Nowadays Indie leads a quiet life at the Nursing Home. He’s content to play a bit of music and tend to his garden. He makes sure all the ladies at the home have a fresh rose on their birthday.
His existence was not so peaceful all his adult life. Not only had Indie been a busy Doc, but you could count on him to be the last man to leave a jam session, and he and his pal Blinky went on many a hunting and fishing trip. For a while they owned a boat, but they got lost at sea and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Their wives made them sell it, but they remained the best of friends, perhaps even closer than ever after the “Great Rescue” as they called it.
I got over to see Indie again tonight. Marfar brought some fine shrimp and cocktail sauce, and we had a regular feast. After supper she had to split to go to the Quilt Guild show.
“Indie, let me walk Ms. Marfar out to the car. I’ll be right back. I’m gonna visit while she goes to the show.”
“Sure enough, Bibey. I’ll baby sit you for an hour,” Indie said.
I walked with Marfar to the parking lot, and kissed her bye for the evening. “I’ll be home after a while. I was on call last time I talked to Indie, and our visit got cut short.”
“Well, Indie ain’t long for this world. Better give him his flowers while he is living. I’ll catch you at the house after the show,” Marfar said. “Y’all enjoy your visit.” That Marfar was a good’un. I hope she wins the blue ribbon. I went back to check on Indie.
When I came back in, Indie was finishing off supper. “Bibey, you tell Ms. Marfar she’s welcome any time. Them’s some fine shrimpies. Beats the hell outta that streaky meat you used to bring to Galax.”
“Glad you enjoyed. I’ll send your compliments. So Indie, what was the deal with Betty Wallendorf? That woman had a vendetta against you, brother.”
“Yeah, Bibey. Betty had the mean woman blues for sure.” Indie wheeled over near Barney, the skeleton he’d kept in the corner of his office for years. It was about the only item from the practice he’d brought with him when he moved in. Indie was very fond of Barney, and everyone at the home knew to leave the skeleton be. Barney sat in the corner with Indie’s stethoscope wrapped around his bony neck and never said a word. It’s a good thing. Lord, if Barney the skeleton and Indie’s fiddle could talk- what tales they’d tell. I told Indie it didn’t matter, though. He was the only guy I knew who kept his skeleton out of the closet in plain view anyway. I was Indie’s Doc, and he told me all.
“Check the hallway, Bibey,” Indie said.
“Yes sir.” I went to the door and looked around. I saw no stragglers. “Looks O.K., Indie.”
He reminded me again about the manuscript “Now Bibey, you keep my secrets while I’m alive, but I want you to drop that S.O.B. in the U.S. mail on the way home from the funeral.” Indie was blunt like that.
“Yes, sir,” I said.
Indie hooked Barney by the rib with his cane, and pulled him close. Years ago he had used a bone scalpel to fashion a trap door out of the skull cap. His closest associates knew he kept his valuables there, but it was a secret held close to the vest. He retrieved a couple of small bottles of Jim Beam.
Indie fished around in the drawer of end table at the bedside, found his Dixie cups, and poured himself a drink. “”Care to speak to Jimmy Beam, Bibey?”
“Better not, Indie. Thanks, though.”
“Suit yourself. I don’t offer him to everyone you know.” Indie poured me a Coca-Cola. “Well, Bibey, like I said, when Betty was young, she was quite a looker.”
“Hard to imagine, Indie.”
“Yeah, well you forget Bibey. I was in town a long time before you even went off to college. Blink was the first guy I met when I came to Harnett County. We were instant friends, and he was my first patient. He asked if I’d take care of the whole family, and I said sure, I’m a Family Doc. Not a problem.”
“So that’s how you wound up being Betty’s Doc?”
“Yep, and it was a mistake from the get-go. Hell, the woman came in on the first visit and told me all about what was wrong with Blinky and their sex life. I saw it as trouble. I wouldn’t even go in the exam room without my nurse; you can be sure of that.”
“So, how did it go bad?”
“One night the Country Club had a membership drive. I only went as a favor to Blink, and it turns out he only went to get Betty off his case. Anyway, I had no interest in a membership, but they had a good card room and some free booze, so me and Blink went down to the basement to play poker. Blink got sick, and I had to take him over to emergency room and give him some IV fluids.
“So what has any of this got to do with Betty?”
“Everything. I realized I’d left my durn wallet in the card room and went back to get it. When I got back to the club, everyone had gone home except Betty Wallendorf. She was waiting on me.” Indie poured up a second drink. “Now Bibey, you gotta understand. At that time Betty Wallendorf was a good looking woman.”
“You and Betty Wallendorf? Indie, I ain’t believing this!”
“Ssh, Bibey. You’re too loud. And no, it didn’t go that way. No way. Blink was my best friend.” Indie turned up his drink, then crumpled his Dixie cup and tossed it across the room into the trash can. “She came up and said, ‘Indie, didja lose something?’ And man, she used that kinda voice that can lead a man around on a leash.” I said, ‘yeah, I think I left my wallet.”
Indie fidgeted. “So, she strolls up and mashes ‘em right up agin me. She had on some low cut thing you know. Damn, she was good looking Bibey.”
“Indie, you didn’t didja?”
“Naw Bibey, but I was still young and testosterone poisoned. It took all the will power I had. Anyway, she said, ‘It’s right here, Indie. Your’s for the looking, and the taking.’ Mercy sakes, Bibey.”
Indie scratched his forehead with his left hand just like I’d seen him do when he was worried about a case. I’d never seen him so nervous. I’d a loved to have been a fly on the wall that night. “So Indie, what didja do?”
“I reached in there, snatched my wallet right out from betwixt her boobs and got the hell outta there. Never went back to the club again.”
“Was that he end of it?”
“Nope. She called me at home the next night. Can you believe that? Lord God, if Ms. Jenkins hada answered the phone….”
“What did she say?”
“Women are very intuitive, Bibey. I mean at the club, I turned her down, but she knew good and damn well she’d made me sweat, and she enjoyed it. The woman just flat told me Blinky was a bum. Said any woman in town would love to get laid by a young doctor like me.”
“Good Lord a mercy, Indie. What didja say?”
“Shoot, I said, well that’s a funny thing, Ms. Betty, ‘cause you’re the first woman in town that’s offered except Ms. Jenkins, and she don’t very often. It was a lot easier to deal with over the telephone. I guess I got the message across, ‘cause she transferred her records the next week.”
“I guess that was the end of that.”
“Yeah, except the woman hated me ever since. She tried to sue me when Blinky had his first stroke.”
“Gosh, Indie. I never heard about that one.
“I tell you what, Bibey, it’s another long story. I’m pooped out man, but can you come back next week? I need to tell you that one, too.”
“Will do, Indie. Anything else you need?”
“Yeah, Bibey. How ‘bout bringing some women? It’s been a long time since anyone has offered.”
“Shut up, Indie.” I’d known Indie long enough to know when he was kidding. At least, I think he was anyway.