A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2018 Karen Lockhart
We decided to go out for dinner at the 'Tides' in Nahant. This way we could drop Jean off at her condo that was five minutes away. Ellen ordered a bottle of red wine for the table while we chatted and read the menu.
Ellen decided on the lobster roll with French fries and a garden salad. I ordered chicken parma with a Caesar salad, and Jean got this pasta dish loaded with mussels and a Caesar salad. Soon a second bottle of wine was ordered.
We were laughing about how Billy's eyes bugged out when he saw Jean in a tank top.
Well, the kids were taken care of, Kevin would never go to sleep like that again, and how easy it was to manage men. Look at how quickly we got Pete to calm down!
The next morning, Wendy and Ellen left for work at 6:30am while I dozed until noon. After showering and putting on my war paint for the night, I had a bagel with cream cheese, and a raspberry yogurt for my breakfast.
After watching the noon news, I was headed to my room to change into my work clothes when my cell phone rang. Checking the caller ID, I saw it was Pete Smith.
“Hi Pete, what's up?”
“Ginny, I just wanted to go over tonight again,” Pete said. “In case she recognizes you, what are you going to do?”
I thought for a minute, “I guess the same thing Pete, I mean, call your cell right away and describe what she's wearing. Pete, are you worried about me? That's sweet, thanks.”
He mumbled a bit, obviously embarrassed, then repeated what he said, “Of course I'm worried, Ellen would kill me if you got hurt.”
I chuckled and hung up, saying, “I'll talk to you tonight, big guy.”
As I was finishing my make-up, I heard Jean's horn beep outside. Grabbing the bag with my 4” heels and a light jacket, I hurried down the stairs and slid into Jean's little car.
Jean smiled and said, “Are you ready for tonight, Madame Clouseau?”
I smacked her on the arm, “Jeeze, not you too; I just hung up with Pete Smith. I'm getting sick of being called Nancy Drew, at least you're different.”
Before I got my seatbelt fastened, we flew into traffic heading for Boston and Quincy.
After settling in I asked Jean if she had decided on a new car yet. We could stop at the Honda dealer on the Lynnway heading south.
“That's at Commercial Street, isn't it? How about tomorrow? You'll have your CR-V, maybe two new cars will be sold?”
“That won't happen Jean, my little SUV only has 40,000 miles on it, besides, I can't afford a new car yet.”
As it happened, we were the first car at the stop light, so had time to check out the cars at the dealership.
“Hey Jean, there's a bright red one with your name on it in the back row, pull in.”
Jean's answer was to leave in a tire chirp that snapped our heads back, as we roared down the road to the next red light.
Traffic was light that day, and we arrived at the Club a little early. After entering we split up, Jean to her dressing room ,and me up stairs to the second floor employees' lounge.
After putting on my heels, and pouring a cup of coffee, I heard a voice belting out a Broadway tune from Cats. My interest was up, I followed the voice to the stage.
There she was, Ariana, singing without any backup just as good as any female vocalist I ever heard. She saw me out of the corner of her eye and stopped, obviously embarrassed.
“How did I sound, better than Walter Brennan?”
“Well, you sound better than Lee Marvin did singing 'I was born under a wond'ring star' in “Paint your Wagon.”
With that we both laughed. “I'm Ginny Hanson, I work the bar on this floor, heard you sing and needed to see who went with the voice.”
She stuck out her hand: “I'm Ariana Grande, or you can call me Alana Diaz. Your choice.”
“Right now after hearing you sing, it's Ariana; you're new aren't you.”
“Mr Logan just hired me; a stripper heard me and told him to hire me, I owe her a thanks for getting me this job.”
“That was Terri the Tiger, she told me about you this morning, If you want to meet her, I suggest you see her act first.”
Ariana smiled “When does she go on?”
“When you hear the Stones' “Satisfaction” run downstairs quick, that's her introduction.”
“She has her own introduction? I never heard of that, she must be special.”
I laughed, “See her act, Ariana, then you be the judge.”
I looked at my watch. I had 5 minutes until my shift started, so off I went, grabbing my apron, and joining Joy and Janice behind the bar.
We were unusually busy early that night; the bar was packed, and a line of cocktail waitresses kept coming with orders of mixed drinks. Finally things slowed down enough for me to slide down the bar to Hiram and his friend the ball player Cathy.
“Evening folks,” I said,”Would you like to try a new drink? On me.”
Hiram smiled, “Sure why not, but I insist it's on me, How about you, Cathy expand your tastes for something other than a beer.”
Cathy shrugged, “I'll stick with beer thanks.”
“In that case hun, try this.” I said as I pulled a draft Pabst Blue Ribbon, “This beer is coming back, it's really good on tap, all the college kids ask for it.”
I started making Hiram's drink while chatting away on politics and the upcoming election. He insisted that Trump would beat Clinton, no matter what the polls said. Hiram actually made a twenty dollar bet with Cathy that Trump would be President.
I finished Hiram's drink and placed it in front of him. With no hesitation, he took a long sip, a smile slowly came on his face.
“This is delicious darling, what's it called?”
“It's called an Orange Oskar, I saw it in the newspaper yesterday, It's made with one part Cointreau, two parts Blue Skye vodka, and orange soda over ice in a glass with a slice of orange in a tall highball glass.
Hiram looked at Cathy and insisted she try one.
“After I finish my beer, okay honey?”
I had to go and take care of a few orders for the waitresses, mostly 12oz Budweiser's, and the occasional Captain Morgan rums and Diet Cokes. Funny, that's the mixed drink most diabetics order. I guess the rum is okay for you.
After hearing “Satisfaction' over the sound system the second time, I noticed Ariana at the end of the bar. Walking down to her, I asked if she saw Terri.
Her eyes grew big as she raved, “I never saw an act like that before, how does she move like that?”
Laughing, I said that most people would be in traction for a month if they tried that.
“Well I now see why she's the headliner here, she could take her act to Las Vegas for crying out loud, she's so good.”
“She likes living here, on the ocean. Vegas is a long way from salt water.”
Ariana looked at my wrist watch, and scooted back to the lounge saying over her shoulder that being late on her first day wasn't good.
Returning to my station I saw Hiram waving to me, so over I went.
“Another Orange Oskar? Is Cathy ready to try one now?”
“Two of those please, but I wanted to know about that singer you were talking to.”
“Ariana? I just met her, all I know is 'wow, can she sing'. If I didn't know better, I'd think she really was Ariana Grande.”
“You too?” Cathy said, “Is that really a TG? I didn't think any man could sing like that.”
I laughed, “Believe me kiddo, that is checked before you're hired by Mrs Logan and a nurse, no exceptions.”
She looked at me and raised an eyebrow. I nodded yes and handed them two drinks before being called to take my break.
I hurried down stairs to Jean's dressing room. Before I could sit, Jean asked, “Well, is she or isn't she your murderer.”
“Impossible! I have a hard time thinking she was born a boy. We talked for fifteen minutes earlier; she's not Vinny with improvements, but she reminds me of his daughter Tina an awful lot.”
“Ginny, grab a cold drink from the fridge for me please.”
I grabbed two diet Pepsi's and sat down. “Now I have to call Pete and tell him that. Shit, he's not going to be happy.”
Jean checked in the mirror.
“Hey let me be Abby on NCIS and get a DNA sample. I bet she's related to Morales. Your Captain Smith can find this out in no time. We'll be out of here in an hour, so call your cop and get it over with.”
As soon as I returned to the bar, I called Pete, pretending to be calling a boyfriend. I let him know she wasn't Vinny, but I thought she was related to him. Joy had walked over, so I hung up saying “Love you too, see you at closing.”
“Hard to find a guy who ignores who we were before, isn't it Ginny?”
I agreed, saying Petey was a new boyfriend who wondered why I worked here.
“I haven't told him everything yet,” I said.
Jan was all ears in a nice way, but still added to the conversation.
“Tell him quick, preferably with a witness. I've known t-girls almost beaten to death because the guy wasn't told upfront,” Jan said, “Better to be safe than sorry.”
I met Jean at her car. We looked around the parking lot looking for cops, but they were too good, all we saw were tired employees heading home for the night.
As we entered the Ted Williams tunnel, Jean asked what Pete said when I told him the bad news.
“I think he expected the news, but like NCIS Abby, she said DNA would solve this case.”
Dropping me off, Jean asked if she could drive my Honda tomorrow. I just smiled.
To be continued.
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