“Gloria, why didn’t you tell me earlier that Stacks was your son?”
“Well Candace, the truth is, from the first moment I saw you, crazy things started happening, then we started talking and I just didn’t think about it.”
“You are right about that, Gloria. Even with the George episode, tonight has been an enjoyable night for me. I do not know how to thank you enough, for letting me tell you about my week. Just telling the story helped me to relax and let go of this week’s stress.”
“Great, now was that all that happened or is there more to your story,” Gloria asked Candace.
“I have only told you about events up to Wednesday morning. I cannot say things became worse, but they certainly did not get any better.”
Sheila came to the table bringing them another cup of coffee and telling them about a drunken customer that Stacks had to escort out of the bar.
“I cannot believe that jerk William Higgins, decided to pick a fight with Mark Jessop, of all people. Mark is such an easy-going person and he never even went near the man,” Sheila said.
“Do you know what caused the argument in the first place?” Gloria, asked her.
“That’s the strangest part, there was no argument. William simply walked over to him and told him that he was to meet him out front, because he was going to kick his backside. William really didn’t say backside, but seeing as how I am a lady, I changed the word,” Sheila said with a laugh.
“Now that is some news to tell us. Lady is it, well lady, do not just stand there, please tell us what happened.”
“Yeah right, well he walks up to Mark and he tells him, ‘I saw you looking at my wife and I am not going to put up with you flirting with her like that. You do it every week and now I am going to kick your backside. I will be out front and you better be showing up for the fight or I will come back in here and get you.’ So, he takes off outside, when the dummy suddenly remembers that he left his wife in here with Mark. He comes back in and starts pulling Janet out the door. Janet was trying to pull away from him, when he slapped her, which is when Stacks took off, to stop the trouble.”
“Is Stacks alright,” Candace, asked her.
“Who Stacks? Of course, he is, it would take fifty William Higgins to bring down Stacks,” Sheila told her.
Candace looked at Gloria to see if she was in agreement with Sheila’s assessment of Stack’s abilities, when Gloria patted her hand.
“He is ex-Navy Seal and spends his days lifting weights, and sparring at Wong’s dojo and he is a third degree black belt, so honey, don’t worry about him. Now, Sheila, will you please finish telling us what happened?”
Candace was surprised to hear that Stacks was a virtual fighting machine. Glancing towards the bar, she could see it in the way he carried himself, with an air of rock hard self-assurance, not to mention that his body was a sculptor’s work of art.
“By the time Stacks gets to the front of the bar, William had already pulled Janet out the door. That is when Mark goes up to him and tells him what was going on and that William said he would pull him out of the bar if he did not come outside and fight. Stacks then told Mark to come tell me to call the police, and then he went outside to keep William from coming back in and doing what he said he would do,” Sheila continued.
“Sheila looked at Gloria then grinned and said, “After I called the police, I of course had to go outside to see what was happening. By the time I got there, William was on the ground with a bloody lip, and Janet was smiling and trying to flirt with Stacks. Stacks looked so funny holding his hands out, doing his best to keep her away from him. He was talking to her and trying to persuade Janet to quit flirting with him and other men. When he saw me, he called me over and literally pulled me between Janet and himself,” Sheila said laughing.
“That’s our Stacks,” Gloria laughingly replied, “He can handle himself with a bunch of men, but one woman attacks and he is begging for help.”
“Yeah and was he ever relieved when the police got here. The police officers were Doug and Sherri, friends of Stacks,” Sheila interjected for Candace’s benefit, then continued, “Stacks explained what was happening and asked that William and Janet be taken home, not to jail. Doug and Sherri agreed and hauled them off.”
“Oh, Stacks is giving me his evil eye, I suppose I had better get back to work,” Sheila said and then left.
“Well, I guess we missed all the excitement. Thank goodness, Sheila tells me everything that goes on around here. If it were left up to Stacks, I would never know anything.”
“Does things like this happen all the time around here,” Candace, asked.
“Well, not all the time, but I guess it is inevitable, it seems that alcohol and some people are not a good combination. Most of the time, it is someone who normally is a mouse, who can only be a lion when they are drunk.”
Candace was smiling when she said,” so what is Stacks when he drinks?”
“Ah, that is the beauty of it, Stacks has nothing to prove, so he does not drink. He says that if he were to start drinking, he would just make a fool of himself and he would not be able to own a bar. Of course, that is the way his father and I felt when we owned it.”
“I am so glad that Mark was not hurt tonight. That poor man never causes any trouble and he certainly never flirts with Janet. Mark is our grandpa penguin, around here, who cannot see three feet in front of his nose. I keep telling him he needs glasses, but he says he has a pair and when he gets home he will put them on.”
Trying to hide her laughter behind her hand, Gloria continued, “Look towards the bathroom, see the little elderly man in the black suit with the white shirt? Watch him walk…”
As Gloria stopped talking, to watch Mark Jessop walking back from the restrooms, Candace saw him waddling exactly as a penguin does.
“Oh, goodness Gloria, he is going to break his neck. He has hit and tripped over everything and everyone in his path. He is walking just like a penguin,” Candace said while giggling into her hand, trying to stifle her laugher.
Laughing with her, Gloria said, “Now you see will why I started trying to find which bird goes with which man. If you watch close enough, you will see that there are many people who remind you of birds, and other animals as well.”
“Now that is enough of that, you were just starting to tell me about what happened on Wednesday, when Sheila interrupted us,” Gloria said.”
Getting her mind off Mark and his penguin walk was not an easy task, but Candace tried to bring her laughter and thoughts back under her control.
“Yes, well let me see, I guess it was around ten o’clock in the morning when my mechanic called to tell me that the sound I had complained about, was my car was about to throw a rod, from lack of oil. It seems that there was a hole in the oil pan, and the oil was leaking from my car. If I had not called them when I did, then I would have thrown a rod, which would have ruined my motor, completely. He asked me if I wanted him to replace the pan, which of course I did, then he told me how much it would cost.
After taking a sip from her coffee, she continued, “The price was reasonable, so I told him it was fine and I asked him to call me when he was finished. I went about cleaning my home and at about one-thirty, he called back. It seems that once he removed the pan, he found that someone had deliberately punctured a hole in the pan, with what he thought had to have been a knife, and had cut almost all the way through the brake lines and damaged quite a few other things as well.”
“No, oh goodness Candace, who would want to hurt you like that,” Gloria said with a look of shocked indignation on her face.”
“I do not know Gloria. I have tried to think about that very thing and I just do not know. I always speak to my neighbors and we are on friendly terms. I go nowhere else except to work and the store. As far as I know, I did not have anyone angry with me, at the time. Now, I may have those who were in the wreck, irritated with me; and my ex-boss may be upset with me, but not before Monday.”
“Did you call the police so that they could check it out?”
“Yes I did, just as soon as I was finished talking with Ed Sanders, my mechanic.”
“I know Ed Sanders; he owns Sanders and Son’s Auto repair. He is an extremely good man, very honest and does excellent auto repair. If he said someone did it on purpose, then he is right. Now what did the police have to say?”
“What could they say? They asked me a million questions about who would want to hurt me or want me dead, and of course, I had no answers for them. They asked if I could go to a friend’s house or my parents, but I told them that I would not impose on my friends and that my parents, were living in England, and would be there until Dads job brought him back to the states. One of the officers told me, that I should buy a gun and of course get a permit for it. I wish I knew what was going on Gloria, I wish I knew.”
Gloria was frowning and shaking her head.
“Do you know how to use a gun Candace?”
“As a matter of fact I do, and I even own a gun, but I have never shot anything except targets. I do not know if I could ever shoot anyone, even to save my life.”
“Yes you could Candace, when pushed; you will be surprised what you are able to do. I think we need to talk to Stacks about this, he may be able to find some way to help you.”
“No! I do not want anyone to be hurt trying to help me. Do you understand Gloria? I could never forgive myself if anyone was to try to help and were hurt or died in the process. Promise me you will not say anything to him Gloria, please promise me.” Candace implored her.
“Candace I understand how you feel, about not getting others involved. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to my son either, but I don’t want you to be harmed, when there are those who could help you.”
“Thank you Gloria, but I did not tell you this in hopes of being helped. In fact, I do not know why I even mentioned this part of my week at all. I had no plans of saying anything about it, when I opened my big mouth and it came out. Please try to forget I said anything and do not mention anything about it at all to Stacks, all right?”
Gloria reluctantly agreed, but in her mind, Gloria was hoping to find a way to keep her promise and let Stacks know what was going on, when Candace started speaking.
“You do understand now, why I cannot try to get to know Stacks anytime soon?”
To be continued…