Lucy spent the night in her own bed and I spent it in my bed. I awoke feeling well rested but very hungry. I rode the ebike to the diner across from the marina. I had never tried their breakfast. I ordered pancakes and link sausage from a waitress that should have been in junior high school somewhere.
The pancakes were good but not any better than those in a hundred other places. I left the restaurant a little after 8am. Since nothing in St Marys opened before 9am, I rode the ebike to the park with only a morning paper to read. I parked the bike beside the lamp post with the outlet. I charged the battery pack while I read my copy of the local newspaper. The newspaper was almost non existent. All newspapers were shrinking in size and the St Mary paper was no exception. Twenty ledger sized pages published twice a week wasn't really very informative.
It was just after 10am when I rode the bike to the downtown thrift store. The thrift store had big shelf filled stacked high with old paperback books. The price of the books was like 20% of the cover price.
I was back at the park reading a five year old murder mystery, when Lucy called. Janet Wilkes had agreed to speak with us. Lucy had made the appointment for 7pm that evening. Instead of going home after the call as I might have done, I rode the ebike over to the Bench. The Bench was the night club and bar owned by Ed Hollis. The club had two very distinct parts. The night club side had a large dance floor, many small tables and a very well stocked bar. The space holding the open bar resembled nothing so much as a tumor attached to the larger building.
The bartender mentioned by the police detective wasn't working at the time of my visit. The bartender who was working had no problem at all telling me all about the missing bartender. According to the 40 pound over weight bartender who didn't mind talking, Rose was terrified that she would lose her job. I figured out for myself that she would have gone along with any story Ed wanted to come up with. I almost asked about meth, but decided that it was doubtful that I could get an honest answer, so I didn't bother.
I did get a pretty good idea of the clientele of the club and the bar from daytime bartender. Mostly locals but some kids from a private college in a town not too far away. If someone was dealing drugs in the club there would be a small market for them but not enough to make it worth the risk. So if there was a connection it had to be a wider distributorship that the club alone. In which case there was no smoking gun on Ed but also nothing to automatically clear him either.
I stopped by the Dog House on the way home. The Dog House claimed to make the best hot dogs in the south, but so did everyone else who put a dog on a bun. I carried two of their almost best in the south dogs home with me.
"You ready to go?" Lucy asked.
"Sure let's go see what is what," I replied.
St Marys is so small that you can get to almost any resident's home in less than ten minutes. Janet Wilkes lived inside the city limits, but not downtown as Lucy and I did. She was about half a mile inland from the river. Lucy followed me up the path to the small frame house on the corner. I rang the bell then stood waiting for Janet to answer.
"Hi are you Janet?" I asked of the very thin redhead.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Mike Abrams and this is Lucy Adams," I replied. "We would like to ask you a couple of questions about Al Floyd."
"Who?" she asked. It seemed that she really didn't know who I meant.
"Al Floyd, you were present at The Bench last year when he and Ed Hollis had a discussion. Ed banned Al. Do you remember that?"
"Oh that Al, yeah it was the strangest thing. Come on in," She suggested.
Once inside I listened to her version of the altercation. She said that Al bought her a drink before Ed came to the table and told Al to leave.
"You mean that the bartender served Al?"
"Yes he showed up at my table with two drinks."
"Then what was the dust up about?"
"Ed said something like, I told not to come here."
"Ed said something like, why shouldn't I come here? We are partners, or something like that."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm pretty sure."
We went over it a few more times and finally Lucy and I left.