While the main characters in a story are usually the most captivating, good strong supporting characters can make or break the story. One of my favorite supporting characters is Darby McMahon, the nosy but supportive artist from Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter and Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn. Another is Dr. Anteaus Roosevelt Jones from The Crazy Old Lady Unleashed. Both of them are crucial to the development of the plot and both of them will be back in future stories.
“Oh my stars and whiskers,” Darby said when I ran into him at Dave's Drive-Thru the next morning. “Don't you look like a well-screwed little strumpet this morning? You aren't just glowing, you're positively incandescent.”
“Shush,” I said but I couldn't stop smiling. I filled my thermos with Dave's coffee and added cream and sugar.
“Fleur,” he said, “you're walking bow-legged. When do I get to meet this stud-boy?”
“How did you find out?” I glanced up at him.
“This is Halcyon Beach, honey. You're lucky we didn't bring lawn chairs and popcorn and sit outside your bedroom window. Norb Turner told me how he left you and the heart-throb in the Pub last night and Riley Benton saw you going into your cottage with a big hunk in tow.”
“Riley called him a 'big hunk'?” Riley Benton was another of the Geezers. He and his wife used to own the arcade that was now called Jed's Playhouse.
“Of course he didn't but the minute Norb told me about him I figured it was the delicious morsel I saw getting a tat over at Turtle's yesterday afternoon. I hadn't seen an unfamiliar face in weeks and his wasn't one I'd forget.” He winked at me and gave me a friendly nudge. “Is his dick the size of a Foster's Beer can?”
Much to my chagrin I could feel the blood rising up my neck and turning my face scarlet. I ducked away but too late.
“Oh, sweet baby,” Darby said, wrapping his long arms around me. “Oh, you lucky, lucky little wench.” He hugged me. “You are going to paint a good one today, I can tell. Maybe you should go over to the amusement park and paint the Moon Rocket since you're all primed for it. I've got to get going but I'm dying to meet Mr. Foster's. Toodle-oo.”
|This is Sean Connery, not Doctor Jones, but I |
think they would like each other as they have the
same taste in hats. And I did think of Sean Connery's
character as Indiana Jones's father when I was
creating Dr. Jones.
“Dr. Jones?” I said in a soft voice. The newspaper room was one of the Athenæum's rarities—a quiet room where computers, laptops, and other such devices were strictly forbidden.
“Can I help you?” he squinted up at me, then, in deference to my gender, pushed himself to his feet. He had a narrow face which was so heavily wrinkled that there seemed scarcely anything unlined. His shimmering, snow white hair was neatly combed and his white mustache perfectly clipped. Behind his glasses were two obsidian eyes that sparkled in the light from the green-shaded reading lamps.
“Please,” I said, “don't stand. My name is Vivienne Lang. May I speak with you for a few minutes.”
“Of course, of course, but perhaps we should go out into the foyer. This is a quiet room, you know.” As he spoke he fumbled in his breast pocket for a small, leather folder. Taking it out he slipped a card of heavy vellum from it and handed it to me.
I glanced around. The only other occupants sat at a table at the far end of the room completely lost in their reading. I looked down at the card. In embossed Copperplate Gothic it read Anteus Roosevelt Jones, Ph.D., Professor of American History and below that a phone number with a Boston exchange. I slid into the chair opposite him and leaned closer. I noticed that the gold design on his tie was Harvard University's symbol.
“I don't want to disturb you but I wondered if there might be a time when I could chat with you about something rather unusual. Something having to do with the history of one of the old brownstones on Mount Vernon Street.”
He raised his eyebrows. “I was about to take a break for my mid-morning coffee. There's a little coffee shop a few doors down. Would you care to join me?”
“I'd love to,” I said.
He removed his glasses, folded them into a leather case that he tucked into a jacket pocket, then retrieved a suede newsboys cap from the chair next to him and settled it on his head. “I confess,” he said looking up at me as he rose to his feet, “that I think better with a cup of coffee in one hand and a jelly doughnut in the other.” He picked up a handsomely carved cane from the back of his chair. “Shall we?” he asked.
Thanks for reading!