A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2018 Karen Lockhart
I called Pete about 9:30 AM, my curiosity running wild, as the song went.
He answered on the first ring, “MSP, Captain Smith speaking.”
I laughed, “Captain Smith. This is Miss Hanson returning your call.”
I could hear him chuckle as he said, “Shoot, good morning Ginny, isn't this a bit early for you to be up?”
“Well, when you get a mysterious request to call the State Police...” I let my voice trail off.
“Okay, okay, I wanted your advice on the best way to approach your Mr Logan on finding out if Vinny is a member at the Club.”
Without thinking I said, “Be honest with him, tell him the whole story. You know, the drug running, the phony death at sea, the shoot out at the Salisbury bar. And more importantly, the hit and run where that woman was killed while walking her dog. He has a soft spot for dogs.”
“I might as well give him a copy of our investigation files Ginny. I can't do that.”
“You want his help don't you? Without a court order he won't give you any information and no judge will give you a search warrant on just a guess.”
Pete laughed, “Nancy Drew wasn't enough, now you're playing Perry Mason too. I guess you're right, I'd never get a search warrant even from Judge Judy. Whoever said honesty is the best policy was right. Okay, I'll do it your way. When is the best way and time to get a hold of him?”
“Pete, the Club opens to the public at 3 PM, we get there no later than 2:30. I guess he's in the club at 2 PM, but he lives upstairs with his wife, so he could be around at any time.”
Pete snorted, “Nothing like pinning down a time. Okay, I'll try him at 2 o'clock then. Thanks honey.” With that, he hung up.
I was starving, so I headed for the refrigerator and got eggs and the makings for an omelet. I placed some rye bread in the toaster, and turned on the Keurig with a Dunkin Donuts K-cup.
My cell phone rang again as I was eating the last bit of toast, it was Jean asking if she could pick me up a little early.
“Sure” I said, “what's up?”
“I have a small errand, I need to buy a snow brush, That snow the other day, caught me off guard. I had to clear the windshield with my hand. Brrr, no gloves either.”
I asked if it was to a store, or an auto parts place. When she said Wally World I agreed. I had something to look for there.
“How about noon? This will give us plenty of time.” Jean said she'd see me then and hung up.
I had to laugh, 'hung up', that goes back to the old old days with the separate ear piece and the cradle on the phone's side, not these electronic things we have now that hang up on voice command.
I checked the time and saw I had over an hour. This gave me time to start the clothes washer/dryer before I left for work. Thinking of modern things, a machine that not only washes, but then changes to a dryer. Perfect for someone like me who hadn't the time to do both.
I changed into my work mini skirt and put on my evening makeup, then put my nose-bleed spike heels in my shoulder bag and waited for Jean.
Right on time, a horn beeped. I ran outside, greeted Jean and said, “Wally World here we come!”
That got Jean laughing.
When we got there, Jean went to automotive and got a snow brush and a can of de-icer. I went to the clothing and picked up a few sheer blouses in light pastels. The white blouses I had been wearing were stained so badly the washer had no success getting them out.
Back in Jean's car we headed for Quincy. I had her slow down as we passed the parking garage where road tests for driver's licenses were held.
I had a funny thought, do the testers have to pay to get in?
As we parked, I saw an unmarked cruiser that looked like Pete Smith's.
When we entered, I could hear a man's voice saying “Any time at all Captain, here's my card with my private cell number. Call any time except at 7 in the morning!”
I then heard Pete say,”Thanks for all your help Mr Logan, I won't forget it.”
I frantically looked for a place to hide, but seeing none, I decided to brazen it out. Bumping into Pete's back, I told him to watch were he was going.
This caught him by surprise, “Sorry ma'am, I didn't see you there.”
I played it up saying, “Well, that's the first time a man said he didn't notice me.”
I kept going up stairs to the lounge to put my stuff into my locker and change shoes. Before I left for the bar, Mr Logan asked for a minute of my time.
“Ginny, I don't know how much you heard, but please keep it to yourself. The State police are looking for a murderer, who may be a new member here. So that cop, a captain and I were looking at new member's pictures, to see if he was here. We promise our members complete confidentially, and this could ruin us if it got out.”
I gave him a peck on the cheek, “I won't breathe a word. Thanks for your trust.”
Tying on my apron, I felt a little bit like a rat, but hey, I wouldn't let it out.
After helping Joy and Jan set the bar up for business, I walked down to my end. Soon Hiram showed up and Cathy followed him a few minutes later.
Logan joined us, chatting with Cathy and Hiram, “Ginny, make me an Iceball please.” and turned back to Hiram.
When I slid a Cosmo, a Papst draft, and an Iceball in front of them, He asked me what was in the drink.
“Simple, 3/4oz of white cream de cacao, 1 1/2oz of Gin, 3/4oz of Sambuca, and a couple of tablespoons of cream.”
Logan turned to Hiram and said, “Twenty bucks. Hi, I knew she'd make it!”
“Hiram! You bet against me? Just for that, no more automatic Cosmopolitans, now you have to ask.”
This broke Cathy and Logan up and Hiram had the decency to blush.
I went to the waitress station to fill orders mostly beer and a few Jack Daniels. When I got back, Cathy and Logan were debating whether Big Pappy would really retire, and if so, how would the Sox replace his bat.
Cathy was of the opinion that the manager would be replaced first.
Hiram asked Mr Logan who the new singer was. He thought the real Ariana was singing. Logan laughed, saying “Isn't she wonderful? I had my headliner downstairs listen to her audition. Terri threatened to quit if I didn't hire her.”
Cathy perked up, “Terri? You mean the tiger act? Hiram, come downstairs, you have to see this act.”
Overhearing this, I said to listen for the Rolling Stone's 'Satisfaction' that is the music for her striptease act. They finished their drinks and headed downstairs.
Logan hesitated, “Ginny, want to come with me? You can watch the big bar for a bit. How would you like to be down there, the tips are bigger and I pay more an hour to those bartenders?”
I followed the men and stopped at the main bar. I introduced myself to the girls behind the bar and waited for Logan to come back.
Comparing our pay with theirs showed me it would be worth $500 more a week down there. That's $26,000 more a year! Now I had a problem.
I liked having a regular life working 8 to 5, but no job would pay what I would make here. I was making over $1,000 a day as it was but down there, I would make $1500 a day, that's over $350,000 a year!
Thinking about it that way, how could I leave here and do anything else?
A few years at that money would make a great nest egg, I could retire and get a part-time job to keep me busy. Hey, I could be Sam Spade's distaff counterpart. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
When I returned to the bar upstairs, Jan and Joy pounced.
“When are you leaving? Didn't we tell you Logan was moving you to the main bar.”
I sighed, “He offered it to me, saying it would be worth $500 a day more in tips”
They were stunned, “$500 a day more? We only make that a day.”
“I know, how can I turn that down? Guys, what do you think I should do?”
In unison they yelled, “TAKE IT”
When Mr Logan returned upstairs, I told him I liked the move to the main bar. He was happy; one of the girls was leaving and I saved him from finding an experienced TG bartender.
“When's your next day off Ginny?” he asked, “When you come back, just go to the downstairs bar. I can't wait to see the three of you tossing bottles back and forth.”
When I said I was off Thursday, he said great, talk to him first, and he'd make sure I was comfortable.
It was my break, so I headed for the lounge to relax. Ariana was already there, so we gabbed a bit. She was thrilled for me. It was funny though, she said she wished her father could hear and see her act.
Right away I asked how she knew he didn't see her? She snorted, “The only way he could do that was by dressing in drag, and he hated 'Queers'.”
As I left, I turned and said, “You never know kid, you might be surprised.”
To be continued.
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