Instead of going to their homes, Maureen and Audrey went immediately to Lena’s house. If there were one genuine expert on the subject of Jezebel and the Wrigley brothers, it would be Lena.

“I knew there had been too much tranquility in this village lately,” Lena said, as the three women sipped coffee at her kitchen table. “It couldn’t last.”

“I’m sorry to say I agree with you on that,” Maureen responded. “I suppose we need to call Missy Masters right away, don’t you? Norman Wrigley is still staying at her house, as far as I know.”

“Yes, he is. Sadly, he is trying really hard to stay out of trouble now, but his brother is still immature and seems to wreak havoc at every opportunity,” Lena said, wringing her napkin. “Missy probably rues the day he came along.”

Audrey nodded. “I’ll bet,” she said. “Do you think we should tell her in person about this mess, or just call her on the phone?”

Lena pondered for a few seconds, then said, “I guess we should go to her house. It is pretty heavy news, considering the severity of Ruston’s injuries.”

And, so they went. Missy and Norman were both looking a bit tired, anyway, from worrying where Ruston was and what he might be into and Maureen’s retelling of the condition Ruston was in when she found him lit a fire under his brother and Missy. Missy ran to her cell phone right away and called the hospital nearest to where Ruston had been picked up by ambulance. Being a nurse, she was able to get through to someone at the hospital who could tell her Ruston’s status. The news was not good.

When she hung up, she had a tear running down her face. “He is hanging in there for the time being. He had one surgery shortly after arriving and may have another one in a day or two. He pretty much had the daylights beaten out of him.”

Norman looked pale and defeated, but he took a deep breath and said, “I have to get to him.”

“I know you do,” Missy said, patting his shoulder. “Let’s go.”

She thanked the ladies who had brought the news and showed them out as she and Norman got into the pink Cadillac and headed to attend to Ruston. It was about an hour’s drive, and they were mostly silent for the whole trip.

Meanwhile, back in Warm Springs Village, Marcus Breen had been putting in long hours preparing for the next concert of Rising Voices. The men’s Barbershop quartet, “Close Shave,” was really shaping up, and sultry Susan Croissant was getting her latest musical offering fine-tuned to make those retired Southern gentlemen wish they were young again. Elston Brazil would wow the audience on the piano, as usual. Marcus knew he could count on Audrey Younger and the Village Tappers to bring a hometown version of The Rockettes to the stage. They had even been working on the famous “Falling Toy Soldiers” move. It would be spectacular.

One idea, though, that had been buzzing around in Marcus’s brain and wouldn’t let him go was that there needed to be just one more thing in the show. Something new that he had never included before. He couldn’t decide whether it needed to be a magician or a stand-up comedian. He weighed the pros and cons and finally decided to have auditions for both types of acts and see which one won. He put an ad in the Warm Springs Village Gazette and posted a few flyers around the community. Audition Day was almost here, and Marcus was keyed up. When he finally drifted off to sleep the night before the auditions, his dreams
were a jumbled maze of guys pulling rabbits out of hats and some woman with a crazy blonde wig and a cigarette in a long, slender holder. She was making self-deprecating remarks and then laughing wildly in a deep voice. Marcus tossed and turned.

Some two hundred miles away, Jezebel was tossing and turning, too. She and her latest new husband, Lance, had dropped Leather off at his home and taken off for their quicky wedding and honeymoon. It was quite a step down for Jezebel to have run away not long ago from a fancy church wedding and now to take her vows in front of a Justice of the Peace. Neither she nor Lance had been dressed up for the momentous occasion, and Lance’s leg had been aching particularly badly that day since his injuries from the motorcycle/deer wreck had not fully healed. Jezebel knew that she had contributed to the current state of affairs, though, so she didn’t complain aloud. At least, not very much.

Wedding night romance is stifled to a great degree when the groom is in pain, and the couple is on the run from the police after the severe beating of the bride’s recent other new husband.

Lance and Jezebel were keeping a low profile. The most celebrating they did that night was when they ordered a large supreme delivery pizza and a two-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. Lance still had one pain pill left over, and he took it. He drifted off to sleep while Jezebel watched true crime shows on the motel room’s sixteen-inch television. Finally, around midnight, she fell asleep without even turning off the tv.

At the police station in Warm Springs Village, Marla Jo had heard all the latest scuttlebutt regarding Lance and Jezebel. She knew that their latest violations had not taken place in the jurisdiction of the village, but she still had a bad taste in her mouth over Jezebel and Lance. Yes, and Ruston, too, though she now felt sorry for him after she heard about him being found nearly lifeless behind a gas station. She determined that she would keep her eyes and ears open for any tidbit of information that might help clear up the whole “Jezebel and her men” saga, once and for all.

Missy was having an uneasy night’s sleep, as well as Jezebel. But Missy’s fitful sleep seemed connected to Jezebel in a strange way. In Missy’s wild, meandering dreams, she saw Jezebel riding through the village on a motorcycle, and there were two men chasing after her, on foot. It was Ruston and Lance. Both men were injured and limping. Behind the three of them was a line of police cars from several jurisdictions. The cops were driving slowly, though, and couldn’t even catch up to the limping men. Jezebel was laughing and zigzagging back and forth from one side of the street to the other. As Missy’s focus zoomed in on the redhead, Jezebel, Missy was horrified to see that Jezebel was – pregnant!

Missy sat bolt upright in the bed. “No!” she cried out. In the next room, Norman heard her, and rushed in to see what was the matter. She spilled out the bizarre tale that had played out in her head. Norman listened to it all, and then agreed with her that Jezebel being pregnant at a time like this would indeed be a stunning development – a big “No!”

However, it was only a dream, they both told each other. Only a crazy tale that played like a “B” rated movie. There was no quandary for them to deal with regarding whose baby that redhead was carrying. No court battles over child custody. It was just a dream.

Stay tuned for more to come

Click here for links to all the chapters of A Village Tale

Click here to visit Nancy’s listing of The Diery on