Mourning and Madness in Lake Derry

Looking into the bartender’s dusky, serpentine eyes, Ralph found it hard to use his voice. “Whiskey,” he managed to murmur, his voice rasping.

Lorraine put the drink down in front of him without a word, then sat down and lit her cigarette.

Ralph found his voice yet again. “I got some questions fer ye, Lorraine. Official police bidness.”

Lorraine didn’t look at him.

“Y’all upset about yer boy? Funny you workin’ the same afternoon he turns up dead. I’d think you’d close up, go home, have yerself a cry and a prayer.”

Lorraine exhaled a cloud of acrid, blue smoke through her nose and didn’t answer for a moment. There were no tears in her eyes, just a peculiar deadness. If her eyes were dead, her voice was anything but. “You think I shot my own son, Ralph Ames?” There was something unhinged now in her tone, something frenzied and calamitous as she stood and turned her eyes on Ralph.

Ralph found himself, for not the first time today, speechless as he watched Lorraine Coomer’s mind break loose ….

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