The Unfortunate Fortune
“You come right over here, and sit near me.” Ginny bubbled at Mr. Skipworth. Gerald, “Jerry” to his friends, Skipworth was “Jerry” to her and one of her favorite people in the world. Ginny stepped out from behind the bar, linked arms with Jerry and “escorted ” him to the bar stool that didn’t literally have his name on it, but, “had his name on it.” It was the next to the last stool at the bar, and when she wasn’t busy, Ginny would slip around the bar entryway and slide onto the last stool which had “her” name on it. If Jerry was there they would chat and the night would fly by.
Ginny always liked the evenings when Jerry came in. They had become close friends and she could really talk to him and he would really listen. Not only that, he didn’t look at her like she was demented when she told him about “things.” Things, like the time after a long night of drinking, she and her girlfriends had made a video of themselves dancing naked in the living room, well almost naked. After some drunken rummaging, they had managed to find some “accessories” to adorn themselves with. So, between them they wore a plastic beaded necklace, three cheap bangle bracelets, and a rhinestone tiara, but no clothes. .
Ginny would never tell a story like this, to any of the other patrons, not even the regulars, (excluding Nigel, Paul and William) because unlike most of the other patrons, Jerry wouldn’t listen to a story like that and interpret it as an invitation to “hit on” her. Ginny had learned long ago that a lot of men translated liberal into “easy” especially when they were drunk. Ginny was the former, for certain, but, with equal certainty, she was not the latter and Jerry knew that.
Ginny met Jerry about six months after she started working at the Royal Oak. He had meandered into the the bar one dreary afternoon to find it empty of patrons, but staffed with a barmaid who had quite obviously been crying. He could see her distress and kindly offered to come back another day, Ginny, insisted that he stay, wiped her nose and asked him what he wanted to drink. As she poured him a Guinness, his empathy compelled her to trust him completely. They talked for hours that afternoon. She told him everything.
Ginny told Jerry that she had been crying because, she had just ended an affair that she had been having with Malcolm. Yes, that Malcolm; her boss, the control freak and the owner of the pub. She had gone against her better judgement, but in all fairness, he had engaged in a relentless pursuit. She had given in and instantly knew that she had made a terrible, terrible mistake. She lasted for five months before she threw in the towel and finally ended the relationship. Malcolm had not taken it well, but, he did not fire her. It didn’t take Ginny long to realize that she still had her job because Malcolm thought he would wiggle his way into a second chance. Every other day, Malcolm would corner her and ask her to please let him try again. Every other day, Ginny would reply: “That will never happen, Malcolm.”
These days Malcolm mostly just stayed in the back. Nobody knew what he was doing back there, and since he was in such a sour mood all of the time, nobody asked.
Ginny got Jerry situated, brought him his beer and leaned over the bar toward him as she sat it down. “Guess what Jerry, there are going to be some big changes around here. Finally, I have the confirmation that I need.” “Okay, I’ll bite. Ginny, what on earth are you talking about?”
“Well, you have to look at what I have.” Ginny pulled the little slip of paper out of its cushioned resting place and handed it to Jerry. “Go ahead, read it. Read it out loud.” “If you insist, my dear.” Jerry looked down at the fortune and began to read: ” Soon, you will get what you’ve been waiting for. Your greatest wish will be fulfilled.” “I’m so happy for you Ginny, but, do tell: What is this “greatest wish” that’s going to come true?” Ginny leaned in and put her lips next to Jerry’s ear and whispered “I want to own and operate The Royal Oak, all by myself. I want it to be mine.”
Before Jerry could respond, they heard screaming and yelling coming from a large crowd that had gathered outside of the bar. “Look Jerry, what are all those people doing? They came out of nowhere!” “Come on Ginny, let’s go check it out.”
When they got outside they could see that all of the people were looking up. Ginny and Jerry looked up too. Ginny saw a man in silhouette, standing on the tallest building in town. It looked like he was getting ready to jump. *Then, as her legs turned to rubber and her guts filled with ice she realized that the silhouette was Malcolm. Ginny fainted.