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The Pub - A 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.

The boats swayed in the shimmering water at the docks outside the restaurant.

The boats swayed in the shimmering water at the docks outside the restaurant.

Changes

Bob’s disappearance was sudden and out of character. Within hours of his disappearance, the remaining staff knew what would likely follow in the wake of his absence. They'd been through management changes before. Rumors of missing cash and bouncing paychecks gave them more reason to worry.

Joe pulled into a parking spot on the far edge of the lot and sat watching the water shimmer as dawn broke. She longed to spend the day on the ocean with the wind in her hair, gliding along on the crest of the waves. A lone fisherman readied his boat, the breeze sweeping along the creaking dock.

Dick's boat rocked gently beside the other boats. Weeks had passed since she'd been invited out on a cruise. She wondered how things could have gone sour so quickly.

It had been a long time since she'd been invited out on Dick's boat.

It had been a long time since she'd been invited out on Dick's boat.

She lingered another moment, then, locked her car and headed toward the building. Two cars were still in the lot. Customers who hitched a ride home once the lounge closed. Leftovers.

Opening the door of the lounge released an odor of stale beer wafting out. She reached inside and flipped on the lights. The dark quiet was a contrast to the noise during business hours. She followed the trail of stains down the hallway to the service area where she started a pot of coffee.

Schedule the carpet cleaners, she told herself waiting for the Bunn-o-matic. She filled a mug with the steaming liquid and carried it to the kitchen. There, the carpet ended and black and white tiles began. Passing the stainless appliances, she caught a distorted image of herself.

Reaching the tiny office behind the kitchen, she set the air conditioner to maximum sending out a vapor cloud into the humid room.

"Home sweet home," she said dumping the overflowing ashtray into the bin outside the door before taking her usual place on the bench. She pulled the bank register out of the file cabinet and tossed her purse into the bottom drawer. As she poured over the entries, she thought about the parts of her job she liked. Those were the duties most like the ones she'd had at the bank. It was fun to count the stacks of cash from the registers. Lately, she'd begun to miss her teller job, especially now with paychecks bouncing and the staff blaming her. That hurt, but not enough to make her quit. She couldn't afford to lose this job.

Working for a Living

The best thing about the job was the daily free meal. Eating at a fancy restaurant was something she could never afford on her bank salary.

"There's no such thing as a free lunch," the restaurant owner reminded her often. It was one of his favorite sayings. That, and rattling on about having a "Plan B."

"Yeah, I know," she'd told him again just yesterday.

When she'd first taken the job, she and Dick frequently drove his Maserati up the coast to have dinner at "the competition." He'd write it off as a business expense.

He liked to be chauffeured around by pretty young women who were expected to limit their drinks so they could drive him home, while he nodded off in a stupor. She suspected there were several others he favored. That was okay by her. She was thrilled to pilot a fast, expensive car that she'd likely never own.

When they were a couple of blocks of the condo he shared with his wife and mother-in-law, he'd always say, "Let me out here. The night air is perfect for a brisk walk."

The real reason was no secret to Joe.

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

Leftovers

"Just take the car home. You can drive it back in the morning," he said. She'd taken him up on it. The next morning she'd found out why that was a bad move.

"Looks like somebody got lucky last night," the early bartender said, chuckling.

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

"Guess that makes you someone's pet then, doesn't it?" He went back to setting up the lunch service. What he'd said was true. She'd spent the rest of the morning sulking in her office. Seeds of doubt sent her thoughts to her former job at the bank.

There had been a degree of glamour working at the fanciest high-rise in town. Despite the extravagant décor of fancy furniture, brocade drapes and marble countertops, glamour didn't pay the bills. The elegant building was the talk of the town; a testament to wealth and prosperity that didn't spill over to the employees. What had finally taken Joe's hopes for a future there had been the promotion of the security guard to head teller.

"He's never even worked a day as a teller," hissed Betty, who'd been handling the duties since the former head teller retired. "Now he's in charge?"

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

Joe griped with the others stunned by the move but she was the only one scouring the want ads. Jobs with regular hours were rare.

"Five to midnight with one weekend off a month?" she read out loud. "They've got to be kidding." Most jobs were in hotels or restaurants or in the two banks in town. The beachside town with boating and fishing drew tourists that ebbed and flowed with the tide. In the circle of hospitality jobs, workers drifted from one place to another. Joe wasn't like that. She wanted stability.

She had thought she'd found that at the Pub.

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

Joe ran the numbers in the ledger again. It was urgent that she find the error to remove doubt about her bookkeeping abilities. She poured over the messy entries searching for an explanation for the overdraft. She sighed and ran the numbers again.

At 9:00 am, she'd start calling customers with past due house accounts. It was something she didn't like and put off as long as possible. She couldn't understand why they let people run up tabs with debt into thousands of dollars. Even Dick, the owner's tab was overdue. She put his file aside and moved to the next one. If she worked at it hard, she might bring in enough to cover payroll, due again in two days. It would take more than that to cover the liquor order for next week.

The bank statements weren't in the file despite her constant reminders to the manager.

"I need those statements," she'd reminded Bob again days ago. He'd blown her off so 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 mask of anger.

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

Joe's eyebrows shot up but she didn't reply. That was the last time she'd seen him.

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

Joe wondered idly if Bob's infatuation with Doreen had anything to do with the state of the books. Flings among the staff were as 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. Touchy subject.

Lately, Joe sensed trouble brewing between Bob and Doreen. It explained his foul mood over the past few weeks. He’d show up mid-morning, slurping from a glass of tomato juice, mostly vodka from the looks of it, barking orders and scowling more than usual.

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

“Bob’s gone,” he told her immediately. His eyes drifted to the tangle of adding machine tapes that snaked across the desk. Joe took the pencil out of her mouth. It left a smear of black on her lips.

“What do you mean gone?”

“He’s disappeared,” he said waving his hand in the air like a bird.

“How do you figure?” she asked with a smirk, thinking he was setting her up for one of his corny accounting jokes. Certain he’d see the humor in her question, she waited for the inevitable punch line. His expression remained somber as he moved his bulk onto the bench across from her.

“I drove by his place on my way to breakfast. He always parks in the same spot. His car’s not there.” He paused and wiped the corner of his mouth. “When he didn’t answer the door, I peeked in through the curtains. The place looked way too neat. Nothing but the bare furniture. Nothing that belonged to him.” Joe waited for him to go on.

“You know Bob’s place always looks like a train wreck with towels and clothes draped over the furniture and dirty dishes around - 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,” he said waving his arms around. “Between that and the car not in its usual spot…”

Bob rarely drove his gas-guzzling car to the restaurant although he insisted on taking the deposit to the bank himself. That was his excuse to borrow Dick’s car while the owner ate lunch. He told everyone he enjoyed walking to work to clear out the cobwebs and bragged how it kept him in peak shape. Joe had to admit, for a man in his late fifties, he was lean and muscular, not paunchy like some. She looked over at Dick's bulging belly.

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

His eyes drifted to the stain on her lips before he continued. His affection for her, she had no doubt, 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. Joe glanced at the creases left on Dick’s face from the bedsheets. 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 it 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 the bank account, she wasn’t sure if either partner would put more money into the restaurant. If they didn’t, the restaurant was likely to fold putting her job on the line along with everyone else who worked there. Dick broke the silence that had settled between them.

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

“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 tiny space which seemed to close 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 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 over at her with compassion and a small glimmer of hope. Months past, he’d tried to win her heart with boxes 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. Her response was emphatic.

“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. But her rejections weren’t reserved only for Chewy. Her cold indifference applied to every male who’d shown interest. That was, until Bob had come 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 full length self-published 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 book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 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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