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The Pub Murder Mystery, Chapter 1

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Peggy Cole is a self-published author who enjoys writing fiction stories, book reviews and articles about simpler times.

Joe watched as dawn broke over the channel.

Joe watched as dawn broke over the channel.

May 1975 - Leftovers

Joe watched from her car as dawn broke over the channel. On the dock, a fisherman readied his boat for the day's work. She longed to spend the day on the ocean with the wind in her hair. But weeks had passed since her boss, Dick, had invited her for a cruise in his boat. She wondered how things could have turned sour so quickly.

She sighed and headed toward the lounge noting only two cars in the parking lot. Those belonged to customers that rode home with someone else after the lounge lounge closed. Leftovers.

The lock clicked open and she stepped into the dark and an odor of stale beer. The quiet was a pleasant contrast to the noise during business hours. The trail of stains down the hallway led to the service area where she made a pot of coffee.

Schedule the carpet cleaners, she thought, waiting for the Bunn-O-Matic to stop. She filled her favorite mug and trudged through the kitchen catching a glimpse of herself in the stainless steel appliances. At the tiny office, she turned the air conditioner to maximum sending a cloud of vapor into the room.

"Home sweet home," she said, dumping the ashtray into the bin outside the door. She pulled out the bank register and tossed her purse into the bottom file drawer. While her eyes poured over entries, she thought about the things she once liked about the job. Like counting the stacks of money. But things had changed. Paychecks were bouncing and the staff was blaming her. She had to figure out what had gone wrong.

She couldn't afford to lose this job.


One of the things she liked about the job was the free meal every day. Fancy restaurant meals weren't something she could afford on her salary at the bank. But there was a catch.

"There's no such thing as a free lunch," Dick often said. It was his favorite thing to rattle on about besides Plan B. "Always have a Plan B." He'd said it again yesterday.

"Yeah, I know." She rolled her eyes.

When she first took the job, she and Dick often drove up the coast to eat dinner at other restaurants. "We have to check out the competition," he said. He wrote it off as a business expense. But the truth was, he liked to be chauffeured around by pretty women. They were expected to limit their drinking so they could drive him home, while he nodded off in a stupor. There were other girls he favored with the same treatment. That was okay with Joe. She was happy for a chance to drive the fast, powerful and pricey Maserati.

When they were close to the condo he shared with his wife and mother-in-law, he'd always say, "You can let me out here. The night is perfect for a walk." But Joe knew the reason he got out a couple of blocks away from home.

Citroen Maserati

Citroen Maserati

"Just take the car home with you," he'd say. "Drive it in to work in the morning." She'd only done that one time. It was a bad move.

"Looks like somebody got lucky last night," the first-shift bartender said, snickering as he wiped the counter.

"What?" she sputtered. "No! I drove Dick's car to my house." The words spilled out before she could stop them. Shut up. You're making it worse. She turned to the fountain and drew a club soda, her face turning bright red.

"Guess that makes you someone's pet then, doesn't it?" He busied himself setting up for the lunch service. She'd spent the rest of the morning sulking in the tiny office, thinking about her old job at the bank.

She had enjoyed working at the brand new high-rise building. A decorator's dream, it was expensively furnished with tapestries, oak desks and marble countertops. The prosperity didn't spill over to its employees' salaries. Even so, there was a waiting list to work there. Eight-to-five jobs were hard to find in the tourist town.

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Joe's hope for a future at the bank was crushed the day they promoted the security guard to head teller. She griped with the other tellers but she was the only one looking for a way out.

"He's never worked one day as a teller," hissed Betty. "Now he's in charge?" She'd served as acting head teller since the last one retired.

"Yeah," her assistant agreed. "Big deal, so he carries a gun. All he ever does is gawk at customers and jangle his keys."

"Five-to-midnight with one weekend off a month? They've got to be kidding." Joe sat in the break room scouring the want ads. Most of the jobs listed were in hotels or restaurants where tourists ebbed in and out with the tide. In hospitality jobs, workers drifted from one place to another. Joe wasn't like that. She wanted stability.

She thought she had found that at the Pub.

Joe ran the numbers again searching for something to explain the overdraft. She had to find the error to remove any doubt about her bookkeeping abilities. At nine, she would call customers with past-due house accounts. That was a job she didn't like. She couldn't understand why management let people run up tabs into thousands of dollars. Even Dick's tab was overdue. She put his file aside and moved to the next one. If she worked hard she might bring in enough funds to cover payroll, two days away. That wouldn't cover the liquor order due next week. She searched for the bank statements but they weren't in the file despite her constant reminders to Bob, the general manager.

"I need those statements," she'd reminded him two days earlier. He'd blown her off. She pushed harder. "What if Ervin shows up? The last time he was here that's the first thing he wanted to see." Bringing up the CPA from hell turned Bob's face into a dark angry mask.

"If he shows up, tell him to ask me," he shouted, spit flying. Tomato juice sloshed from his glass as he teetered about, hunched under the low ceiling.

"Like I said, I balanced them myself while you were wasting time on some other worthless crap." That was a new one, even for the master of insults.

"You don't need them to do your job," he screamed, storming out of the office. Through the closed door he yelled, "I need that staff schedule I told you to get done. Work on something useful for a change."

That was the last time she'd seen him.

the-pub-a-fiction-story-part-1

Joe wondered if Bob's infatuation with Doreen had to do with the state of the books. Flings among the staff were common as hangovers and as quickly forgotten. This one was different. Bob fell hard for Doreen and she took advantage of it. The staff grumbled that she got special treatment, although, no one dared bring it up to Bob.

Lately, Joe sensed trouble brewing between Bob and Doreen. That would explain his foul mood over the past few weeks when he’d show up slurping tomato juice and vodka from the looks of it, barking orders and scowling more than usual.

She ran the numbers and came up with the same balance. Two hours flew by as she poured over the register. The clatter of pans and dishes sounded from the kitchen as staff showed up for work. Her eyes were bleary when the office door squeaked open and Dick stood in the doorway with a grim expression. Something was up. He never came in this early.

“Bob’s gone,” he said. His eyes drifted to the tangle of adding machine tapes that snaked across the desk. The pencil Joe took from her mouth left a smear of black on her lip.

“What do you mean gone?” she asked

“He’s disappeared.” He formed his hands like a bird in flight.

“How do you figure?” She smirked, thinking he was making one of his corny accounting jokes. She waited for the punch line, but his expression remained somber. He lowered his bulk to the bench across from her.

“I drove by Bob's place on my way to breakfast. He always parks in the same spot but his car’s not there. When he didn’t answer the door, I peeked in and the place looked empty. Nothing but the bare furniture.” Joe waited for him to go on.

“You know his place always looks like a train wreck with clothes draped over the furniture and dirty dishes everywhere, even during staff meetings.” Once a month, the employees gathered at Bob’s for a breakfast meeting before going out on Dick’s boat.

“The room looks like it did before he moved in. Between that and the car not in its usual spot…”

Bob rarely drove his gas-guzzling car to the restaurant. He used that as an excuse to borrow Dick’s car to make the bank deposit while the owner ate lunch. He bragged that walking kept him in peak shape. Joe had to admit, for a man in his fifties, he was lean and muscular not paunchy like some. She looked at Dick's bulging belly.

“Maybe he’s with Doreen,” Joe said, instantly regretting it. Everyone knew about Bob’s obsession with Doreen. Maybe not everyone. She doubted if Dick knew. He was oblivious to much of the drama at the place.

His eyes drifted to the pencil mark on her lips. His affection for her, she knew, ran deeper than he would admit. But she could tell. She always could tell that about men, for as long as she could remember. The way he stared at her with a dreamy expression when he thought she wasn’t looking. It was nothing new. She turned heads. Over the years, she’d grown used to double takes from strangers. Beauty was a mixed blessing that drew hazards.

Flings among the staff were as common as hangovers and usually as quickly forgotten. This one was different. Bob had fallen hard for Doreen and she took full advantage of it. The staff grumbled that she got the choice shifts and better tables than the other wait staff, although, no one dared mention it to him. That subject was strictly off limits.

They sat quietly in the wake of the news of Bob’s disappearance. Bob’s departure meant she’d get a new boss. Worse, Ervin, the other owner, would be flying in to paw through the books and create havoc for everyone, her in particular. His knack for making people miserable with little effort was clear during his last visit.

“This is a black hole where my money disappears!” She’d heard him scream at Dick.

Beyond his tactless interrogation, he tended to stare at her with an intensity that left her squeamish. She never knew which of his cold, black eyes to look at. The last time he was in town, he’d made it clear he was tired of the losses. In a thriving restaurant with packed lounges and heavy dinner business, it seemed impossible they were losing money. But the money was going somewhere.

Beyond his quirky nature and oppressive personality, Ervin had the financial means to keep the Pub open. That gave him a sizeable amount of power. With the current state of finances, she wasn’t sure if either partner would put more money into the restaurant. If they didn’t, it would fold putting her job on the line along with everyone else there. Dick broke the silence.

“I’ve asked Chip to take on the management duties until we can hire someone.”

“Oh,” she said, struggling to hide her disappointment. The assistant manager wouldn’t be her first choice when it came to replacing Bob. Although he acted friendly, something dark lurked beneath the surface of the muscle-bound bouncer. She knew if Dick already talked to Chip, the rest of the staff probably knew about Bob, too. The second-hand news stung more than his choice for Bob’s replacement.

Dick reached across the table and patted her on the shoulder, then, shuffled out leaving her in the gloom of the space which closed in around her. She overheard Dick in the kitchen telling Denny to spread the word about a staff meeting before lunch.

Muffled voices filtered in through the thin walls. Reactions varied. One employee with a loud voice vented his frustration.

“That’s just great,” he said before the grumbling turned to silence.

“Staff meeting at eleven,” Denny announced in the dining room where two waitresses folded cloth napkins. They stopped and glared at the chef as he continued down the hall. Doreen slammed silverware onto a linen triangle and rolled up the edges. Her companion cast a furtive glance across the table.

“They probably just came up with some more rules,” she said, “as if we need any more.” Doreen nodded and they resumed their task.

Denny’s voice carried down the hallway as he moved into the lounge. He stopped servers carrying pitchers of iced tea and condiments and told them about the meeting.

At precisely eleven, a restless crowd shuffled around in the breakroom. Typical of a small town, rumors spread at the speed of sound in the restaurant. By the time Dick came in, many already knew what was coming. The room drew silent as they waited for him to make the official announcement.

“Bob is no longer with us,” he began. For a few of the late comers, the news took them by surprise. Doreen’s reaction was the most surprising.

“Why that scoundrel!” she said loud enough for anyone nearby to overhear. Heads swiveled toward the back of the room and there was muffled laughter. She stood a few feet away from Chewy who glanced at her with compassion mixed with a glimmer of hope. Months earlier, he’d tried to win her heart with boxed chocolates and bouquets of flowers he’d sent to her home address. With the stage set, he’d finally dredged up the courage to ask her out.

“How about a movie?” he’d asked.

“You and me?” Her eyebrows shot up toward her hairline.

“Sure,” he told her. “Death Wish is on at the drive in. It’s got Charles Bronson.”

“Not in this lifetime,” she’d answered with disdain walking away her nose in the air. Her rejections weren’t just for Chewy. Her cold indifference applied to every male who’d shown interest. That was, until Bob came along with his distinguished good looks and trim physique.

“Looks like the Ice Queen has finally melted,” one of the bus boys had said when news about the manager and the waitress spread.

While Dick droned on about Chip being in charge for the moment and his plans to advertise for a new manager, Chewy used the time to focus on Doreen.

Bob may have won her over for a while, but now, she’ll warm up to me. With Bob out of the picture, I have a better chance. He decided to make her jealous using Joe as bait. He smiled at the thought. Jealousy will tip the scales in my favor.

Doreen held her tongue during the rest of the meeting, seething quietly in her rage. She knew more about Bob’s absence than anyone. He’s no different from the rest, she brooded; a scowl pasted on her face. He used me! The words screamed in her head, blocking out Dick's voice. She was oblivious to everything but her new plan of action.

I know more about that liar’s disappearance than anyone here. She frowned as she thought about his betrayal. While the others listened to Dick, she worked out the details of her revenge. They’ll be sorry they messed with me. They’ll all be sorry. By that point, her anger and desire for revenge overflowed a single target and grew to include her coworkers. Suddenly her scowl changed to a smile.

“That’ll do it for now,” Dick said drawing the meeting to a close. Any questions the group wanted to ask about the manager’s whereabouts remained unasked as the staff scattered. Theories surfaced about embezzlement and missing cash as they bustled about getting the dining room ready for the waiting crowd. The aroma of sizzling meat and spices flooded the room where guests started to filter in.

Survivors of previous upheavals knew the coming days would bring uncertainty.

Disclaimer

This is Chapter 1 of a novel by Peggy Cole. All rights are reserved. No part of this may be copied or transmitted in any form without written permission from the author.

This story is fiction. Names, characters, businesses, and locations are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or locales is coincidental.

© 2012 Peg Cole

Comments

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 08, 2019:

Thank you so much, Dora. The finished book is available in print copy or eBook. I took down the last chapters due to copyright concerns. I'm working on a sequel to The Pub now. Just released Chapter 2 yesterday. Hope you'll follow along.

Wondering if your Caribbean story is in print? Your story is captivating. I would love to buy a copy.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 08, 2019:

Peg, great story telling! The news of Bob's disappearance caught me as off-guardedly as it did the staff. I'm following. I like the book cover.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 05, 2017:

Hi Dabby, Nice of you to drop by and leave a thoughtful, kind comment. This series was written one chapter at a time on HubPages. The encouragement of other writers and visitors kept it going. I'm hoping to put the original first draft back out here. It differs slightly from the book.

Dabby Lyric on December 04, 2017:

Hello Peggy, Congrats to you! I really enjoyed reading the excerpt. The characters are relatable, it reads smoothly and I like how the story started. Very cool pictures used as well.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 03, 2017:

It is hard to believe how fast time flies, Mike. I'm putting the original chapters back out here - at least most of them. I cherish the comments that I received during the creation of this series. Thanks for stopping back by.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on December 03, 2017:

Hello Peg - I am reading through the comments. What strikes me most, after all the glowing reviews, is that it has been five years. How can that be?

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 03, 2017:

Hello William, Thanks for dropping in. I'm working on putting the chapters back out here one at a time. About ready to re-release Chapter 2. Glad to see you here.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 03, 2017:

A little late on this one, Peg, but I'm glad I found it. You have my attention!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 17, 2016:

Thank you, Mar, for all your supportive efforts in the production and release of the book. I will ever be grateful for your wonderful foreword and positive comments. Love You friend. I'm glad you stopped in again today! I'm about 1700 words into a sequel! Aftermath - The Pub Crew. I hope the mood strikes to keep going and that it doesn't take four more years. LOL

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 17, 2016:

"I am eager to follow this one. I know it's only SIMMERING..."

From four years ago, dear Peg. And your meticulous efforts are most obvious in your 'finished' product... :) I love "The Pub"!

So wonderful to see your supportive comments from friends of our past...drbj, Dusty, Rosemay and epi, to name a few...

Now you can't go wrong with a QUEEN backdrop - thanks for my morning jam! Love you, mar

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 08, 2014:

Hello Peg - Get the story the way you want it. You are getting to be a pro at this writing trade and are honing your craft.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 07, 2014:

Mike, you are such an inspiration. I will try to finish my edits soon. I keep finding stuff that I want to change. Guess I'll never finish at this rate.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 07, 2014:

Motivation - I saved up my allowance to buy a copy.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 07, 2014:

Shyron, So nice of you to find this one and leave such a fine comment. Yes, there are several more chapters still published. I have unpublished the others for rewrites, but the story is now completed with 20 something chapters. Waiting for motivation to publish as an eBook.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on August 07, 2014:

Peg, this is so interesting, is there a follow up, will we find out what happened to Bob?

I love Eagles video.

Voted up,UABI and shared.

Shyron

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 19, 2013:

Darling Epigramman. Oh what a thrill to find you opening Chapter 1 of this novella that I finally concluded. And for you to share it on FB for all to see is more than generous. I've been over on Amazon just this moment trying to decide on the download for PC Kindle or if I should just bite the bullet and buy one. I am such a techno phobe. But if I ever get there my first purchase will be your new e-book, Funny Thirty. You are so special and I'm thrilled for you to get published. Congratulations on your 1st, 2nd and many many more books.

So long to you for the moment and I hope to see you for coffee after the next few chapters of The Pub.

Love

Peg, Tony, Cookie and Brian Williams (my feral cat who used to be known as Ms. Kitty)

epigramman on June 19, 2013:

Well my precious Peg I really must start reading your Pub 'book' series - the titles intrigue me and you are what I often call Mike , a writer's writer with an evocative narrative style which immediately transports me to a time and a place with finely etched characters.

I will madly and gladly share this on my FB wall for all to see and read and I am sincerely sending to you my warmest wishes and good energy from Colin and his cats Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel at lake erie time ontario canada 2:09pm on a beautiful summer's day with a lovely southwest breeze off the water.

And thank you so much for your support of my 2 books - and coming from someone special like you really means a lot to me.

And I couldn't have done it without Mike and Vicki

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on June 04, 2013:

Hi AliciaC. Thank you for coming by. Welcome and I hope you will have the time available to read the rest of the story.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 04, 2013:

This looks like it's going to be a very interesting series, Peg. I have so much reading to catch up on! I'm looking forward to reading all the other chapters in your novel.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 05, 2013:

Hi MartieCoetser. Thank you for starting into this novel in progress. I understand your reluctance to read an unfinished work. Somehow it keeps me moving forward to complete this as I publish my ongoing chapters. I hope you will come back when it gets nearer to a finished work. Thank you for the wonderful comment and for the kind visit.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 05, 2013:

Peggy, I have postponing reading your novel because I prefer reading novels when all chapters are published, but curiosity got me this time. I like your background and characters, writing style and the way you hook your readers.

Absolutely excellent. I'll be back soon to read on.....

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 21, 2013:

Hi Sgbrown. Thanks for returning to pick this series up again. It gives me a reason to review and make improvements when I read it over after new comments arrive. I saw your hub on "The New Pub" this morning and it was so perfect to add here. Maybe I'll have to make a trip to OK and get some pics for The Pub. Smiling at your comment and thanks again.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 21, 2013:

I started reading this series a while back and then got distracted. I am back and going to get caught up. Thank you for the link! On to chapter 2! Up and more, again. :)

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on February 21, 2013:

Hello Faith and welcome to The Pub series. Thank you for stopping in here and I hope you will find the next chapters as "intriguing". I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments and kind words.

Peg

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 20, 2013:

Intriguing beginning to this story, and I am ready to get caught up with the 11 chapters to go! Watch out, Jason has arrived from Jamaica. It's going to be good. Love your photos.

Excellent write here.

In His Love, Faith Reaper

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on November 23, 2012:

Hello SG. Thanks! So glad to see you here. I'm still working on publishing Chapter 8 so it is a slow go from my end. Hope you'll stick around! :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on November 23, 2012:

Well, you have me hooked! Great job with "Chapter 1". I will be back to read more right away! Voting up and more! :)

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 31, 2012:

Hello Vespawoolf. Thanks for the visit today and for reading chapter one of this story under development. I do appreciate your comments and your time. All the best to you.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 31, 2012:

I'm left wondering what havoc Jason will wreak on the characters in the little pub! This is very descriptive and I can imagine both the characters and the scene you've set. Voted up!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 16, 2012:

Hello Mary, Congrats on winning "best avatar" award. You deserve it! That is a good one. Thanks for the follow. Your new profile design displayed a few hubs of yours that are calling to me as well. I appreciate your visit and the kind words. Thank you so much and hope you will have time to follow along!

Mary Craig from New York on August 16, 2012:

Okay, you have an audience hooked on your writing and your story. Just enough information to have us wondering, and enough detail to make us want more. Well written and intriguing. As soon as I get time I'm reading chapter two!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 14, 2012:

That sounds great, Cygnet. Good to hear you have a professional editor! Cover design? Wow. Terrific. Way to go!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 14, 2012:

Hello Amy. So sorry for the delay in responding. My internet blew a tire and I was off line for most of the day yesterday. I must tell you how much your comment means to me and what a fantastic lift to my day it was to read your words. The lady in the picture is my Aunt Inez who was much like this character, Joe. She was ahead of her time and quite a pistol. I spent a couple of summers with her in my teens.

You are the reigning Queen of words and get to wear the tiera all day and sit in the owner's booth with Dick watching the drama! Later a placque will be hung in your honor on the wall with the stuffed marlin. lol. Thanks, Amy.

Peg

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on August 13, 2012:

Hi Peg, I am still working with my editor friend--Megan. She's finishing the chapter by chapter, and I'm assessing her changes. I should be done in a couple of weeks, then she goes over a final edit. I've got a cover designed, so it's just all about the editing process. I look forward to sharing the finished product with you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 13, 2012:

Cygnet, What a pleasure it is to see you here. How is the book writing going? Hope all is well with you. Thanks for the encouragement on this. It almost feels like your NaMoWriMo challenge to crank out this volume of words. It has been like a flood after several decades of drought.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 13, 2012:

Dusty my friend, I do thank you for your gracious visit and kind compliments on this story. You are such a master story spinner that I am not in the same league. I certainly hope that you will pursue the review of our esteemed collegues, Mckbirdbks and Snakeslane for the help they will give on your work. Thanks so much for the visit and I hope things straighten out on the RSS feed and such. I just keep on plodding through it best I can. I loved your comment.

Peg

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on August 13, 2012:

Perfect prelude to a mesmerizing story line, Peg. I love your original photographs, as they add so much visual interest to your story. I found the top photo so interesting I couldn't help but wonder who the attractive people in it are. Of course, I put Joe's name to the beautiful blonde. You write like a dream and I feel like I'm in the little joint watching the story unfold like a film. I'm looking forward to reading what's to come. Thank you

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on August 13, 2012:

I'm enjoying the story, I can't wait to see chapter 2! (which I am going to read now!)

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 13, 2012:

Ms. Peg, a most inviting beginning that I had to drop back to catch after having my notifications on vacation and relying on the RSS Feed that has been lost on the new page format for some reason. (I've not changed and hope we are allowed to keep the old as I don't care much for the layout, I'm one of many though so before it is done I may be forced, but that's OK after all it is a free site that is in business and I understand changes to draw more in)

Back to you and this writing, I love good fiction and the wait of a sharp hanging end to one chapter to the next and you did a fine job. Ms.Snake did a good job with her reply and I must mail her and Mike as well to get their opinion of a re-write to a piece I started but didn't seem to catch the fire to drive me onward with it, Maybe too long and needs broken up, or maybe it just plane sucked! LOL

I get to go straight to part two now as it was in my mail.

May the Blessings Be,

dust

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 13, 2012:

Hello Integrity. Thank you for the visit and for the encouraging vote! Nice to see you today.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 13, 2012:

Becky, Thanks for the advice. I am truly guilty of backtracking too much. Will try to move in a forward direction. I really do appreciate your input and your readership. Thank you so much for the encouragement and compliment. That means a great deal to me.

IntegrityYes on August 12, 2012:

I definitely voted up.

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on August 12, 2012:

I am hooked on this story now. I hope you are not going to edit it to death. It is wonderful now. I will be heading to part 2 now.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 12, 2012:

Squid Lips! What a great name for a place. Maybe they were the same pelicans. This pic was from the other side of the Florida around Clearwater. Thanks for the drop in Mr. Love. That area around the Indian River and Sebastian is beautiful.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 12, 2012:

Hi Mck. Thanks for all the help with talking it up at the cafe. I've been working on the second part hoping for some inspiration, putting some beach pictures in and editing etc.. Even Star Wars stormtroopers like roller coasters. I'm grateful for the positive response so far.

Mr Love Doctor from Puerto Rico on August 11, 2012:

Hey! Just got back from spending a week with family in Sebastian. We had dinner down at Squid Lips, a place for all the world like the Pub in your story. And I could swear, those pelicans look just like the one on the old fish-house piers sticking out here and there from the Indian River. (It's actually a freshwater bay, but the Spanish weren't so bright.) You don't happen to be anywhere near Sebastian, would you?

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 11, 2012:

Hello Peg. I see people are lining up for your story and to ride the roller coaster with the Star Wars stormtroppers.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2012:

Rosemay, I hope the volcanic ash has stopped falling on your area. I've been worried about you. Thanks for coming back for another read of this and for your thoughtful and uplifting remarks. Funny. Jim is wearing one of his favorite Tshirts with Star Wars Stormtroopers on a roller coaster ride, arms up in the air. Wheeeeeeeee!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2012:

Hey there S. Lane, I like your ideas about Nancy (for the time being she's now Joe) and I will add some of her background in the next chapter or two. Loved bothTrixie Beldon and Ms. Drew and I can only hope to incorporate a degree of that mystery and intrigue we found in those books. V, thank you so much for the ongoing support on this one.

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on August 11, 2012:

Back for a second read and enjoyed it even more the second time around. The new and improved version, awesome. I can see that this is going to take us on a rollercoaster of a trip.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 11, 2012:

Hi Peg, evesdropping on conversation here, telling it in first person is great. Narrator could easily introduce herself by telling a little of her background (which would be good) if she is to be a big part of the story we would like to know more about her and her special investigative mind set. Maybe she grew up reading Trixie Beldon or Nancy drew? Maybe her name is Nancy lolol.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2012:

Excellent suggestion and I will implement that one, Mck. Great idea. I was trying to squeeze it into Chapter 2 which is in the slow cooker now simmering. I'll be by the cafe later to visit and have dessert. Thanks so much for the help!

Peg

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 11, 2012:

A reader wants to identify with the narrator, so a naming them helps with that. It could be as simple introduction like Bob calling her by name at the teller.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 11, 2012:

Naming the protagonist is a good idea, Mck. I guess people want to know who is spilling the beans or at least have a name for all the characters. Some say to write in 3rd person though some of the modern writers tell it from the first person.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 11, 2012:

Hello Peg. Having taken the hint that a re-read was in order, I find the story even more compelling. I personally would name the protaganist. This has a ring of truth to it, which is very important for the success of a story.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Ms. Lane! Thanks for rereading this and yes I did rewrite (again). I am my own worst enemy on the editing part. Sinister? Hopefully... And yes I truly do appreciate your candid remarks and helpful encouragement. It is quite welcome. You are great!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Maria dahling, Thank you so much sista. You are such a gem.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 10, 2012:

Peg I like the changes, you did rewrite didn't you? Or do I need new glasses? This is good! I keep hearing overtones of sinister undertones. Wicked! Cannot wait for next installment!

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 10, 2012:

I am boiling over with excitement... Sista, bring it on!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Maria my sista,

I will try to keep the dastardly doings to a maximum as the story moves forward in hopes to keep you "spellbound". What a nice thing to say! Old blue eyes is one bad actor that's for sure. Please stay tuned as the heat goes up in the kitchen. (I couldn't resist...)

Thanks for the visit and votes.

Love

Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Hello my friend Always,

Indeed, what more could we ask for? Thanks for your visit and for your encouragement on this story. I will try to get the next chapter ready quickly. I do appreciate you so much.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 10, 2012:

Sista, I am SERIOUSLY SPELLBOUND...! You immediately caught my attention, the pace is perfect and "dastardly" sounds divine... Oh those blue eyes are treacherous when you least expect...

I am eager to follow this one. I know it's only SIMMERING...

Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 10, 2012:

Wow Peg, Interesting story. It has it all, a pub, booze, a bank, a good looking Dude, food. Ha, What more could we ask for? Looking forward to the next chapter..

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Hello Cogerson. What a keen eye you have for detail. You have hit on a key to the story that will be revealed as things unfold. Thanks so much for the kind encouragement on this work in progress and for the votes! Cheers. Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Thank you BlossomSB. I see that 'a' accolade on your avatar and will be checking you out as well. Nice to meet you.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 10, 2012:

Hello Girishpuri and thanks for stopping in to read and vote. Much appreciated and hope you will return for Chapter 2.

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on August 10, 2012:

You have done a fantastic job of painting a wonderful picture at the Pub. A great start and I look forward to future installments. In one paragraph you have me interested in Jason....and if he is someone capable of fixing a problem or making the problem worse...voted up and interesting.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on August 10, 2012:

Interesting beginning. I'll look forward to the next instalment.

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 09, 2012:

Peg, a very interesting story and i do indeed enjoy it, voted interesting

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Thank you Randy. I love it too. And you should keep on going. You are definitely a great writer.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 09, 2012:

Ha Peg, I'm merely a beginner at writing fiction but I do indeed enjoy it compared to the info type hubs I usually write here. As long as writing creatively is enjoyable for us, it is worth pursuing. Good luck and thanks for your kind encouragement! :)

SSSSS

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Randy, It is such a pleasure to see you here. I am an amateur compared to your style and expertise and truly do appreciate your remarks. Thanks so much. Really.

Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Frank my detective style friend, I'm glad you took a look at this one. There are some dastardly deeds on the horizon and I hope I can do it the justice it deserves. I shall have to read more of your crime scene prose when the chapter arrives to pump myself up. Thanks again for your kindness. Peg

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 09, 2012:

A good beginning to an interesting plot this seems to be heading for, Peg. Will be looking for the next episode. Well written with great descriptions so far!

Randy SSSSS

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on August 09, 2012:

I like the well paced wording and the crisp clearity now I have to follow because it is a good start..but please if I miss an entry nudge me.... so I don't lose my place okay? Great share

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 09, 2012:

Hi Peg, it's left over from creative writing workshops I participated in. No stone was left unturned, the crtiques were tough, and then it was back to rewriting, I don't think anyone is ever satisfied (the writer especially), But at some point you just have to go with what you've got. I love the editing after publishing mode here on Hub Pages, it is really handy. A good way to work on the rough drafts, as long as readers are ok with it. If they're not they will probably let you know. I was hoping you would be ok with this kind of feedback. Thanks for letting me know it's ok. :) Coffee sure!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Snakeslane, I should be paying you to write summaries for all my hubs. You nailed every detail and made me take a look at a couple of things as well. Watch out for rewrites. Things change on my hubs. I noticed you do that too! I love finding a good picture of something and adding to old hubs. Anyhow, thanks for the really great summation of the story and I hope over the next few chapters to answer a few of your questions. "Only the shadow knows..." heeheehoooohhaaa. See you for coffee?

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Mr. Mckbirdbks, so nice to see the real you (speaking of pictures). I was right about the self portrait but was mistaken about where I saw the illustration. It was on Snakeslane's hub, the garden lawnmower guy that you drew. Ah ha! Good one. And I like the suit pic too.

Thanks for the encouragement on this new venture. I'll have to pep it up with some songs and poetry as the story evolves. First I must decide on the era. These pics are just place holders for the moment. Decisions...

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Sweet Minne Twin, Thank you for reading this first plunge into the story. As it evolves I hope it will be entertaining. I like button pushers. :)

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Hello there Drbj. Thanks for the visit. I really appreciate the encouragement on this one. It's been in the making for a very long time with multiple versions over the years. I'm hoping that seeing it in the light will keep me motivated, chapter 2 to be released once I stop "fixing" this one.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on August 09, 2012:

Wow Peg, the heroine is stuck in a windowless garret counting piles of cash! Thank goodness she gets a free lunch. Setting is vivid, great detail. How does the main character just up and disappear? Where is Bob? What is going on with these people all being let go from their jobs? Why are new employees so eager to join up? Why did the narrator leave her good job at the bank for this? I want answers!!! Now I have to wait for Chapter two. This must be a novel. Peg, you've been holding out on us, awesome! Regards, snakeslane

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 09, 2012:

You have painted a nice picture here. You have a unique style that will lead your readers along with you.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on August 09, 2012:

Can't wait for more chapters on this series Peg. Great beginning that has me excited for more. I hit many buttons.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 09, 2012:

Well, I am already hooked, Peg, and looking forward to the next installment. Hope you and the Pub survive.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 09, 2012:

Thanks SubRon. It's a work in progress and I'm already editing in the morning's light. Added a couple more photos and as I run across new ones will add more. So nice to see you today and I hope all is going well on your home improvement project and the book sales.

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on August 09, 2012:

Interesting story, Peg, and that office sounds like it took a bit of courage even to enter. Looking forward to your next installment.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 08, 2012:

Hello Rosemay. It's only a rough beginning that I hope to refine a little more as the story goes along. Glad to get it out there so I'll be more inclined work on it. Thank you for the votes and for stopping by.

Cheers!

Peg

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on August 08, 2012:

Awesome start to this series Peg. It sounds as though it is going to have a bit of everything. Can't wait to read the next part.

You have my votes

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