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Date Posted: 11:11:13 11/14/09 Sat
Author: Debi
Subject: Molly makes a friend
In reply to: Debi 's message, "It's Caturday!" on 10:29:44 11/14/09 Sat

The bar is situated on a city street in an old neighborhood with various businesses around, including a Baptist church across the the way. She has a sort of truce with the church for various reasons. Previosuly in the atory, Molly startled this young man as he was passing by, not on purpose, but it was a less than favorable first meeting. This is some weeks later.
The morning was bright and cool, with a stiff breeze coming from the direction of the river. Molly was wiring Christmas lights to the rails that defined her patio.

Declan bounded among the tables and chairs, picking up and dropping a tennis ball, caroming off the metal furniture with a loud clatter from time to time. Shrugging and shaking her head, she started draping plastic evergreen garland around the rails, hiding the twist ties that secured the lights. Thanksgiving over and done, she had lifted her moratorium against Christmas music and it echoed around the courtyard.


Molly looked up to see the preacher boy standing there.

“Good morning.” Standing up, she offered her hand. “I’m Molly Whelan. I own the bar.”

He hesitated before shaking her hand. He still looked as if he might bolt and run if she were to move too quickly.

“Luke, Luke Fuhrman.” There was a broad accent, suppressed but still present. Kentucky, Tennessee perhaps.

“Good to meet you, Luke Luke Fuhrman.”

He blinked at her literal repeating of his name, then he offered a hesitant smile at the joke. Tall and thin, his face bore the scars from the ravages of adolescent acne, though his skin was clear as a bell now. His dark blond hair was close-cropped and his clothes, while not of the current fashion, were clean and decent quality. He looked over toward the building, then his eyes fell on Declan, still cavorting among the tables, energized by the cool air.

“What on earth—kind of dog is that?” He took another look. “It is a dog, right?”

Molly laughed. “That, Luke my friend, is Declan, one hundred and seventy pounds of worthless Irish Wolfhound. He’s good company though.” At the sound of his name, the dog lifted his head, regarded them for a moment, then caught sight of the tennis ball rolling away across the brick pavement and gamboled after it.

Luke chuckled, watching the dog, Molly watching him.

“So Luke, what brings you to my side of the street today? Keeping tabs on the enemy?”

He looked startled again and shook his head in denial. “Oh, no ma’am! I was just walking to the church and I… smelled the coffee brewing.”

“Well, I’m flattered.” She beckoned to him, walking along her side of the rail to the opening along the side. “Most people get their morning cup over at Ana’s diner. She makes excellent coffee.”

He didn’t move for a moment, then followed along, crossing the patio to the inside. She gestured for him to sit at the bar, then she ducked under the flap and grabbed a couple of cups, sugar and cream, deposited them in front of him, then got the coffee pot. When both cups were poured, she put the pot down, close to him, and began doctoring her coffee.

Luke put some sugar in his cup and stirred it in, his eyes wandering around the room. “It’s not how I imagined it would look.”

“You were expecting devils with pitchforks, maybe? The Seven Deadly Sins performing on the stage there?”

He shrugged, but Molly saw a blush rise from his collar.

“It used to be a garage, hence the big doors and all the oil company signs.” The walls were covered with bright metal advertising signs, some bearing evidence of actual use in the past. She pointed. “The Mobil Pegasus is my favorite.” The enormous red neon sign had place of pride at the top of the long side wall, over the small dais that served as a stage once in awhile, facing the short edge of the bar. Nearby offerings declared Rambler Parts and Service were available, as well as Grizzly Expert Brake Service.

“I thought most places like this always had beer signs.”

She jerked her head toward the opposite wall, over the bar. “It’s been a garage way longer than it’s been a bar. Those are over there, and I’m picky about what I put up. Mostly Clydesdales, really.” Above the pass-through to the kitchen hung an antique Budweiser lamp, a plastic dome protecting a six foot long beer wagon, complete with eight horse hitch, drivers and Dalmatians. “That one’s my other favorite.”

She watched Luke’s gaze travel over other memorabilia hung on the walls. There were pictures from the local naval base over the decades, photos of regulars and their families, cartoons and comics that were too good to discard. He stopped at one photo and turned to her.

“Is that you?”

The photo showed a rodeo arena. A young woman stood, grinning like a fool, holding the reins of a horse, with two men flanking her. The older man wore a proud smile, the younger man smiled, but his eyes were distant, as if part of him were listening to someone off camera, or drumming carried on the wind. She nodded.

“My fifteen minutes. I won the National Quarter Horse cutting championship on a friend’s horse. That’s my grandpa, the one who built the garage and that’s my dad.”

Luke studied the picture, reaching out to touch the image with one finger. “Your dad looks sad.”

Struck by his insight, it took Molly a moment to reply. “Dad had issues. Like a lot of guys, Viet Nam made him a much different person than he’d been when he left.”

“Did he ever get better?”

Molly felt a pang at the innocent concerned question. “I hope so. He left not long after this picture was taken and I’ve never seen or heard from him since.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thanks. Me too.”

They grew quiet for a moment while they sipped their brew.
The young man shook his head. “This place, it’s almost like being at someone’s house. Kind of, anyway.”

“That’s because it is my home. I live upstairs. When people come here, it’s because I’ve invited them to join me where I live. It’s not just a business. I don’t put up with bad behavior in my house, I don’t tolerate it down here either.”

Luke nodded, his tension eased somewhat. But he was obviously searching for a way to say something; Molly waited with patience. That was part of the job, running a bar, waiting for people to unload whatever it was they were carrying.

He sat his cup down and looked at her. “Why do you dislike Pastor Farley?”

Molly put her cup down with a small smile. “It’s not him I don’t like. It’s what he does, or did anyway.”

“What do you mean? He’s a minister. What’s wrong with that?”

“Not a thing,” she told him. “I’m not talking about his vocation.”

Luke gave her a curious stare tinged with surprise. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell him anything you say.”

She shrugged, taking another sip of her coffee. “I don’t care if you tell him or not. He knows why I feel about him the way I do. I’ve told him to his face.”

Luke looked confused. “Has he done something bad?”

Molly shook her head. “According to what he preaches, yes. In the eyes of his congregation, if they knew about it, yes. Me, I could care less what anyone does with their own time, but if a person is in the position to guide people and tell them what right and wrong are, then he should follow those same principles.”

“Practice what he preaches?”


The young man gave her a long look. “You aren’t going to tell me, are you?”

Molly chuckled. “You are a smart boy. It’s not my story to tell. If you want to know what he’s done, he’ll have to tell you.”

It was quiet again, then Luke said, in a soft voice, “You’re more Christian in your way than a lot of the people at that church.”

Tilting her head like a curious dog, she smiled. “How’s that?”

“You don’t gossip, tell tales about people.”

Raising her brows, she nodded. “Luke, my friend, if you only knew the things I’ve heard in this place. People come in here, they have a drink, or a lot of drinks, and they talk. I know things about people in this town, about absolute strangers, things they probably don’t even remember that they’ve said out loud. But they needed someone to listen to them and I was here. And, sometimes, I poured them into a cab later, or I drove them home myself. And I keep their secrets.”


She got up, carried her dirty cup behind the bar and put it in the dishwasher. Turning back to face him, she shrugged.

“Because they aren’t my secrets to tell.”

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[> [> It is a rare and wonderful person who can keep a secret >>>> -- Page, 13:55:59 11/14/09 Sat

And it's also a rare and wonderful person who can be friends with a person who keeps secrets. Luke Luke's (that was great, btw!) curiosity is understandable, but I like that he didn't press her too much about it, understood that she wouldn't spill. DD's husband is a psychologist, and DD had to go through a period of adjustment when she realized her husband could not share his work with her.

The description of the bar is great! The glimpses you gave through Luke's eyes, along with Molly's comments about her favorite pieces, made it come alive in my head. I didn't feel at all like I was being told about an interior, but rather like I was being led around the room, allowed to stop and look at things. Super job!

The bit of information about Molly's father was worked in so beautifully, too. It said so much without going too much into it. I like the way you described him as hearing echoes of things past, and when Molly said Viet Nam, it all came together. Anyone who's ever met a Viet Nam vet will get it immediately. Even if they weren't affected with serious PTS, they are still marked with something that's always visible just under the surface, echoes of something only they can hear.

And Lord have mercy, who hasn't know a Pastor Farley? Nuff said. *G*

I really like this bit, and really like Luke, too. I'm so glad you chose this!


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[> [> [> Oh, and btw, I will be more than happy to send Jimmy (the cat, not the man -- he's mine! *G*) to you to keep your cat occupied. He's in that teenage stage, and he's driving me nuts, especially since he's not even my cat! -- Page, 14:04:17 11/14/09 Sat

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[> [> [> [> LOL... keep your Jimmy, my hands are full (sadly, not literally) with Gil. -- Debi, 17:50:20 11/14/09 Sat

I'm glad the description came out well. In what I call research and what others might call procrastination, I've been looking up old gas station signs, digging up memories of bars I remember from being a kid (my dad took me with him once in awhile when he went to a friend's bar or the the Fleet Reserve). I have a very clear picture of it in my head, with wooden bar and mirrored glass liquor cabinet tucked under the stairs to her apartment above.

Oh, there's more to the Pastor than just a dislike of her bar. They have history, those two, and I have to figure out how to get that story told, since she won't tell it herself...

Molly's been telling me about the t-shirts she wears. The one she had on for this scene (of course after I posted it here it came to me) was one that reads "I can do it straight up, on the rocks, or, if you're flexible, with a twist."

I'm also going to have to work in a "Good Golly" someplace, since many of the characters tend to call her Miss Molly.

Where does this crap come from? Seriously? ;-)

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[> [> [> [> [> Bwahaha! I would so wear that shirt!! -- Page, 14:21:54 11/15/09 Sun

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[> [> i like Molly. you keep the flow in this one too. thanks! -- dea, 10:42:01 11/18/09 Wed

Last edited by author: Tue November 24, 2009 09:09:33   Edited 1 time.
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