The Pub Aftermath, Chapter 5

Updated on May 28, 2019
PegCole17 profile image

Peg is author of The Pub A Murder Mystery and Looking for Home. Advanced Reader's Copy of The Pub's sequel may vary from the final story.

Tender boat shuttling passengers from the Ruby Princess to the Cabo shore.
Tender boat shuttling passengers from the Ruby Princess to the Cabo shore. | Source

Phone Calls

Joe got up early, plagued by bad dreams and restless sleep after her visit to the prison. Discovering that Doreen owned a necklace identical to her own somehow seemed to lessen its value in her mind. It also made her wonder about Doreen and Dick. She’d thought of herself as special to him, albeit in a platonic way. She hadn’t considered that she might not be the only one he favored.

She poured over the collection of discarded items in the spare room, sorting and marking prices with masking tape. Her efforts to keep her mind off the unnerving visit weren’t working.

“Maybe I’ll add my necklace to this pile,” she said, tossing it into a box of discarded costume jewelry. An instant change of heart made her quickly pull it back out. Rather than put it back around her neck, she slipped it into the pocket of her jeans.

When the phone rang, she fought her way out of the clutter in the spare room and ran to pick up the phone. She imagined it might be Tom who, in ways that were becoming typical, hadn’t called in days. Instead, it was a stranger’s voice.

“Is this Joe Mitchell?”

“Who’s calling?”

“This is Detective McGuiness with the Brevard County Police.” Her heart faltered for a microsecond before it started pounding.

“Yes, this is Joe.” She set her coffee on the table with shaky hands. The voice continued.

“Ms. Mitchell, do you know a person by the name of Jason Flint?” Hearing that name took her off guard. She’d given little thought to her former manager since his abrupt departure. Mainly, his absence was a welcomed gift.

“What about him?” she asked.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but he’s been found dead.”

Source

Joe’s knees grew wobbly. She slumped down into a nearby chair. Realizing it was where Jason had last sat the morning after the fire, she jumped back up and stood nervously twisting the phone cord.

Rumors had made the rounds at work about Jason’s possible involvement in the murder of Dick’s partner. Most of the staff were surprised when he was cleared early in the investigation. Some questioned how he could be cleared when a suspect hadn’t yet been arrested. Others remained unconvinced of his innocence. His reputation for excessive drinking and chauvinistic, blustery behavior didn’t win many hearts. But most of those employees no longer worked there, scattered to the wind like chaff in a town of tourists and drifters. Few remembered the facts of the case other than local business owners that tried to keep the story alive. Mystery was good for business.

It wasn’t as if Joe was surprised by the news of his death. With Jason’s tendency toward booze and food to the excess, she figured it was a heart attack.

“What happened?” she asked. The officer skillfully deflected her question.

“We’d like to ask you a few questions about Mr. Flint,” he said. “When can you come to the station for an interview?”

“What? Why me? I haven’t seen him in months!”

“I understand you worked for him,” the voice said. “Perhaps you can shed some light on questions we have about the circumstances of his . . . departure.”

“Okay, but I have to work tonight,” she answered. “Can I come by after my shift ends? It will be late.” Crap, she thought, not again. Not another investigation. The events of the recent past came flooding back.

“That’s fine. I’ll be at the station late, anyway,” Detective McGuiness said. “Someone will be there to let you in.”

~~~

Florida Police Station

Source

Joe hadn’t wanted to hear Jason’s name ever again. She’d been happy to know he was back in Jamaica where he’d managed a string of lounges before coming to The Pub. She thought about his new wife. Was her name Melinda? No, Melissa. Everyone she knew still talked about his fast-track romance with a woman he’d found working as a hostess at another restaurant. He’d picked her up when he was scouting the competition, looking to steal entertainers from other restaurants and talk them into working at The Pub.

He’d fallen fast for the buxom redhead half his age. Their unexpected romance had simmered during the trial. She’d become a regular at the lounge, sitting so close to Jason it often looked like she was in his lap. Their public displays of affection embarrassed even the most seasoned staff who avoided their booth unless summoned.

After Tom was charged with the partner’s murder, Joe focused on her musician friend with no time to spare for Jason or his latest romance.

Now, one phone call put Jason back into the center of things.

When the phone rang a second time Joe was unnerved. This time it was Tom.

“Have you heard the news?” he asked.

“Well, hello to you, too,” she said. “Yes, I’ve heard.”

“Oh yeah, hello!” he said. “Sorry about that. But isn’t that fabulous news?” Tom’s hatred for Jason was no secret. Customers and staff were witness to their frequent verbal battles. In fact, anyone who’d worked at the restaurant knew to expect a shouting match anytime the former manager and the musician crossed paths. One of Jason’s final moves at the Pub had been to fire Tom along with almost every other musician his predecessor, Bob, had hired.

“I can’t say it’s a good thing to hear that name again,” Joe answered twisting the phone cord in her fingers.

Tom chuckled.

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You

“I just got a call from a Detective McGuiness,” she said. “They want to ask me some questions.” She moved to a stool at the breakfast bar and sat down. She tipped an empty coffee mug to her lips and looked longingly at the empty coffee carafe.

“Yeah, he called me, too,” Tom cackled loudly. Joe held the receiver away from her ear until he stopped.

“Tom,” she scolded.

“It was all I could do to keep from cheering,” he added. Joe frowned. She had her own reasons to dislike Jason but none went as far as wishing him dead.

She was suddenly glad she hadn’t shared her news about her plans to leave town. She and Tom were at the point of no return in their relationship. With his inability to remain monogamous and her unwillingness to put up with it, it was only a matter of time before she called it quits.

“I’ll talk to you later,” she told the delirious Tom before hanging up on him.

The phone rang almost immediately and Joe considered not answering it. The first call telling her about Jason’s death started the morning off badly. Of course, it hadn’t gone all that well for Jason, either. Then, Tom’s call with his thoughtless remarks reminded Joe of the tension that had filled her life for months at The Pub. Besides costing him his job, it had made things difficult between she and Jason.

But it wasn’t Tom calling back. This time it was Dick.

“Good morning, Joe. I hope I haven’t called too early.”

She hadn’t heard from the owner since the new management took over at the restaurant. His hands-on management style had gone by the wayside after the murder. The corner booth she’d shared with him on many nights was now filled with strange new faces of the piano crowd, a new crew of customers and boss kissers. Joe watched it all play out from her hostess podium in the lobby. She’d been effectively voted out of the inner circle.

“Hello there, stranger,” she said, hoping it wasn’t more bad news.

Source

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ve been meaning to call but there’s been so much going on with the transition of the partnership.” There was a moment of awkward silence before he continued.

“That’s okay,” she said, fumbling one handed with making a new pot of coffee. She spilled some coffee grounds and brushed them into the sink.

“I got a call earlier and wanted to give you a head’s up,” Dick said. She put the receiver between her shoulder and her ear as she filled the reservoir with water, then pushed down the lid and started the machine.

“If it’s about Jason, I’ve already heard.” The words came out colder than she intended. She softened her tone and asked, “What happened? I thought he’d left town.”

“Well, he did, but he came back a few weeks ago,” he told her. “He’d married some woman he’d met at one of the restaurants along the strip.”

“Yeah, I heard about that.” She couldn’t imagine the swaggering, lecherous Jason in a committed relationship.

“She has a young son,” he added. Joe felt worse for the kid than she did for his mother whose judgement she seriously questioned.

“I know that will be hard on them both.”

“But I didn’t call just to tell you that.”

“Really,” she said. “I hope it’s not more bad news.”

“Oh, I don’t think it is,” he said. “I’ve got a proposition for you.”

Uh oh. Here it comes. She thought about the necklace.

Can't Go For That

“Oh, sorry, that didn’t come out like I intended it to.” He chuckled. “I meant to say, I have a job that you might be interested in.” Now he had her undivided attention. “It’s something I think you’d like.” With the recent cut in her working schedule, her paycheck would no longer be enough to cover rent and utilities. It was the main reason she wanted to leave town - hoping for a better paying job.

“What kind of a job?” she asked.

“Let’s discuss it over lunch,” he suggested. “I miss your company.”

“I’ve got to be at The Pub by three,” she told him. She was on the schedule to work the dinner service which would end around eight o’clock. It was just enough hours to take up most of her day but not a full eight hours.

“That’ll give us plenty of time,” he said.

“Okay,” she told him. “That sounds great.” She didn’t mention the call from the detective. She figured they could talk about that at lunch.

“How about meeting me at the Lobster Pot around eleven-thirty?” The Lobster Pot restaurant was about five miles north of The Pub their closest competitor and where many of their former employees had ended up working.

She agreed.

“Okay, I’ll see you there.”

After the call ended, Joe became optimistic for the first time in a long while. It quickly morphed into a sense of foreboding once she remembered the interview scheduled for later that evening with Detective McGuiness.

Sailing, Christopher Cross

© 2019 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello dear Maria,

      Wonderful of you to take an evening reading the latest on this developing story. Your affection for Joe is music to my ears and means I've created a likable character. Surprisingly, it's easier to develop up the bad actors. LOL. They're a lot of fun, too.

      Love right back at you and again, thanks for taking your valuable time to read this.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Peg,

      Listening to Christopher Cross and thinking of you naturally.

      I'm going to enjoy my evening of catching up with this captivating story -this installment is no exception.

      I love Joe more and more with each chapter.

      Love and hugs, Maria

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Jackie, Sorry you're having problems with getting notices. Seems like I've missed a few notifications, too. Hope they work it all out.

      I sure do appreciate you coming by to read this release and so glad you're enjoying it. Thanks a lot.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 months ago from The Beautiful South

      So interesting, and can't wait to catch up. Think I have the problem solved on getting my notices. Sure hope so but absolutely won't miss this.

      You are a great storyteller!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Shauna, You've raised several possibilities for Dick's motives. Yes, it is strange that he met her at a place where she might run into former coworkers. I appreciate your thought process in figuring all this out as well as your kind remarks about Joe. So glad you came by.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 months ago from Central Florida

      This is getting interesting, Peg. I love that you make Joe real by describing her movements as she talks on the phone. I clearly pictured the scene.

      I wonder what Dick has up his sleeve. It's a bit suspicious (or telltale) that he's meeting Joe at the very place where most of The Pub's ex-employees are now working. Is he opening a new restaurant with the intent of recruiting the old staff members? Time will tell, right?

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Flourish. Tom's not one to hold back his true feelings. So true that not everyone acts appropriately when hearing that sort of news.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      I liked your description of Tom's reaction to Jason's death. Not everyone acts appropriately and can hide their real emotions.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Dana, Glad you're on board for this story. Thanks for coming by.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Can't wait for chapter 6, I'm anxious to see how this plays out in the end.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi William, Thanks so much for liking the carrots. Will be ready to put Chapter 6 out there pretty soon. Just looking for a couple of photos and some music. Thanks for coming by.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I like what Bill H. said about the carrot dangling. He's absolutely right. That means I'll be looking for the next chapter. Hope it's soon!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Liz. I appreciate you coming by and thanks for checking out the story.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      There are so many twists and turns in your plot. It engages our interest and keeps us wondering what will happen next.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Bill, your words are kind and uplifting, made of the kind of stuff that keeps writers motivated. I really appreciate you stopping by to take a look at this latest chapter. And thanks for the wonderful comment. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You really are good at dangling carrots out for us, but never quite allowing us to nibble. :) Little teasers throughout leave us wanting more constantly, and that is a trick the very good mystery writers learn early on with their trade. Well done!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Pamela. I fixed a couple of typos that someone noticed earlier or you would certainly have seen them! A fresh set of eyes is always welcomed along with your thoughtful comments. Thank you for your encouragement.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I enjoyed this chapter as usual lately. I wonder who killed Jason, and I also wonder what the new job offer will be for JoeI see no errors or problems in your writing, and I think this easily could be a book. Good job Peg, you've got me hooked.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hi Peggy, Glad to see you jump right in here. Thanks so much. Here's a hint that may not be completely clear in the story yet. In Chapter 1 he's wearing Gucci loafers. Hope to keep you guessing all the way through. Smiling.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I like how you give us little bits of information (such as that necklace) that will obviously take on more meaning as this story continues. What is the cause of Jason's death? What will be the job proposal for Joe? I am now hooked on reading more of your episodes, Peg.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hey V, I also remember when they would bring a phone to your table back in the day at restaurants and clubs. And there was always a payphone near the restroom.

      Remember pagers? Only important people had them at first. Or people who wanted to look important.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 months ago from Canada

      Hey Peg. Just remembered going to a club lounge one time where each table had its own telephone, and feeling like I was in the 'future'. Now of course each person has a phone, so it's no big deal.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Verlie, You're funny. I love the percolating right along comment. I also love the old telephones. With the story set back in the days before wireless phones it was surprisingly hard to find online images of wired phones. I guess I could have taken a photo of mine on the wall. LOL Anyhow, so glad you came by today.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 months ago from Canada

      Hi Peg, Wowee, those telephones are ringing! Excellent image choice for this installment. Funny how the old dial telephones conjure up so many images without even mentioning.

      In my world spilled coffee would be all over the kitchen countertop. Joe is showing her immaculate house-keeping skills in that scene. She is a sharp character, now with the necklace in her jeans pocket. This is percolating right along, and thanks for the songs...

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Sailing by Christopher Cross sure brings me back to my distant past.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      That's a good one, Mike. Yes, he's back! Like a bad Peggy. Oh, I meant, Penny. It's Larry. So Tom, Dick and hahahah! Glad to see you here early on this Saturday morning. Hope your day is grand. Thanks for stopping in.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - We find ourselves in a pivotal chapter, and Joe finds herself at the center of interest. Every Tom, Dick and, what was Detective McGuiness' first name. ( a little joke)

      Jason who caused so much trouble in life, carries on his tradition in death.

      I am lead to believe the necklace carries more significance than it first appeared.

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