A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2018 Karen Lockhart
The next morning it looked like a scene from the movie “The Walking Dead”. Jean and I were the best, but after only four hours sleep, it wasn't by much.
I stumbled into the shower and looked human when I came out. It was funny to see a line waiting for the bathroom.
“Let me in first,” Jean said, “I'm passing on a shower, I had one at work.”
I went into the kitchen and got out the Mr Coffee, figuring with four of us and more coming, the Kuerig wouldn't do. Quickly dressing, and slapping on some make-up and pink lipstick, I was ready for the world.
Jean was next into the kitchen following the aroma of fresh coffee. “Ginny, should I just wear a thong, or should I let the men keep their tongues in their mouth?”
Laughing I said, “Jean, put on some clothes, preferably jeans and a long sleeve top. We want the boys to be able to think when they get here.”
Wendy got herself coffee and said she thought Ellen was talking to Pete Smith.
I suggested to Wendy that she play short order cook again, she did it so well before.
“Really Aunt G, you mean that?” Wendy was all excited! “Breakfast coming right up.”
Ellen sat down on a stool smiling, “Doesn't he know you can't slam down a cell phone? Well guys, at first Pete blew his top, accusing us of playing detective with Ginny working down there in Quincy. I explained she was there for two weeks before she heard of a new singer. It was at that time, Jean was roped in to the search for Morales.”
At this Jean broke up. “'The Search for Morales' sounds like a show on the History channel.”
“We didn't care before he killed that woman and I got this cute dog,” Wendy said.
“Is this the dog? I didn't realize that last night when she shared the sofa with me.” Jean said as she ruffled her ears and called her sweetie.
Wendy outdid herself. We all dug into scrambled eggs, wheat toast, bacon and home fries. This time the fries were nicely browned.
We were on our second cup of coffee when the doorbell rang. Looking out I saw Pete and his Sargent Shultz. Opening the door I let them in and offered a mug of coffee.
That perked Shultz up, and he gave me a big sunny smile saying “Oh thank you, dear, I missed mine at home this morning.”
Even though he called me “dear” I made both him and Pete a mug of steaming coffee. I gave Wendy a look, and she got up and made another pot.
“Now what the hell is this about a female impersonator singing like Ariande Grandy”
Ellen quickly corrected Pete, “It's Ariana Grande Pete, not Ariande.”
“Whatever, tell me the story, starting with Ginny working at the 'Naked City'.”
I started. I told how I was bored as Ellen's bookkeeper, and needed more money now that Wendy lived with us. I enjoyed tending bar, and couldn't believe the tips. Jean and I became friends. So when she decided to see about this place she'd heard of in Quincy, I asked if I could go with her.
Jean jumped in, saying since she was a big star, any friend of hers that met the criteria, probably would get a job too.
“A big star huh, what makes you a star?” asked the Sargent.
I looked at Ellen, and we both laughed. “Go ahead Jean, show the good Sargent.” Ellen said. “Gentlemen, Meet Terri the Tiger!”
Jean outdid herself, sinuously shedding her jeans, jersey and sports bra swaying to music heard only by her. You could hear the inrush of breath by both State Troopers. Ellen and Wendy were spellbound also, never having seen her act before.
After five minutes or so, Terri became Jean again as she got dressed.
“Does that answer your question Sargent?” I asked.
Pete and Shultz both nodded, and said for her to go on.
“To enter this club, you must be a member and to work there as a waitress or performer you must be transgendered and pre-surgical. The only post-surgical employees are bartenders and believe me, they check!
“I heard that a new singer would be auditioning and as the head-liner, the manager asked me to sit in and give an opinion. Since we carpool, Ginny sat in the dark while she sang.”
I noticed both Pete and Shultz nodding, so I took over the explaining.
“Pete, I was just starting to set up the bar when Mr Logan, the manager, brought this girl around, showing her the place. I only saw her in profile, but she looked just like Tina, Morales' daughter.”
“No chance of that,” Pete said. “She's in prison after that vehicle homicide in Newbury.”
Feeling brave, Ellen piped up, “After hearing Ginny's suspicions, I grabbed my digital camera, and Wendy and I sat in the parking lot of the Candy Cane Club, and waited for “Ariana” to show for her audition. Here are the dozen shots I was able to get.”
Pete and his Sargent looked at the photos before stopping at a magnified profile shot. “Give me the profile photo of that bastard, Sarge,” Pete said.
After a few minutes, they looked up.
“Okay tell us more, don't leave a thing out this time.”
We explained the difficulty with police getting inside even with a warrant. This would tip off Morales, if Morales she was and we'd never see him again.
Pete went out to his cruiser, while Wendy poured more coffee for the Sergent, Jean, and me.
Shultz made small talk with Jean, asking the usual questions: “How did you get into this, is that tattoo real, and how much do you make a year?”
Pete came back in, and told the Sargent to 'saddle up' while he spoke to us in private.
“Look, I only believe half of your story. I still think you guys were playing Nancy Drew, but I think your suspicions are right, so I'll have a undercover car in the parking lot. But, oh how I hate to say this, I need Ginny to tip us off when “Ariana” leaves.
“Pete, I have your cell number. I can call you, but, if she gets hired she'll work in my bar area. Vinny knows what I look like, he might do a dixie if he sees me. Why not hand out those shots I took in the club and add Ellen's. That way, if she spooks, your guys will know what she looks like.”
The doorbell rang and Kevin walked in.
“Hey Pete, what's up? I haven't seen you for a while, we should double date again.”
I smiled, Kevin was nervous, and wondered why Pete Smith was here, with another trooper in his car.
After talking a little football with Kevin, Pete kissed Ellen on the cheek and made his goodbyes.
Wendy went into my bedroom, guessing what was coming.
Ellen started, “Who do you think you are coming into my house without an invitation? You are lucky I even let you stay. Where are your brains? In your ass? They must be, allowing a horny, testosterone-filled eighteen-year-old boy alone with Wendy on your pullout sofa.”
Before Kevin could answer, I started.
“I trusted you, I now see I was wrong. Because of you, I'm considering sending Wendy back to Child Services. If I do, it won't be a week before she is back on the streets. This time she might try hooking for money. Does this even soak in? Or don't you give a shit?”
Over his head, Ellen gave me a wink.
“Is that little shit of a nephew with you, or is he hiding somewhere?” Ellen asked.
Kevin never had a chance to answer Ellen before I started in again.
“You only see this as a good way to have sex with me don't you? Wendy is only a tool to get this isn't she?” I really laid it on.
Ellen opened the front door and looked outside.
“There he is sitting in your truck. What's wrong, Billy isn't man enough to face the music?”
Poor Kevin, he didn't know what to say, or what to do by this time. I swear, it looked like he lost twenty pounds, he shrank down in his seat so much.
Wendy ran out from the bedroom. “It's not Kevin's fault. We fell asleep, honest. Billy and I were kinda just hugging, then the next thing we knew, Kevin walked into the living room shouting at his nephew, and calling him names. Then he turned to me, tossed me his truck keys and said to get my butt inside it fast. You and Aunt Ellen know the rest. We fell asleep! That was ALL!
Kevin took a deep breath, “Billy is in my truck because he's on the way home to my rotten sister and her husband. This was the last straw, I had warned him.
“Look, I know how you two feel, but don't take it out on Wendy. I never should have gone to sleep. I tried to stay awake to keep an eye on them, but I fell asleep. Please forgive the kids. I had the best of intentions.”
Ellen told him to sit in his truck while we talked.
I hugged Wendy and kissed the top of her head. “Don't worry, hun it's over. Did you ever hear of the Riot Act? Well we just read it to Kevin.”
I beckoned to Kevin to come back in and bring Billy with him.
Kevin was surprised when I kissed his cheek, and hugged him.
“Look, we had to let that out. Can you imagine our fear when Wendy wasn't here? Can you imagine what we thought could have happened? Wendy is staying here, she learned her lesson,” I took a deep breath, “Will you allow Billy to stay with you? I don't think this was his fault. Wendy failed to tell us where she was, and you were tired and dozed off.”
“We're forgiven Ginny? Can we all start over, do a reset to a week ago, just like a computer?”
I gave him a big kiss as his answer.
Ellen said enough of this stuff she wanted to watch her soaps.
All this time Jean was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee.
Billy finally noticed her. His head snapped around, and his eyes bugged out. Jean noticed this and introduced herself, saying she worked with me, and her name was Terri.
Ellen and I snorted, and Kevin just rubbed his face where my pink lipstick was in a perfect 'Cupid's Bow' on his cheek.
To be continued.
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