an old broken in shoe, he was comfortable. So much so, that he could close the door, sit at his desk, and most of the trials of day would disappear - if only for a moment. State-of-the-art was a double edge sword.

He picked up his phone and called Charlotte Beauregard. "Charlotte, this is Rascal, how ya doing?"

"Good, what's up?"

"I've just got a couple of questions about the Gala Monday evening."

"You know I'll be more than glad to help, but I'm afraid I don't know anything."

The Sheriff told her about Paten overhearing her conversation with Adair Butler in hall. Obviously, Adair was very upset about something. He paused, "Can you share that with me?"

Charlotte was quiet for a moment. "Yes, I will. Normally I would not break a confidence with a good friend. But I want to do whatever I can to help." She sighed. "Clark is having an affair with Colonel Wadsworth's wife.


"Yes, and it had been going on for a while. If that wasn't bad enough," she paused, "Winfred works for Anna Belle."

"You mean at Anna Belles'?"

Charlotte laughed, "No - for Anna Belle. Winfred is one of her 'ladies'. At least, according to Adair."

The Sheriff was quiet, he obviously did not see that one coming. "Paten said he overheard Adair say something like, 'he would never give her up, she would have to kill her' and 'that she deserved to die'."

"Basically, that was the gist of it."

"Now, my assumption is she was referring to Winfred."

"Absolutely. She had told me earlier in the evening that she finally knew who the other woman was."

"Did she ever calm down?"

"Yes, but it took a while. I was eventually able to get her back to the table. Then she seemed much better."

"And, she never mentioned anything about Colleen?"

"No," she paused, "not that I recall."

"Otherwise, you saw nothing out of the ordinary?"

"No. Pray tell you don't think Adair killed Collen."

"Anything is possible. I appreciate you sharing this. If you think of anything else, how 'bout call me."

"I promise to do that."

The Sheriff rung off.

Looking around at the battered room his office occupied. He thought again about the new station they planned to build. He shook his head at the memories of those plans. As it was, they were now working from the old Mooney House. The county moved the Sheriff's office into it 68 years ago. The state promised it would only be 6 months or so before the legislature approved funding for a new facility. The house worked okay for some time. Then 6 months turned into a year or 2. Before long it was 68 years later.

The Mooney house was an old home, circa mid 1800's, that was nice in its heyday. However, the Mooney family fell on hard times during the depression. The town bank feared foreclosing. They knew it would only give them an albatross on their books - one, they could never get rid of.  No one was interested in buying it, since it was in such bad shape. 

Listed on 'Gallagher List Fine Homes, Gardens, and Estates', razing the house was not allowed, only a complete restoration, approved by 'The Board'. A majority of those buildings on the list were well past their better days, making them poor investments. Rascal always found that moniker amazing. He was never sure who 'the Board' was, but he knew some folks just had to have a title.

In addition to leaky plumbing, swollen doors, and tricky wiring, there were a 'few' other issues with the Mooney house. The roof tended to leak - only when it rained. The floors sagged. Locks on the old doors would often 'randomly' lock, leaving visitors stuck in whatever room they had entered. 

Given the house was built as a residence, other than the randomly locking doors, there was no place for a jail. There are just a 'Secure' room in the back. All those poor souls, in serious trouble and arrested in Gallagher County, were trucked to another county to be held in that county's jail.

Probably the most 'interesting' feature was Ada Mae Mooney, a forty year old woman who townspeople called 'touched', and not in a good way. Ada Mae had showed up in Gallagher 20 years or so ago. She claimed ownership to the house. Her story was that a distant uncle had left it to her.

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