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The Pub - A Murder Mystery, Chapter 2

Updated on October 8, 2021
PegCole17 profile image

Peg is author of two fiction novels, short stories, articles and book reviews. She's a regular contributor on Hub Pages and online sites.

Dick's boat rocked gently beside the others hitched to the dock.
Dick's boat rocked gently beside the others hitched to the dock. | Source

The aroma of prime rib drifted into the small room where Joe sat in a tangle of adding machine tapes and stacks of cash. She looked up and frowned at the interruption.

"Someone's got a boyfriend," George crooned. The high-pitched, girlish tone was at odds with the chef's hulking size as he towered in the door frame. One hand held kitchen tongs which he used to hold the door open. His other hand held something behind his back.

George often made excuses for ducking into her air conditioned office to get out of the steaming kitchen. This time there was a legitimate reason. Tipping forward like a ballerina, he leaned in and set a floral arrangement in front of the bookkeeper.

Source

She had learned to steer clear of the Head Chef who liked using his tongs to pinch the female staff. Her first week on the job on her way past his grill, he'd sneaked up behind her and picked her up bodily, like she was a cheerleader, and pointed her toward the upper cabinets.

"Grab those napkins for me, would ya'?" Snickering, he peeked under her mini-skirt as he held her in mid-air. Joe flushed bright red as the kitchen staff stared.

George wore a familiar smirk this morning as he reached across her desk, plucking the greeting card from the flowers. From the piles on her desk, she grabbed a wooden ruler and smacked him on the hand. He dropped the card and winced, kissing the welt that appeared. She read the card and picked up the phone. She was dialing an outside line when suddenly, her manager appeared in the doorway right behind the chef.

"You, OUT." He pointed a knobby finger at the suddenly somber chef then towards the kitchen. There was an awkward dance at the door as George backed his substantial frame out of the space and Jason came in. The chef made a silly face at Joe behind Jason's head as the door slammed in his face.

"So, how about it?" he asked with a wink. She turned her attention to the mound of papers spread across the desk. He slid into the bench opposite her as a cold silence prevailed. Unaffected, he stared at the top of her head, whistling off key.

Jason had been hired to replace Bob, her manager that disappeared without a trace. Rumors of embezzlement and altered books put Joe under scrutiny during the investigation that followed. She was thankful her friendship with the owner saved her job at the restaurant.

"I'm sure you had nothing to do with the missing cash, Joe," he told her as the investigation dragged on. His fondness for her was no secret.

Dick liked being seen with pretty women who were willing to chauffeur him around in his Maserati. He told her they were checking out the competition when he invited her to join him for dinner at comparable restaurants along the coast. Joe ended up driving back most evenings when he drank too much.

The silent partner from Chicago wasn't nearly as friendly. In fact, he hadn't made up his mind about the bookkeeper and her part in the financial turmoil that followed Bob's departure.

Joe was busy ordering the week's liquor supply when he showed up unannounced at the office shortly after Bob left. She looked up startled to see him standing, briefcase in hand, at the open door. The last time she'd seen Ervin had been when she interviewed for the job. She was thankful he left the day-to-day operational decisions to Dick. According to Ervin, all that was about to change. He could be heard around the restaurant blustering about his plans.

"I'm here to get to the bottom of this and straighten out the accounting mess. Be assured, heads will roll." Employees tried to steer clear of the so-called silent partner.

Jason spent nearly two weeks during the investigation, back in Jamaica, closing out his affairs before moving into the condominium that came with the position. He returned to town just in time to join the staff's as they celebrated the silent partner's departure for Chicago.

The new food and beverage tracking system Ervin had put in place during his scrutiny of the books caused confusion and grumbling from the staff. On the bookkeeping end, Joe was flooded with indecipherable food tickets while the staff tried to use the new complicated system which Ervin insisted was an improvement.

With Ervin gone, Dick allowed Jason to change the system back to the old food and beverage codes which made Jason an immediate hero of all the staff except Joe, who had to deal with the confusion of returning to the old system. New hires had been trained one way. Now they had to learn the old method of handling food orders. Registers were out of balance for weeks during the transition.

Jason had a certain charm that drew other men to him to share a round of drinks, some bawdy jokes and a hearty pat on the back. But it didn't take long for the new manager to alienate most of the female staff with salty innuendos and off color remarks. He was particularly adept at annoying his bookkeeper who spent most of her day in the tiny office behind the kitchen.

An aromatic waft of roasting prime rib and the sound of vegetables being chopped drifted in as the door opened and Jason stepped inside.

"Joey!" He'd taken to calling her by that name once he discovered it annoyed her. He smirked at the grimace that crept over her face as he made his grand entrance. The phone clanged, echoing off the walls of the office. She answered it, eager for a diversion from whatever reason he had for being there.

"Good morning, The Pub. How may I help you?" She turned away from the stare of the manager who took a seat on the bench across from her.

"Hey, baby!" a familiar sleepy voice spoke in her ear.

"Yes, I have that file right here," she answered. Shuffling through the paperwork piled on the table that served as her desk, she opened a file at random and added, "I can send you an itemized statement if you like."

The door slammed behind Jason as he stood up and stormed out.

"But Baby," the man said, "don't you recognize my voice? It's me!" He drew the word out in a sing-song whine.

"Of course I do," she answered with her manager out of the room. "He was in here."

"Oh. I get it. Meet me for lunch?"

"Noon in the lobby," she said hanging up as Jason came back with the staff schedule he'd ripped off the bulletin board. He tossed it on the desk in front of her. Several names were crossed off so forcefully the page was torn in places. One of the crossed off names was Chip's, the assistant manager.

"What's this about?" Joe asked.

"You've been promoted."

"What about Chip?"

"Oh," he answered. "That's your first assignment. You get to tell him he's fired."

"What if I don't want the job?"

"Then, there's the door," he said, grinning like a baboon.

© 2012 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hey there, Frank. Yep, right up your alley. In fact, on the sequel I might ask for some of your expertise on the matter. I'm about 14 chapters into "Aftermath," a continuation with characters from "The Pub."

    • profile image

      Dabby Lyric 

      3 years ago

      You are welcome. Great read.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      Peg Cole wow I remember this murder mystery.. damn four or five years ago...

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      3 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Dabby. I hope to republish the remaining chapters in the near future. I took them down when I put the book out on Amazon. It differs slightly from the chapters I wrote out here, mostly in detail and length. Thanks for coming by.

    • profile image

      Dabby Lyric 

      3 years ago

      Nice...didn't see that ending coming. I smell a twist stirring in the background.

      Will be reading more from you!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Shyron, I'm encouraged by your visit and inspired to put the other chapters back up. Thanks for the votes and the share. Sleep tight.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, Jason makes my skin crawl. Can't wait to read the rest, just not tonight.

      Voted up, ABI and shared.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Colin. Best of luck on tonight's drawing in the lottery. I hope you will remember the "little people" like me when you win. I should like to join your entourage in your limo as you tour the finer dining establishments then. Between your winnings and the sales of your poetry e-books, Funny Thirty and Beauty Thirty, you will soon be rolling in the cash.

      Thank you for stopping in here today. It always gives me a reason to reread the narrative and in doing so, I found a glaring write-o. Your encouraging words are much appreciated as I struggle to make this story into a viable work. So good to see you following along on Chapter 2 and I do so appreciate your kind remarks!

      My own cat, Brian Williams, sends his best regards to Ms. Tiffy and Gab.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      8 years ago

      Hello and good afternoon my precious Peg from Colin and his cat crew at lake erie time ontario canada 3:55pm and two very important things I noticed while reading part 2 - you have a awesome pedigree when it comes to writing good dialogue and you have a very intricate eye for detail and of course the narrative of the storyline flows so well too.

      I will madly and gladly post and link your wonderful writing style on my Facebook page for all to see and read and I am sending you good energy from the three of us and off now to the deck and have some sausages and fried potatoes and then uptown to try my luck on tonight's lottery draw worth $3million (that's a lot of cat food, lol)

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi AliciaC. Thanks for dropping by to read Chapter 2. It gave me an excuse to go back and correct some errors. Hope to see you for the next episode. Again, thanks so much for the great comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The characters are becoming very interesting, Peg. I love their descriptions! The plot is intriguing, too.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi MartieC. I'm thrilled that you are continuing with this story and that you like it. Inside politics; they sure are everywhere in business and in this story, too. Kind of you to comment and thanks again for the visit.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      I love this, Peggy! Lots of inside politics. Sadly, all bright entrepreneurs don't realize that their bright ideas are not feasible. Looking forward to read on....

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Sgbrown. Thanks so much for your visit and great comments. My idea of housework is "to sweep the room with a glance". With a crew of dogs the place just gets dusty again. haha. Anyway, hope you will continue reading as the series develops.

      I hope you like the link I added to your The Red Dirt Brewhouse - "The New Pub". Thanks for the votes, too.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Faith. So good to see you back for Chapter 2 in the series which is a work in progress. I really appreciate your readership, your votes and sharing this hub.

      God bless you too.

      Peg

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I am loving this series! I think Joe can handle herself and make a great assistant manager. I get the feeling this is based on a true story....hmmm. I can't wait for Chapter 3 now! I see very little housework getting done this morning. Up and interesting! :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      8 years ago from southern USA

      What an interesting cast of characters here. Things are heating up! I'm ready for Chapter 3. Great write. I really love your photos and great music choice.

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shiningirisheyes. Thanks for taking time to drop by. See you at Chapter 3. It was good to see you.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      8 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I've been away for a while and just now found time to visit. Glad I did as this is an excellent addition to the first chapter. On to the next.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Vespa. Sorry for the delay in responding. I was vacationing and taking pictures for more episodes still in the works. Hoping for more inspiration like your comment today. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic words. I really appreciate that. BTW Table 27 needs the dessert menu when you get a chance.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      9 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, I'm hooked! You describe the scene and characters so well, I feel like I'm part of the restaurant staff. I'll head on to the next installment!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Cogerson. I'm flattered to have this chapter put with such great company as Cheers (Norm!) and Emerald Wells (that is so cool!). Now that is a high compliment - two of my favorites, for sure. Hope you will stick around for the rest of the story. Ch. Five to be released soon. Thank you very much for reading and for the comments, really and truly. See you at the cafe?

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      9 years ago from Virginia

      Chapter 2 is a winner....looking forward to the further adventures of the patrons and workers of the Pub.....a touch of Cheers with a dash of Emerald Wells makes for a very interesting ride. I will be catching up with chapters 3 and 4 in the future....Voted up and awesome...I liked the cliffhanger....keep up the good work.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Ruby, Thanks for stopping to read this episode and for hanging out at the beach with me. You're right. What could be better than a day at the beach? I've ordered us a couple of umbrella drinks: a Shirley Temple and a Mary. Take your pick or we'll get you something in a tall glass with lots of ice. I'm glad you like the cliff hanger ending and the pictures. Thanks for stoping by.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      9 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Wow, great story. Marvelous pictures, tell much too. I love the roses waiting, and the cliff hanger ending, out the door, or take it, or...??

      Yep, a nice handful of excitement, what could be better than at the beach!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Frank Atanacio. First, thank you for sharing this story! That was really nice of you. Thanks for liking the way the characters interact, too. I want them to appear believable at all times. Part of the reason this is out here is to get (hopefully kind) suggestions for course correction when I go shy of due north. Like Lynda did with her question. Frank, may I impose on you for some of your technical expertise when (I mean if) a crime scene arises in the story? Thank you in advance for that. Smiles.

      Peg

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 years ago from Shelton

      What I find myself liking a lot is the way the characters interact.. so believable so far so good Pegcole :)

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Amy, Thanks for the great offer. "Hook, line and sinker!" I love it. Haha. Just practicing. You are very quotable.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Drbj,

      Nefarious critters for sure. That ruler will get a workout.

      I loved Laugh-in and Arte Johnson. We imitated him for years with that line. Good one! Thanks for the visit and great comment.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey there, Peg. Remember, you have an open invitation to quote me on anything you write. I should be so lucky! As far as readership, you have me hook, line and sinker!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Make sure your protagonist keeps that ruler handy, Peg, she may need it with so many nefarious critters around. As Arte Johnson from 'Laugh-In' would say, ' Verreee interesting!"

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Always. Whoops, sorry I skipped you there. I'm very glad you're not disappointed. That's the hope for a writer to be sure. Never to disappoint.

      A bigger office for Joe? doubtful. Dude George is ambigious, to be seen later. And for firing him and his tongs? Should I let the power of Joe's promotion go to her head? Jason, cute? Uh oh, Ruby. Watch him. He's a bad one. Hope you'll check back for the next chapter still in the making. :)

      See you later for dessert?

      Peg

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Dusty, hey. I like jokes. Even yours! Just joking. Oh I do hope WD drops by for a visit. He'll be able to spot holes and help out some with the story so far, I hope. This is the first run of the series so it is (pardon the pun) dusty. Yuk yuk. Okay. I'll stick to writing the detergent drama. Thanks.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Blossom. Thanks for these fine descriptions: "threads" and "fast-moving". I like the sound of that (or those or them). Glad you're enjoying it. Hope you'll stick around for the next chapter. :)

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Amy. I like that. A "Mickey Spillane" style. May I quote you on my next summary? (Sorry again S'Lane) Riveting? Now that is sweet! You sure know what a writer likes to hear. And I enjoyed the Mickey quote which I had never heard, too. Thanks, Amy. And for your ongoing readership.

      Peg

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Peg that was a joke about a hubber WD, in the event he comes reading, we pick at each other that way,

      dust

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Cygnet, I wondered the same thing when I read your first book. It sounded so realistic that I felt you must have some experience in those things too! Thanks. That is a true compliment to me as a writer. I appreciate that. I have known a few characters like these. btw

      What's the name of your new book?

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Dusty! Glad to see you. And sorry for the delay in answering your comment. Flaky internet. I see you got over to number 3 and I thank you for that. We lost connection right after I published. Thanks for following right along with this one and you are right about Jason. Chip worked for you? Horses? I did not know that about him. Cool.

      Thanks so much for the visit. See you for coffee?

      Later.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Integrity, Sorry about the delay. My internet went down for the afternoon. Thanks for the kind and enthusiastic comments. I like the Captain and Tennille too and this was a good song. You don't look old enough to remember it! Nice to see you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Well i'm certainly not disappointed. ( Not that i thought i would be ) The story is building with new characters and suspense. Joe got a promotion, that's good, maybe she will insist on a bigger office? I don't like the Dude, George, maybe you will fire him and his tongs? I'm not sure about Jason, he sounds cute. Until next time Peg. I like your story.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Enjoying it and you have so many different threads to follow that it is really fast-moving.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 

      9 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I like an almost "Mickey Spillane" attitude in your riveting story, Peg. I see Joe as a looker with a brain. She's not a shrinking violet. I see the Spillane philosophy in a manner I think her character illustrates "If I need something, I'll invent it" (quote by Mickey Spillane).

      I missed the first in your series, but your story is so good, it stands alone. It's so good, though, I'm heading back to find Chapter 1.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 

      9 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      Hmm, parts of this story sound like something you had personally lived through. Am I correct?

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Hi Ms.Peg, heeeeeee's back, "tapping the Mic and asking is there an echo in here or is this thing broken?" Jason is a prick, and I know Chip, he used to curry my horses in Pensacola, but where has he gone? You've got me hooked, I believe this will be one that gets better and better and you've got me voting up and a lot more, as well as thinking on your style of stopping at a cusp leaving the reader waiting with tapping a foot or feet depending on ones appendages or co-ordination. See you at the Cafe!

      Blessings,

      dust

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      A bit of a letch to say the least. Seems like Joe is drowning in them. It is so encouraging that you've read this and appreciate the story, Rosemay. That George is quite a dancer. Hope you'll tag along for the rest of the drama. I really appreciate your support SO MUCH.

      Peg

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello sista Maria. I like the steak analogy to the stake driven in with a hammer and wood. You are so clever! Thanks for stopping in to read the story and for the ongoing encouragement.

      Love your way.

      Peg

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 

      9 years ago

      WHOA! I voted way up! OOH,Peggy! HAH-HAH! That is well-written. Captain and Tennille made some good songs. That particular one is one of their best ones.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      9 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is coming along great peg. Love the way the descriptions of your characters are coming through, like the shuffle dance in the doorway for the cook to squeeze out, sounds like a bit of a letch to stay clear of. Jason sounds like a real smart ass. Joe sure has a lot to put up with, at least air conditioning in her little 'dungeon' is something. to be thankful for.

      Awesome and can't wait for the next :)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      9 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "I smell the steak sizzling (and the plot)"...

      I have never re-quoted a comment but snaleslane nailed it, I agree, Peggy... but she had to have the hammer and wood to "drive it in"... and you have provided that!

      This story is building with excitement and I am hooked as well!

      Voted UP and UAI. Love, Maria

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hello Mck. Wow. I wish I had thought of all that you summarized here. Amazing insight. I hadn't seen some of that clearly. Oh good. I hope. Alliances and foes, yes. I hadn't thought of it that way. Very helpful and encouraging. I appreciate you so much Mike for all that you do. This is really good feedback. I'm working on Ch 5 now.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Once again, my friend Ms. Lane, I would like to quote you on my book cover when it comes time for a summary. lol You are succinct and have a keen eye for the true action in the story, picking out all the key points. I'm so flattered by your attention and thank you so much for the great rundown. Really, I would like to use it in the summary for the next chapter.

      I had to laugh about your comment about the tongs. Good one, V. He is a cheeky cook.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Hi Becky! Wow, thanks for responding so quickly to this one. I like your description of Jason and you've certainly nailed the chef too. They're both jerks. And they're good at it. LOL I'm so glad you think so! Yea. That is quite a compliment! Thank you so much Becky.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      9 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Your dialogue is crisp. In a few brief passages you have demonstrated that your protagonist is petite, clever and quick on her feet. You have hinted of alliances and foes. You have established that your protagonist is in charge, alert and sly. Great addition to your story.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Peg! You have a lot of irons in the fire! This is getting hot. Sleepy boyfriend, roses delivered, fast car, new promotion, lecherous co-workers, and cooked books. I smell the steak sizzling (and the plot). Hope this Joe girl takes some time out to have some fun. Glad to hear the cubbyhole office is air conditioned. Keep it coming, you have my full attention. Not sure what to think about the cheeky cook. Now that she is assistant manager he better watch where he puts his tongs.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      9 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I already don't like Jason. He sounds like a first rate scuzbucket. I am not fond of the chef either. He thinks he is funny but acts like a perv. Poor Joe, having to put up with all of them.

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