This snippet is from the second in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, STUCKEY’S LEGACY. Last week, I posted a snippet from the first book. You can see it HERE. Next Saturday, I’ll post a snippet from the coming book, STUCKEY’S GOLD. It is scheduled for release on August 25th!
Levi was so elated at his good fortune, he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep, so he stopped off at the King Street Pub near the old Charleston Orphan House. He wandered into the musty-smelling place, with its plank floor and wood tables, and ordered a whiskey at the bar. Ragtime music filled the room from a piano player in the corner, and the air was foggy with cigar smoke. He always thought he’d like to partake in the habit but he just couldn’t stand the smell. He pulled the silver lighter from his pocket and flipped the top open and closed over and over without pushing the ignition button. He gazed around the room. The place was quite lively for a Monday night. A handful of men sat at the other end of the bar and a few played cards around a large table in the center of the room.
“Where are all the women?” he asked the barkeep.
“Not much business for them here on a Monday, but I can send for some ladies if you’d like.” The husky man wiped down the bar top with a dirty cloth and then shoved it back into his stained apron. “You’ll have to make it worth their time, though, if you know what I mean.”
Levi grinned. “I can certainly do that. I’m having a celebration of sorts tonight. It’d be nice to have some company.”
“Louis!” the barkeep called over his shoulder.
Levi downed his drink as a dirty, young boy dressed in knickers, with long curls sticking out of his sailor hat, appeared from around the corner. The barkeep told him to run down to Miss Mabel’s place and ask her to send over a couple ladies. The boy nodded and ran back the same way he had come.
The man turned to Levi. “They’ll be here shortly. Miss Mabel runs a tight ship.”
The word ship made Levi smile. He flipped the lighter open and closed again.
“Why don’t you get in on a couple hands of poker and a good cigar while you wait,” the barkeep said, gesturing toward the game.
“No, I’m not much of a card player and not really in the mood for a cigar. I’ll just have a refill and wait for the ladies.” Levi pushed his empty glass toward the barkeep, who refilled it and sloshed it back toward Levi.
Levi downed the whiskey and listened to the piano player for a few minutes. When the man started playing “Camptown Races,” Levi started humming along. “Doo dah, doo dah, camptown racetrack’s five miles long, oh…”
His singing was interrupted by the jingle of the brass bells on the front door. He spun around and saw two women enter. They glanced at the barkeep, who nodded toward Levi. One of the women was a thin brunette, wearing a light green dress that gave her body more of an hourglass shape than she probably had. The other was a blonde, wearing a loose-fitting blue dress that sloppily drooped off one shoulder. She caught Levi’s eye and dramatically pulled the neckline back up to its proper spot, raising her chin as if she were royalty and he a mere peasant. He smiled at her pompousness.