The card game following the New Year’s Eve party was much anticipated so that Mags could give us the lowdown on why that crazy banker brought a gun, and then shot the gun off on the lawn. I knew that Mags played it down but it was upsetting for her to have a reputation that involved a party with gunplay. Neighborhoods like ours demand a careful examination of any behavior out of the ordinary. And we weren’t living in the wild west anymore.
Judy Anne was hostessing and the theme for the card party was Secrets. Judy Anne loved to decorate and her table was in theme also, so the cupcakes were boxed with just a few peeking out, her hot dish was hidden in a covered casserole and the silverware was wrapped up in brown paper and tied with twine. Later, we discovered that Judy Anne had baked a sweet chocolate surprise into each cupcake. They were cleverly delicious. Her soft rolls were blanketed from view in linen. The drink of the day was A Secret Lady, a concoction imagined by Judy Anne that contained vodka and cranberry juice. The secret must have been how easy it was to get loopy on them because after two, nobody wanted to play cards.
But we did want to hear a report from Mags. It seemed that Kenneth Burns was known at the bank as a bit of a prankster; not the general demeanor of your average banker. Guns and gun ownership never came up in casual discussion at the bank so no one knew that Burns had a gun. Most of the men were happy to put down their guns at the end of the war, although some had brought back great souvenir weapons. Some men also brought back bad memories that made them act strangely from time to time. Mr. Burns was probably in the latter group. He had a lovely quiet wife who cared for him but knew that something was wrong with him. Questioning Kenneth about any unusual behavior made him tense and she had been happy when he landed the account historian position at the bank because it limited his interactions with people. Kenneth’s pranks must have been a way of acting-out but were never dangerous. The bank insisted that Kenneth take some time for some much needed medical attention after the incident.
Mags said that Harold was a little upset when he had to go and find the spent casings in the yard. Men and their lawns. Even in the middle of winter, their thoughts are on keeping up the grass. Or maybe Harold wanted to get rid of the secrets that those little casings left behind.