The weather was hot, sticky and miserable. It was the third week in August of the year 1889, only days before the trial of Wall Hatfield was to begin. After the previous evening’s diversion, Thomas Kelly had slept peacefully. He ate a large breakfast at his hotel, checked for messages at the telegraph office, then promptly walked four blocks down to the office of the District Attorney.
Lee Ferguson was a Pikeville lawyer and associate of Perry Cline. Taking on the role of information liaison, he had conducted a press conference on the steps of the Louisville Bastille. This was after the arrival of the West Virginia prisoners for their habeas corpus hearing. When Kelly learned that the state assigned had him to be the prosecuting attorney for the Hatfield case, the reporter set an appointment to interview Ferguson.
Kelly entered the untidy law office and momentarily awaited the arrival of the busy prosecutor. The observant writer glanced at the wall, admiring the beautifully framed law degree. In the center of the floor, was a worn out rug that laid underneath a beat up maple desk. On top of Ferguson’s small table were piles of papers and files related to the upcoming legal contest. There was also a basket containing a few stale doughnuts, a half-eaten sandwich and several empty sarsaparilla bottles.
A portrait of Daniel Boone, early Kentucky settler also hung on the wall. “That’s the same picture that’s in my hotel room,” Kelly thought. He stood up to read the gold nameplate at the bottom of the portrait. “Daniel Boone,” he mumbled; “Boy they sure love him around here; must have been some kind of big shot.”
A tall, heavyset man entered the room, briskly walking over to shake hands with the reporter. “Sorry I’m late Mister Kelly, but I’m getting kind of busy. The trial begins in two days and I’m wrapping up some loose ends,” Ferguson stated.
Kelly smiled, turning on his charm. “I fully understand and appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to see me.”
“Not a problem at all, though your certainly not the first reporter that’s been in here to see me.” Ferguson opened a file and began to read its contents.
“That’s been the story of my life, a day late and a buck short.”
“Can I offer you some coffee Mister Kelly?”
“No, I had some at the hotel.” Kelly sat back down in the chair in front of the desk.
The lawyer looked up from his reading. “Of course you are with one of the largest newspapers in New York. That carries a lot of weight with me. Yes sir, mighty impressive.”
Kelly removed his note pad from a leather satchel. “I’m just an Irish mug from a hell hole called the Five Points. I’m lucky enough to make a living stretching the truth.”
Ferguson nodded and smiled politely. “Well Sir, what can I tell you about the case?”
“With the convoluted twists and turns of this feud do you think you’ll get a conviction against Wall Hatfield?
“I’m quite certain of it.” Ferguson paused, folded his hands and leaned forward in his big chair. “I’ve got witnesses that will place him at the site of the murder, and I have something better than that.”
“Yes? What would that be?” Kelly asked the prosecutor.
“I’ve got a signed confession from Wall’s nephew, the bastard son of his late brother.”
“Yes, what’s his name again?”
Kelly nodded. “That’s right, old Cottontop.
“Yes, that’s right, Cottontop. And he has provided us with irrefutable testimony about the murders of the three McCoy brothers.”
“What method did you use to extract this confession? Did you employ a blackjack like one of our Manhattan Policeman?” Kelly said jokingly.
“No, we don’t conduct our business like that down here Mister Kelly.”
“I certainly didn’t mean to imply anything.”
“Don’t worry Sir, you didn’t offend me. I know you’re being droll. We may not be as sophisticated as New Yorkers, but Pikeville isn’t exactly full of backwoodsmen.”
“Kelly nodded in agreement. “No, I can see that.”
“Ellison Mounts isn’t the smartest wolf in the pack. After the detectives delivered him to town, I began working on him with my questions. He started off by being a real hard case; but I got him to spill the beans by telling him that the Hatfields had hung him out to dry,” explained Ferguson.
“So what did you do when the kid began to crack?”
“When Mounts began to cooperate, I got Cline, the Sheriff and a secretary in our holding cell to hear his confession. I couldn’t believe the details this kid remembered, After all, he’s considered an idiot. He’s named Gillespie, Carpenter, Messer and Old Wall Hatfield himself. The whole bunch was there when the McCoy brothers were killed. Wall swore them all to an oath of secrecy. Of course I’m still missing the nastiest ones in the batch, Devil Anse and his sons Cap and Johnse,” Ferguson said, with a slight tone of frustration.
“How many men are you bringing cases against Mister Ferguson?”
“Call me Lee,” replied the large attorney.
“Thank you I will; but in return I expect you to call me Kelly, that’s what my friends call me.”
Ferguson smiled, nodding his head. “I have assembled cases against seven men including Wall. And I have a strong body of evidence and witnesses to support the charges against them.”
“Who are the other men Lee? Are they mostly Hatfields?”
“No, they’re mainly friends of the Hatfields. Charley Carpenter is one of them. He tied up the poor McCoy brothers before the others murdered them. Alex Messer is another. We also have the Mahon brothers, Doc, Plyant and Sam. Those three are Wall’s son-in-laws. Finally of course, we also have Mounts, my star witness. Mister Kinner has dismissed charges against two men, in exchange for their testimony against Wall Hatfield.”
Kelly finished writing down the attorney’s previous statement and briefly looked up from his notepad. “And who might they be?” He inquired.
“Two brothers we arrested, Dan and Jeff Whitt. They were both present during the murders. All of the other men were shooters. The first man up before the bench will be old Wall. He among them was surely the ring leader; him along with his murdering brother. If we only had his brother, if we only had that old Devil Anse.” Ferguson concluded.
The Pikeville Court house was a two story, red-brick building, with wooden windows painted with white trim. At the front of the second floor was a small balcony with French doors. This brought welcome relief if a spectator needed to get some fresh air or have a smoke. The courtroom filled to capacity with people who sat in the dark, stained wooden benches waiting to see the famous Hatfield men. Reporters from newspapers around the country were also in attendance, including Thomas Randolph Kelly.
At opposite ends in front of the judge’s bench, were two oblong tables along with large leather chairs provided for the defense and prosecuting attorneys. Representing the Sixteenth Judicial District, for the commonwealth of Kentucky were S.G. Kinner and Lee Ferguson.
Wall Hatfield had retained Confederate war hero Braxton Gaynor for his defense. He was the first litigator to take the floor of the packed courtroom. Known as the “Fighting Confederate,” he was the youngest man to rise to the rank Brigadier General in the rebel army. He had been a dashing young cavalryman who forged his reputation under the command of Stonewall Jackson. He distinquished himself at the Seven Days campaign and the battle of Chancellorsville.
Gaynor was fifty-two years old and had put on a fair amount of weight since his glory days. He carried his extra pounds well, walking with the confidence of a man of privilege. His suit was richly tailored and rebel grey, as if to remind all present of his valiant deeds during the War Between the States.
“Gentleman of the jury, Let me ask you a simple question.” He paused, looking at each man in the box. “What are we doing here today? My client is an innocent man. He has been wrongly accused of three murders. In fact, never in my estimation, has such an innocent man been so wrongly accused of a crime he could not and would not perpetrate. Yes, he was there when the young men were taken, but his only concern was for their safety and just treatment.
Gaynor walked over to where the jury foreman sat and leaned in smiling at him. “Wall Hatfield is not a murderer. He is far from that and the evidence that I will present will prove that conclusively; and we’ll all be able to go back to our homes and our work. You the jurors, can return this upstanding man sitting before you, back to his home and back to his life. It will be my job to convince the twelve men of this jury that what I’m saying is the absolute, gospel truth; and it will be your job to exonerate Wall Hatfield. This must be done in the name of what the average citizen understands is justice in this country. It must be done in the name of what we know is the right thing to do.”
The attentive jury was sufficiently impressed by the impassioned words of the former war hero. After all, most of them considered themselves loyal southerners. Though it was now the prosecuting attorney’s turn to speak his peace and he had the hometown advantage.
The honorable Judge John M. Rice was chosen to preside over the Hatfield trial. This was a now an extremely high profile case with considerable political ramifications for those involved. Governor Buckner selected Rice, based upon his reputation for honesty during his many years of service on the bench. “You may present your opening remarks Mister Ferguson,” he instructed.
Having had several months to prepare for the case, Ferguson was ready for his opening statement. He confidently walked to the center of the courtroom and stood in front of the jury. Dressed in a blue, pin striped suit, with his hands clasped behind him, he began to address the twelve men sitting attentively before him.
“Gentlemen, Wall Hatfield is a heinous murderer. This is the plain, common sense truth. You are all intelligent men, who want to hear what is the truth of this terrible tragedy. The truth is, that the defendant is a cold, calculated killer and the commonwealth of Kentucky will prove it to you. He kidnapped two men and a boy, with the intention obstructing real justice from being carried out.”
Ferguson pointed his index finger directly at Wall. “That man sitting over there, with malice of forethought played judge, jury and finally deemed himself as chief executioner. Motivated solely by vengeance, he took the law into his own hands. Now he must pay for it.
You, the jury, have the opportunity to right this wrong and provide this man with his portion of real justice. This, is infinitely more than he provided for the poor McCoy brothers. You, the men seated before me today, have an opportunity to send a message out to law breakers in our great state. You, the men seated here today can send out a warning that our state will not tolerate lawless men and vigilante justice. That our state will enforce the law like a swift and powerful thunderbolt sent down from the heavens. That our state will be a safe place for its men, women and children; and will be governed by the law and only the law.”
Lee Ferguson finished his statement, quietly walking over to pat his associate, S.G. Kinner, on his shoulder. With opening remarks made, Kentucky was ready to present their case against Wall Hatfield, and called their first witness. “The state calls Randolph McCoy your honor,” the prosecutor announced in a loud voice.
Dressed in a white shirt and black pants, a sixty four year old Randolph McCoy stepped into the witness box. His white hair, mustache and beard had a few streaks of his once darker color. His face had aged terribly from suffering the loss of his six children. He was tired and battered, but not beaten. The old man had waited years for his day in court, a real court. Now that day had finally arrived.
Lee Ferguson gave Randolph his opportunity to tell his version of events that transpired on Election Day 1882. When he completed his well rehearsed testimony, Gaynor then had the opportunity to cross examine the witness.
“Good afternoon Mister McCoy, I’m Braxton Gaynor, how are you today sir?” Asked the defense attorney.
“I’m fine,” Randolph declared sternly.
“Good, that’s fine sir. I know it was a long time ago, but can you tell me the names of the men who took your sons into custody?”
Randolph folded his arms tightly. “Yes, Devil Anse and Wall Hatfield.”
“Who else was present sir?”
“Cap and Johnse Hatfield were there too.”
Gaynor moved in a little closer to the witness. “Who else was there sir, can your remember their names?”
“I don’t recollect.”
“You don’t recollect?” The lawyer repeated loudly for the jury to hear.
“No sir, I don’t.”
“You don’t recollect who was there, yet you know Wall Hatfield was there?”
“Yes sir, that’s right.”
“Mister McCoy, who shot your boys on Election Day?” Gaynor asked suddenly.
“I don’t know for sure, I wasn’t there when they shot them,” the witness said squirming in his chair.
“You don’t know who killed your boys, yet you know Wall Hatfield was there. What else don’t you know?”
Lee Ferguson abruptly looked up from taking notes. “Objection your honor, Consul may have set a new world record badgering a witness.”
“Your objection is sustained Mister Ferguson. Mister Gaynor, you must please confine yourself to specific questions and refrain from extemporaneous commentary,” Rice instructed.
“Yes your honor. Mister McCoy, in your testimony to Mister Ferguson, you stated that Wall Hatfield and several other men whose names you can’t remember overtook the men transporting your sons back to Pikeville.”
“Yes, that’s what I said,” Randolph answered somewhat impatiently.
Gaynor again moved closer to the witness. “Do you remember the names of the men, who attempted to take your sons back to Pikeville?”
“Err…um…I think it was Joe and Matt Hatfield.”
“Yes and what were the names of the other men who were with them?”
“I can’t recall.”
“Well, since you testify being with these men, do you remember what Wall Hatfield said when he took custody of your sons Mister McCoy?”
“Yeah, he said something about my boys should be tried in the place where the crime was committed.”
“Tried, tried for what Mister McCoy?”
“Tried for killing Ellison Hatfield.”
Gaynor turned towards the jury, increasing his volume. “You did say tried and not murdered, didn’t you Mister McCoy?”
“Yeah, that’s what I said, what’s a matter are you deef?” Randolph replied. The courtroom exploded with laughter.
Judge Rice slammed down his gavel. “I will have order in my courtroom at all times,” he admonished. “Mister McCoy, you will please confine your answers to a yes or no.”
Gaynor regained his composure and resumed his cross examination. “Mister McCoy, as you stated before, you really don’t know who killed your boys?”
“Yes sir, I didn’t see it happen, but I know who did it,” Randolph rebutted.
“And since you weren’t there, you really can’t say that it wasn’t Wall Hatfield’s intention to give your boys a fair trial?”
“I know that wasn’t his intention.”
“Mister McCoy, just answer yes or no. You can’t say for sure, that it wasn’t Wall Hatfield’s intention to give your boys a fair trial?”
Ferguson stood up from his chair. “Your honor I object. Now learned consul is asking the witness to speculate about the defendant’s intent.”
“I’ll allow it,” Rice immediately replied.
“Mister McCoy, I’ll repeat the question. Can you say that you know for certain that Wall Hatfield did not intend to give your boys a fair trial?”
“No, Since I wasn’t there, I can’t say for sure,” answered Randolph, hanging his head down.
“No further questions for the witness your honor,” the defense attorney announced.
The courtroom suddenly buzzed with the sound of low talking voices. “Ladies and gentleman, we must have silence in my courtroom at all times” Judge Rice warned. “Mister McCoy, you are excused from the witness box.
The prosecution had not faired well with Randolph as their first witness. Ferguson and Kinner hoped to rebound with the testimony of Sarah McCoy. In spite of her frail appearance, she had fully recovered from the wounds she received during the New Year’s Day attack. All eyes in the court were now glued to the old woman as she began to speak.
The burly court bailiff stepped up and administered the oath to Sarah McCoy. “Do you so swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?,” He asked.
Yes, I do” Sarah said softly, taking her seat before the judge and jury.
Lee Ferguson walked over towards the witness stand, stopping only two feet in front of the witness. “Misses McCoy, how many of your children have died violently during the feud between your family and the Hatfield clan?” Ferguson boldly asked.
Outraged by his question, Gaynor stood up and yelled loudly in his Virginia drawl, “Your honor, I strongly object to the prosecutor’s question. What possible relevance can it have to the case in hand?”
“Objection is sustained. Mister Ferguson, you will please confine your questions to ones regarding the case before the bench,” instructed the judge.
“Your honor, I think my question has the greatest bearing on this case. It establishes the motive for repetitive hostilities between the two families,” Ferguson fired back.
“Mister Ferguson, I’ve already made my ruling.” Judge Rice looked over at all the attorneys. “Counselors, I hope I don’t have to warn either one of you again, about sticking to the case before the bench.” Gaynor, Ferguson and Kinner all nodded in agreement.
The prosecutor turned away from Sarah, walking over to where the jury sat. “Let me rephrase my question. Misses Hatfield. How many sons did you lose, as a result of the Election Day incident in eighteen eighty two?” Ferguson asked.
“Three, I lost three of my boys, Tolbert, Pharmer and Randolph junior.”
“And how old was Randolph Junior?”
“He was just sixteen.”
Ferguson shook his head. “Yes sixteen, and I’m sure were all very sorry about this tragedy. Misses McCoy, please tell the court, what happened on the night of August 8th, 1882.”
“Well, Mary Butcher, my son Tolbert’s wife and I, walked a fair distance to the old schoolhouse in Mate Creek. That’s where the Hatfields, were holding my boys.”
“Please tell the court what occurred next, Misses McCoy,” Ferguson instructed.
“When we got to the abandoned schoolhouse, it was late in the evening, about ten o’clock. Wall Hatfield stood at the entrance, blocking Mary and me from seeing my boys. It was downpour, the likes of which would’ve caused Noah to build another ark,” described Sarah. Her remark elicited slight chuckles in the courtroom.
“Go on dear, you’re doing just fine. What else occurred?”
“Wall Hatfield stood there all high and mighty and he wouldn’t let me see my boys. It was his brother Devil Anse that let us pass.”
Lee Ferguson knew that the jury took Sarah’s testimony in earnest. He observed that they were hanging on her every word. “Misses McCoy, what was the condition of your sons when you entered the cabin?”
“They was cold, tired, tied up and a scared to death. I begged the Hatfield brothers to let my boys go so they could get a fair trial. Wall said that if his brother Ellison lived, then my boys would live too. But if he died, my boys would too.”
The prosecutor smiled at his witness. “What happened after that Misses McCoy?”
“Wall and Devil Anse told us to go. They said that they couldn’t stand to hear me wail no more. I’m sure that what they couldn’t stand, was their own murdering guilt eating at their souls,” Sarah said in a raised octave.
“Objection your honor, the witness is speculating on the thoughts of the accused,” Gaynor concluded.
“Objection sustained. Misses McCoy, please just stick to statements of fact and not your opinions.”
“Yes your honor, I’m sorry.” Sarah again looked at Lee Ferguson. Well Sir, me and Mary were forced to leave…and…and that was the last time I saw my boys alive,” said Sarah, wiping her tears.
Ferguson paused for a moment to give his question the proper dramatic effect. “Sarah, who do think killed your boys?”
Before she could answer Braxton Gaynor loudly objected. “Your honor, the prosecuting attorney is asking the witness to speculate on this question, as opposed to making a statement of fact.”
“Objection sustained, Misses McCoy you will refrain from answering that question. Mister Ferguson you know better than that.”
“I withdraw the question your honor. Thank you Misses McCoy, I have no further questions,” Ferguson feigned indignation and took his seat.
The defense attorney now had the job of cross examining Sarah McCoy. He sat at his table thinking for a moment before he spoke. “Good morning Misses McCoy, how are you today?”
“I’m fine, but I’d be better if you got on with it, so we can get this over with,” Sarah quipped.
The courtroom broke out with laughter, causing the lawyer’s face to turn red. He composed himself, smiling politely. “Misses McCoy, you stated to Mister Ferguson that, Wall Hatfield blocked your entrance to the old school house. Is that not correct?”
“Yes that’s correct.”
“Misses McCoy, that was almost eight years ago. How can you be sure it was Wall and not his brother Devil Anse?”
Sarah McCoy petulantly blurted her answer. “I’ve known the man for thirty years; I think I know what he looks like.”
Gaynor now knew that Sarah had a better memory than her husband. “Misses McCoy, what are the names of the other men who were with Wall and Devil Anse at the cabin?”
In spite of the lawyer’s attempt to tax her memory, Sarah rapidly rolled off the names. “It was Cap, Johnse, Alex Messer, Charlie Carpenter, Dan Whitt; and several other men were outside in tents.”
Gaynor turned away from the witness and faced the courtroom audience. “Misses McCoy, didn’t Wall Hatfield come to visit you at the home of Perry Cline, after you had been badly beaten; and didn’t you mention to him, that your late son Tolbert had told you at the cabin, that Wall had been kind to them?”
“No!” yelled Sarah in a shrill voice. “I never made any such remark. My son was scared to death that man was going to kill them. He told them, that He was gonna fill them full of more holes than a sifter bottom. That’s what I remember.”
The defense counsel was momentarily shaken. “I have no further questions for this witness your Honor.”
At the end of Sarah McCoy’s damaging testimony, Judge Barr adjourned the proceedings for the day.
During the first day of the Hatfield trial, Thomas Kelly had taken several pages of notes. He had every intention of going back to his hotel room, to begin working on his next dispatch. However, as he walked into the lobby of the Pikeville Court House, something distracted him. He bumped into his paid companion from the previous evening.
“Thomas, what are you doing here?” The Debbie inquired.
“Oh, hello there, I’m here reporting on the trial for the New York Globe.”
“New York Globe, what’s that?”
Kelly rolled his eyes with mock indignation. “It’s only one of the largest newspapers in the country.”
“Oh, my goodness, I didn’t realize you were such an important man.”
“I’m not. I am however, an extremely talented man that gets a decent wage for reporting the news. And when I don’t get the facts straight, I just make them up.”
Debbie chuckled at the reporter’s wit. “Are folks in New York interested in this?”
“Yes, New Yorkers love to read about other people’s misfortunes. It takes their minds off their own troubles.” The reporter tucked his leather satchel under his arm. “So we know why I’m here, what the devil brings you here?”
“I have the day off, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve been reading about it in our town newspaper for months.”
Kelly suddenly had a whim. “Since you have the day off, would you do me the honor of joining me for supper?”
Debbie hesitated for a moment, as she normally wouldn’t be seen in public with clients. “Yes, I would like that very much. I don’t get to hob knob with many big city newspaper men.”
Kelly smiled and extended his arm. “I’ll try not to be a disappointment.”
Debbie wrapped her arm around her escort. “I’m sure you’ll do your best.”
Kelly and his companion enjoyed a steak dinner at the Starlight Palace saloon. It was a Wednesday evening and the tavern was quiet and dimly lit. They sat at a secluded table, making small talk about the differences between metropolitan and small-town lifestyles. Kelly talked about his love of journalism and told Debbie about some of his recent work. Unlike his dinner date, he had traveled around the country and had twice journeyed to Europe.
Debbie had lived in Louisville and Pikeville all of her life. Although she had only had a limited formal education, Kelly found her to be an intelligent and stimulating conversationalist. She in turn viewed Kelly as attractive, worldly and a pleasant change from the men she met practicing her evening vocation.
“I suppose your wondering why I became a prostitute.” Debbie blurted out.
Kelly nearly choked on his dinner. “No, I was just enjoying the company of a vibrant woman. Your reasons for how you make your living are your business. Since you did bring it up, why are you?”
“I like you and want to tell you anyway.”
Kelly bowed modestly at her remark. “Thank you. ”
“My husband and I met in Louisville. I was working at the grocery and he used to come in and bring me fresh flowers. He would tell me I was the prettiest thing he had ever seen.”
“Your husband was a man with good eyesight. What happened, did you leave him?”
Debbie looked down and began to blush. “Hell, we were just kids and he was as sweet a man as there ever was. Clarence was his name. He had a job with the Wentworth coal mining company, outside of Louisville. It paid pretty well and he loved doing it. I had only known him a short time before we were married. Six months after our wedding he was killed inside the mine, which was nearly three years ago.”
“I’m terribly sorry, what happened?”
“It was an accident, nobody’s fault really. He was setting a dynamite charge on a clogged chute. The charge went off before he expected. Twenty tons of coal suddenly gave way and buried him alive.
Kelly shook his head. “That’s a bloody shame.”
“Clarence loved everything about mining and setting explosives. He used to drive me crazy at dinnertime with all his talk about that damn mine. I guess he died doing what he loved.” Debbie looked Kelly directly in his eyes. “Funny isn’t it? Someone who loves being down in hole in the ground like that.”
“Men are funny that way, and maybe he liked the seclusion. I guess I love my job too. And sometimes I wind up in some real hellholes.” Kelly paused as the barmaid delivered to drinks to the table. “Well it’s awful he got himself killed. It must have been hard on you.”
Debbie slowly sipped the fresh glass of champagne. Reflecting upon her past had an effect she had not anticipated. She sighed softly. “Anyway, I was in bad shape and I became a drunk and whore. I’ve never been much for working in a store or a cafe. When Clarence was alive, I stayed home and took care of him. We almost had a kid right before he died, but I lost the baby. Probably just as well, I wouldn’t have made much of a mother after he died.”
“You’ve had a tough time and I’m sorry for your loss,” Kelly replied.
Debbie’s tone of sadness became suddenly more cavalier. “Don’t going playing the violins for me. I’m twenty-eight years old and I’m doing what I want. It’s not so hard what I do. After all, I perform a service for the community. I even got a judge and the mayor as my customers.” She lifted her glass, toasted the air and drank it down.
Kelly stared at the young woman for a moment, trying not to pity her. To him her life seemed sad and empty, but this attracted him even more. His life had an aspect of emptiness too.
Debbie abruptly changed the subject. “Hey lets see some of these stories you write.”
“Now? You’re kidding right?”
“Yeah now,” she answered.
The couple left the saloon and window shopped, occasionally kissing while walking back to the Hotel. The reporter showed his date the story he had written about Johnse and Roseanna. For ten minutes Kelly watched as Debbie quietly read his article without saying a word. When she finished, she laid the paper down on the night stand and smiled. “You’re a real romantic sort.”
“I’m just writing what people want to hear.” Kelly grabbed the bottle of Whiskey on his dressing table and poured a drink for himself and his guest. “Besides, it was a juicy story, real Shakespearean drama,” he replied cynically.
“I don’t know about any of that flowery claptrap but you’re good. This is much better than the things they write in our local paper.”
Kelly tipped his Bowler and spun it on his forefinger. “Why thank you Madame, my first critical success in Pikeville.”
Debbie suddenly leaned over and kissed Kelly on the mouth.
“What was that for?”
“I don’t know, I like you,” she replied.
“Is that apart from your professional feelings?”
“Shut up and pour me another drink.”
Thomas did as Debbie instructed and served the pretty girl a shot of bourbon. The couple drank several more swigs while talking until two o’clock in the morning. They both fell asleep for a short time and when Kelly awoke two hours later, Debbie was gone.