Tag was the lawyer assigned to Indie’s case. Her real name was Lucille Taggert, but Indie nicknamed her Tag, and it stuck. When she first showed up at his office Indie did a double take, excused himself, and called me.
“God almighty, Bibey. They’ve done sent me one of the Bobsie twins. I’m doomed.” Tag was indeed young. With her freckles and red hair she coulda passed for Little Orphan Annie in the school play. All she lacked was to pull her hair back in pig-tails, but she wore a modern cut like what you’d see on cover of the Ladies magazines at the office.
It was a no-nonsense look that fit. When Tag opened up her briefcase and went to work, she was no kid, but a serious woman. At the same time, she had grown up in the country and understood Indie better than most city folks.
When Indie’d get mad and cuss Tag would say, “Now Indie, I know you feel that way, but you gotta talk like your mama’d want you to.” She knew horses and Indie won a few bets in the Derby based on her advice.
Indie could be an emotional sort, and it worked out best to have a lady lawyer. I think some high powered man mighta laughed at him. Then all those bluegrass boys in Harvey County woulda beaten the guy up and Indie’d been in worse trouble than what he was to start with.
Tag could be be emotional too, though not as much as Indie. She kept it in check most of the time. When she did get mad though, she could send those male lawyers running for cover. Jackson Leggett, the lawyer for Harvey Memorial made some comments about Indie’s character as to his relationship with little Molly, and it was a lie. Well, Tag went right over to their headquarters and cussed ‘em out. They issued a formal statement of apology in a half hour.
Poor Indie spent a lot days just plum pissed off, and it was Tag who could get him outside the case. “It’s just a thing, Indie,” she’d say. “Something to work through.” Tag knew all the bluegrass sayings, and could talk turkey with Indie ’cause of it. Sure, it was a business to her, but she understood even though Indie was a rough sort, the Mandolin Case hurt his feelings. After all, Blinky was his best friend, and in his heart he never believed he had done wrong.
All you lady readers are gonna dig Tag. She was plenty feminine, but she made her way in the world on toughness. Who said women couldn’t fight? In a war of ideas and words, I’d want Tag on my team any day. Indie later went back and apologized to her for his first impression. “Young lady, you’re tougher than a pine knot. My hat’s off to you.”
“For heaven’s sake Indie, don’t take off that cap. The reflection of the sun’ll hurt my eyes,” she said.
“Shut the hell up, Tag.” They both laughed.
She and Indie talked like that to each other. Folks who didn’t know them thought they were disrespectful. I’m sure my readers know better.
Tag busted right through the glass ceiling and went to the top of the heap, and it was all on merit- she was Physician’s Liability’s top gun, and the first woman to be an ace for the company. At first Indie thought she was a rookie cause of her youth, but he apologized. Tag laughed and said it wouldn’t be the last time. Besides, in her line of work she found it best to be underestimated, and to look young and innocent was a strategic advantage.
When we looked back, we were sure Physician’s Liability sent her ’cause she was a seasoned veteran. Tag was the one they’s send when they were worried. They knew the Mandolin Case would be a long slog right from the get go.
Freckled, red haired, Tag was 5’9″ and 125 pounds. She had hazel eyes and a smile ’bout like Mona Lisa when she had the goods on someone. Picture Renee Zellweger with freckles and you’ve got it. She was educated at Chapel Hill, both undergrad and law school, and did medical/legal defense work throughout her career.
Her favorite T.V. show was Andy, so me and her got along good. She loved Indie’s version of the fiddle tune ‘Rag Time Annie’- Indie said she looked like a little rag doll- but she was woman enough not to take offense. Tag was a Southern girl, and loved ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Steel Magnolias.” She’d cry in the same places every time and warn’t ashamed of it. And she shouldn’t a been – Tag was one more tough young-un.
She grew up around horses and still knew how to ride, so it was easy for her to get to know Molly Tenbrooks in a hurry. By the end of the Mandolin Case, she and Indie bet on the ponies on a regular basis. Half the time they gave each other IOUs, and at the end Indie owed her $57.23. He paid up right away. Said it was the best investment he ever made.
Tag loved the Beatles, and also Doc Watson. She came to love Bill Monroe too after she got to know me and Indie. After hanging out in Harvey County for a few years, she was just one of the guys, and won our eternal respect.
Tag is one of the great stories of the Mandolin Case. Old men should never be prejudiced. A young woman can teach ‘em a few things about the world if they’ll listen. Indie could be stubborn, but he respected Tag. When she spoke he paid attention.
It’s a good thing he did. In the Mandolin Case, Indie needed all the help he could get.