A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2018 Karen Lockhart
Sunday, wonderful Sunday! I didn't have to return to the bar until Tuesday afternoon.
I woke up at a little before noon. It felt good to stretch my weary muscles, especially my calves; those six inch heels are a killer!
A long hot shower later, I pulled on a loose pair of jeans, a tee shirt advertising some 80's rock group's tour, and a cute pink sweatshirt.
Looking at those six inch monsters, I slid my feet into a pink pair of Sketchers and headed for the kitchen. Ellen and Wendy had breakfast long ago, so I made a cup of tea, and toasted an onion bagel.
The girls were watching one of those NFL pre-game shows with ex-players and coaches picking today's winners. Huh, if they were so smart, why weren't they still coaching?
I was greeted with “Sleeping Beauty”, and “look who was just resurrected”.
“Are the Patriots the 1pm game or the late afternoon game?” I asked, “Don't say they play tonight please.”
Ellen smiled, “The Pats play at 1pm; what are we having for lunch, oh great chef?”
“Look, I just woke up, how about I throw something quick and simple. Grilled ham, cheese, sliced tomatoes and tomato soup?”
This even sounded good to me so I made sandwiches for the three of us.
Lunch was finished with plenty of time to spare for the game. I told Wendy to practice being a bartender, and bring Ellen and I cold Sam Adams beers.
The game was a delight, with the home team winning by three touchdowns. The three of us were jealous of the quarterback's ex-model wife. Imagine having that guy come home every day!
Ellen nudged me, “Did you notice Wendy agreed with us? Does that mean she is a girl inside, and not gay?”
“Ellen, she could be anything, we're all different.”
All of a sudden I remembered what Jean and I were talking about in the car, Morales!
“Ellen, Jean was talking to the manager about trying to keep one of the singers who was leaving six months after her GRS operation. Mr Logan said he already had an application from a Latino singer.”
I could see the light go on in Ellen's eyes. “Is it possible? So soon? We guessed right? Will you know him?”
There she goes again four questions rapid fire, not giving me a chance to answer any of them.
“First, yes it's possible Morales would apply for a job singing at the Candy Cane. He must be a heck of a singer with a woman's voice to work there. I've heard the others sing, and let me tell you, they are great! Secondly, why not now? How many places have CD singers that sound like the real thing?”
Before I could continue, Ellen's phone rang.
“Hi, Pete, I was going to give you a ring after the second football game. Oh, you're working; did you at least see the Patriot's game?”
I heard mumbling in the background, so I slid closer on the couch.
I heard Pete say, “At least that Nancy Drew of a roommate of yours stopped working at that titty bar in Peabody.”
I covered my mouth, in case I started to giggle. Poor Ellen, she maintained her cool, saying I hadn't been there for a good week.
I got interested in the other football game to allow Ellen some privacy.
For the next ten minutes, she cooed and laughed with Pete, ending with making a date the following Friday night.
“Ginny, I feel guilty lying to Pete like that.”
“Honey, you didn't lie. I don't work at the Naked City anymore. You just didn't tell him where I work now! There's no way Mr. Logan would let an undercover cop inside unless there was a safety threat to one of the members, who are as safe inside as if they were in a police station. You should see the size of the bouncers! At least one is armed, I saw his pistol when he bent over to retrieve an errant cigarette.”
“I still feel uncomfortable doing this,” she said.
“Look, Ellen, if Pete asks where I'm working, tell him. I can work wherever I wish, but bartendering at a restaurant pays peanuts, compared to either the City or the Candy Club.”
I convinced her the thing was finding Vinny and to be excited as I was!
Between us we came up with the idea of Ellen sitting in the parking lot near the courthouse with a pair of Nikon binoculars once Jean let us know when the singer would be there for an interview. Logan always interviewed just before the club opened, so it was agreed for Ellen to get there at 1pm. Anyone seeing her parked at the courthouse would assume she was waiting for someone inside.
“But my Explorer! Vinny knows I drive one,” Ellen protested.
“Ellen, do you know how many blue Explorers there are in this state? If you feel funny, drive my Honda, he only saw it a few times.”
“But if he gets a tour, won't he see you and become suspicious?”
I went into the kitchen and got us more beer.
“Ellen, he doesn't know where I worked before I moved in with you. Besides, I'll already have been working there a good week by the time this Latina shows up. Please relax.”
Wendy was listening to all this, but bless her heart, she never interrupted once. It must have been killing her!
Laughing, I looked at Wendy and asked. “Any questions from the Peanut Gallery?”
“What is a 'peanut gallery' Aunt Ginny? I never heard of it.”
Ellen snorted, and said, “Ball's in your court Gin, are you going to answer the child?”
“Wendy the term comes from an old children's television show from the fifties and early sixties. Now ask away.”
Wendy smiled, “Anything Auntie? Can I ride with Aunt Ellen, I've seen him too. I can borrow Billy's binoculars, I'll say I'm bird watching.”
Ellen said she was agreeable, four eyes are better than two, and Wendy could keep me company.
I grudgingly agreed. “Wendy, we are getting ahead of ourselves; this replacement singer hasn't even shown up yet.”
Level-headed Ellen added that if he got the job, and indeed was Morales, we had plenty of time to identify him. Maybe even easier to check 'her' out when 'she' was singing.”
Jean and I returned to work Tuesday afternoon. While driving down I filled her in on our plans. Jean wasn't sure she could find out when the interview would be, thinking it would be safer if she had the job first.
“We would have tons of time to check her out either in the lounge or on the stage when she was doing her singing act. The singers do two or three songs at a time, four times a night.”
“If I'm successful in talking Mr Logan into keeping 'Reba' she might not even get the job. If she did, and Reba stays, her routine may only happen three times nightly.”
She headed for her dressing room, and I climbed the stairs to the second floor and my home until 2am.
We were busy earlier that usual for a Tuesday. This made the night go faster. I missed my two regulars, but maybe they took time off too.
About midnight a couple of pretty girls and two men sat on stools in front of me. The men wanted draft beers and one girl ordered a Cape Cod with a lime twist. Easy peasy, But the taller girl asked for a Swann Song. I frantically searched the bar's drink computer, but no luck. I asked the girl what was in it.
She gave a big laugh, “Logan said to find out if you'd ask or make something up. I bet him $20 you would ask what was in it, thanks.”
“That sneak!” I said, “So what is in it, and is it really a drink?”
“Believe it or not, yes. Add two parts 100 proof dark rum, one part sweet vermouth, and two shakes of Angostura bitters to a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake well and pour into cocktail glasses.”
I wrote this down in the notebook I kept in my apron.
”Wait until I see that Logan,” I thought.
The tall girl smiled and complemented me on the drink.
About an hour later one of the waitresses with a Dolly Parton profile asked me for two gin and tonics and a Father's Advice cocktail. I didn't have a clue. Janice overheard the order, and called me over,
“Ginny, I think the boss is playing games with you. This time we have him. I saw this drink in the newspaper yesterday. I cut it out thinking to have a regular patron try it, here's the clipping.”
I quickly read it and started in, 1½oz of Bacardi Gold; ½oz of Amontillado sherry; ½oz Cardamaro; ½ oz of Punt de Mes; and ¼oz of Giffard Banan du Bresil liqueur. Stir and strain.
I dove into the computer for the last three, amazingly they were there! The computer gave me common replacements, so away I went. By this time, I could twirl a bottle and did so, making sure the security camera near the card reader saw me.
In fifteen minutes Mr Logan showed up, all apologies. “Ginny I'm sorry, but Joy and Janice were filling me in on what a find you were, so I tested you.”
I gave him my sexiest smile, and purred “How did I do, Boss?”
“A-one! When you never heard of a Swann Song, you asked, instead of trying to fool Big Betty. But how you knew of the Father's Advice is beyond me.”
I gave him my Cheshire Cat smile and wiggled my butt as I walked away.
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