"He gets a little irritable when he hasn't had his medicine, Darren..." She said, watching Cletus light the joint. Darren nodded silent, pulling himself together as he watched the menacing man puff away at his hand rolled cigarette.
"I'm not irritable, I'm being bothered..." Cletus protested, his scowl cracking a little as he was finding it difficult to hold his face. It soon gave way, a goofy smile breaking out of his stern glare.
"I'm just being a dick, man..." He said to Darren, shaking his head a little as he passed the joint over to him. Darren laughed it off as he accepted the smoke, taking a light hit off it before handing it to Dixie.
"But I really am curious as to why you're bugging my chick while she's at work about me..." Cletus continued.
"Well, like I said, I am a paranormal investigator and it seems that your name has come across in an investigation I'm doing..."
"In Blue Ridge?" Cletus asked, hoping to mask the flash of nervousness that crossed his reddening eyes.
"Well, I am here investigating something else actually, just worked out you happened to be in the area. No, your name came up in a case I was working in South Carolina about six months ago..." He said, taking a hit off the joint as his turn arrived again before passing it along. He was keeping himself vague, so as to not startle Broshus.
"You must be talking about Lester and his damned Lizard men..." Cletus said with a toothy smile, chuckling slightly at the sound of Lester's name left his lips.
"Yes sir, the very same..."
"And how is ol' Lester?"
"He's good. Sends his regards, or at least asked me to should I ever bump into you..."
"Excellent, excellent. And send him mine, should you ever see him again," Cletus went on, taking a draw off his beer as he spoke.
"Who's Lester?" Dixie asked, confused.
"Lester," Darren started," is a man who claims his property is being terrorized by Lizard Men."
"No shit." Dixie said, her face deadpan.
"Yea," Cletus chimed in, stoned smile painted wide across his bearded face.
"Had me out there a few times with him to try and hunt one of those fucking things... Good guy, that Lester... Crazy as all fuck, but a good guy..."
"So you didn't believe his story? He had painted you as a true believer..." Darren asked, fumbling around in his bag for his notebook and recorder.
"I'm going to take notes, if you don't mind..." He continued, setting down his equipment as he went, hoping to explain his sudden actions.
"And here I thought we was chatting all friendly like..." Cletus teased as he tossed a half glance towards Dixie (smiling pretty, unsure of what to make of all this herself).
"Oh, we are... Just you're telling me things I hadn't gotten about Lester..." Darren vamped, setting the recorder between the three of them on a wobbly coffee table, hoping to settle his subject... Get him comfortable talking about some thing else before springing his true reason upon him.
"So, you were saying... About crazy ol' Lester,"
"Well, uh... Is this thing on..." Cletus teased, tapping his finger against the recorder.
"Naw, he had a good story, sure... And I guess it must have touched him more than I had figured, my not laughing at him as he told it, but I never saw nothing to lead me to believe that there were no Lizard Men."
"No scratches, no dens?" Darren said, the story Cletus telling vastly different than that told to him by Lester. But Darren had vetted Lester's story... Hear it countless times, the details the same each and every telling. He had seen the dens and the scratches too.
"Nothing to make me say there be lizard men in the low lands... Bears, maybe... But no lizard men. Now is that all?" Cletus asked, his tone a bit irked. He wasn't being rude, but Darren could tell he was hitting a wall; something in the topic drawing an ill ease out of Cletus. This was something Darren was hoping not to do.
"No, actually it wasn't at all what I was here for..." He started, looking over at the pair. They fed off each other, Cletus and Dixie; his growing ill at ease causing her to grow spiny as she glared at Darren.
"Just finished my doc on Lester, sorry... Hard habit to break... Actually, I am in Blue Ridge investigating a sighting a few miles away from here..." Darren quickly covered, losing his nerve as he felt Broshus' eyes focused on him.
"A sighting of what?" Cletus asked, a tone of concern in his voice that Darren could hear.
"A lizard man!" Dixie teased, stoned, playful fingers flying towards Cletus' side.
"No, but a beast of some sort... Said to be part of an Indian legend..."
"Yea, the monster at Lover's Leap..." Dixie chimed in, drawing a look from both the men.
"I grew up around here... We used to tell ghost stories in Girl Scouts about it..." she explained, her tone slightly shocked they too hadn't heard of it.
"You don't happen to remember this ghost story, do you?" Darren asked, reaching over for the recording device in the table and angling it more towards Dixie.
"Yea, damn it how'd it go..." She said, frustratingly pausing as he tried to jog her memory by lightly slapping the side of her head.
"Um, um,um..." She stalled, the pair of men watching her ape this odd dance, her womanly bits jiggling loosely under her ill fitting garment as she seemed to literally try and shake the memory free from whatever resin soaked corner it had been stashed into.
"Got it... The story went something like there was this witch and she was in love with this guy, and the guy's wife was the daughter of the dude who ran things..."
"Yes! The legend of the Sauntee Witch!" Darren exclaimed, half excited that she had heard the legend of the Magistrate's hunt (which, according to legend, had less to to with treason against the Confederacy and witchcraft and more to do with a cheating husband and wrath of his powerful father in law.)
"You and your friend were talking about it earlier..." Dixie continued, fingers busy rolling another joint.