I couldn’t really put it together yet. I needed to answer the next question, but it was getting late, I was freezing and worn out from dragging myself in and out of Charlie’s truck. I had to get some sleep. There was no way around it. My lights went out.
It was one of those gray, cloudy, abominations of a day where it felt like the sun never really even rose. I woke up late in the morning and started my day with a cup of coffee and the crossword’s next question.
Who did Charlie lose his virginity to?
Jesus Jonathan. This one was going a little bit too far and I honestly didn’t know what the answer was. His first real girlfriend (Naomi was just a little kid thing) was Lacy Haliber his sophomore year of high school, but I doubted that was who he first got to give it up. The crossword confirmed that when it didn’t accept Lacy as an answer.
I could ask Lacy though. She was a sad, daytime bartender at the only bar in town that was still open. It would force me to go out in public again and potentially have to interact with other people I knew in high school, but it was probably my best shot.
Lacy worked the lunchtime rush at The Gold Rush bar nestled in-between two foreclosed businesses in the middle of downtown Howeville. It was the last surviving bar in a town which once had four and it kind of had become the unofficial town hall at this point.
Part of the reason The Gold Rush was able to stay in business was Lacy Haliber. She was the rare kind of small town beauty who didn’t move away, pack on 50 pounds, choose Christ and have like four kids before 25 or shave off her eyebrows and draw them on. She was a soft, but in-shape girl with auburn hair who actually kind of looked like a dirtier Amy Adams. Strangely, she decided to pursue a career as a daytime bartender in rural Virginia.
Hey, at least it worked out well for me for tracking her down to ask a question.
It took my eyes a second to adjust to walking into a dank, dark pit of a room even when coming from the gloom of a cloudy day, but after they did, I could see about five guys who all looked like they could have been the ghost of my dad, or at least friends of my dad, sitting at the bar drinking beer. A few wheels into the place and I thankfully saw Lacy manning the bar, popping the top off a cheap bottle of beer.
Lacy noticed me as I wheeled up to the bar and greeted me with a toothy smile and an instant look of recognition.
“Hannah. I don’t think I have ever seen you in here,” Lacy announced my arrival and felt all of the eyes in the room instantly turn to me.
“Yeah, yeah,” I blushed and shot away eye contact. “It’s been a while.”
“You want anything to drink?” Lacy asked.
“No…well…actually…a Diet Coke. That would be cool. I just have some incredibly random questions to ask you.”
“No question is too random for me. I had a guy in here last night who wanted to talk about the first day of Kindergarten,” Lacy said with a naive smile.
“Okay…you asked for it,” I punctuated my statement with a half laugh.