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Authors: Abigail Keam

Death By Bourbon

BOOK: Death By Bourbon
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Death By Bourbon
Copyright © Abigail Keam 2012


No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form without written permission of the author.

ISBN 978 0 615 65159 0

All characters are fictional and similarity to any living person is just coincidence
unless stated otherwise.
It’s not you. So don’t go around town and brag about it.

The historical facts about Kentucky are true.
The geography is true. The beekeeping is true.
The artists are real, but the art may not be.

For more information on the historical stories presented in this book – read
The Frontiersmen
by Allan W. Eckert
A History of Kentucky
by Thomas D.Clark Ph.D.
Both men are legends as historians and unprecedented writers.

Worker Bee Press
P.O. Box 485
Nicholasville, KY 40340

eBooks created by


The author wishes to thank Al’s Bar, which consented to be used as a drinking hole
for my poetry-writing cop, Kelly, and Morris Book Shop.

Thanks to my editor, Patti De Young.

Thanks to the Lexington Farmers’ Market,
which has given me a home for many years.

Artwork by Cricket Press

Book jacket by Peter Keam
Author’s photograph by Peter Keam

By The Same Author

Death By A HoneyBee


Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award 2010

Finalist of USA Book News Best Books of 2011

Death By Drowning


Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Award 2011

Finalist of USA Book News Best Books of 2011

Death By Bridle


Death By Lotto


To Melanie, Sally, Anna, Bunny, Debbie, Sarah, Phil, Willie and Judith – friends who
go out of their way to support my writing.


Asa was home from Washington, licking her wounds.

Her trial by fire was over and the lawyers had been paid due to the fact that I had
remortgaged the Butterfly. Brannon and I were in debt again. Big debt.

I was hoping that he would be home early so we could discuss how to negotiate our
way back to financial solvency. I had gone to the bank today to cash a check and discovered
that thousands were missing from our household account. Brannon needed to tell me
where he had mislaid his paychecks so I could put them in the bank.

Brannon was getting so absent-minded lately. He rarely spoke anymore and seemed to
be brooding about something. I was wondering if his architectural firm was having

“I hear Dad’s car,” said Asa, setting the Nakashima table.

Looking up from the stove, I checked the kitchen clock. “He’s on time tonight.”

Pulling the pot roast from the oven, I poured it and steaming vegetables into a big
bowl. Tasting its juices, I purred, “Just right. Hope this puts your father in a good

“What’s up with that?” asked Asa, fearful that her troubles were causing a breach
between she and her father.

He didn’t even seem to care about what she had been through the past year. He never
spoke of it or gave her any encouragement. She wondered if he blamed her for the controversy.

Shaking my head, I replied, “Don’t know, baby, but I’ve got to talk to him about our
finances. I don’t have enough in the household account to pay the bills.”

“Well, something’s going on,” she concurred.

Before she could continue, Brannon came in through the front door and popped his head
into the kitchen.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey to you,” I returned. “Dinner is ready.”

“Great,” Brannon replied. “I’m going to freshen up. Be just a minute.”

“No problem.”

I put the food on the table. After washing our hands, Asa and I took our places at
my beloved Nakashima table where we waited and waited and waited.

Asa started to rise when I motioned for her to sit back down.

Concerned, I folded my napkin and went into the bedroom. The bathroom door was shut.

Knocking on it, I asked, “Brannon, are you all right? Dinner’s getting cold.”

“Be right there,” he called through the door. “Just go on and start.”

If I had been smart, I would have looked around the room but I didn’t. I just went
back to the dining room. “He says to go ahead,” I relayed to Asa.

Asa picked up a roll while I spooned some veggies and a big slice of roast beef onto
Brannon’s plate. I then filled her plate and mine.

Brannon strolled in and took his place at the table.

“How was work today, Dad?” asked Asa.

“Fine, fine,” he mumbled while biting into a slice of roast. “Very good,” he said
to me. “Always was partial to your pot roast, dear.”

I gave Brannon a big smile.

We chitchatted about little things. I told him that I had seen the pileated woodpeckers
today, a rare sight in Central Kentucky, and that I had decided to teach a summer

“Why’s that?” he asked.

“We could use the money,” I said matter of factly. “Speaking of money, I went to the
bank today to cash a check and the household account is missing quite a bit. Did you
forget to cash your paychecks?”

Brannon swallowed his food and was quiet for a moment. “Can we talk about this after
dinner? I hate being interrogated when I’m trying to eat.”

Stunned, I answered, “Of course. I was just asking. I didn’t mean to come off that
way.” I gave Asa a curious look.

Brannon spent the rest of dinner eating in silence while Asa and I spoke about her
looking for a job. She even spoke of starting her own company.

Our tense dinner was quickly finished, followed by Asa clearing away the table while
I fetched a brandy for Brannon. Grunting a thank you, he took the brandy but just
placed it on the table while staring out the patio window.

I sensed a fight coming on, but I had to find out about the money, as bills were due.
My money went to run the farm while Brannon’s money paid for the household bills.
I needed to know if I had to transfer money from the farm account into the household
account. And frankly, I was getting irritated at his manner. “Brannon? Did you lose
your checks or were they stolen?”

“No, I needed the money for something else.”

“What was that?”

Brannon’s skin reddened as he broke into a sweat. His face contorted until these words
bubbled out of his mouth, “There’s no point in putting this off.” He placed a hand
on mine. “I’m so sorry, Josey. Really I am, but I’m leaving.”

“Leaving? You have a business trip?”

Brannon nervously tapped his brandy glass with his other hand.

“Brannon?” We stared at each other until Asa broke the silence.

“Mom. I think he’s trying to tell you that he is leaving us.” Her face had whitened
into a pale mask as she peered out from the kitchen into the dining room.

I pulled my hand away. “Is that what you are trying to say? You’re leaving me?”

Brannon nodded. “I wanted to tell you both together. I love you, but I hate my life

“You hate your life here?” I echoed, my voice becoming shrill. I couldn’t breathe.
It felt like someone had just pushed me off a cliff. “This has caught me totally off
guard. I don’t understand. How can you leave when the farm is saddled with debt and
after what Asa’s been through the last year? How can you leave us with all this going
on?” I was bewildered.

“That’s why he’s leaving,” sneered Asa. “It’s too much for him. Daddy doesn’t like
complexity, do you? You like things simple without blemish. Right, daddy?”

“Now Asa, don’t start,” Brannon begged.

“It’s true. I’ve embarrassed the family, you, even though I was innocent, but that
didn’t matter. It was a huge scandal. What must your friends have said to you at the
country club?”

“That’s not true,” denied Brannon. “This has got nothing to do with you. It really
has nothing to do with your mother. I just want to start fresh. I’ve been very unhappy
for the past several years.”

Asa and I glanced at each other.

“Is there someone else?” I asked, fearful of the answer.

“Of course not,” Brannon said, standing up. “I’d better go. Everyone is upset. I will
talk to you, Josey, when this calms down.”

“Calms down? You’ve got to be kidding. Is there anything I can say or do that will
make you talk this out?” I pleaded, reaching for him.

Brannon shrugged away my hand. “I’ll call in a few days and let you know where I’m

I literally wrung my hands not knowing what to do. Should I let him walk out the door?
Should I beg him not to leave? Was he having a mental breakdown? What was the right
thing to do? My hand dipped towards my chest as I listened to my ragged heartbeat.

I heard him go into our bedroom, get something and then leave by the bedroom patio
door. “Oh my God,” I whimpered, shutting my eyes.

Asa stormed into my bedroom. “MOM!” she cried. “You’d better see this.”

I rushed into the bedroom and looked where Asa was pointing. I fell against the closet
door in disbelief. Brannon had rummaged through my things and taken all my expensive
jewelry, a coin collection that I was saving for Asa and several couturier vintage
dresses. My things were strewn all over the floor.

“Why in the world did he take those things? What’s he up to?”

“Mom, give me your account numbers. I want to get on the computer and check on all
your accounts.”

I numbly pulled a file from my desk drawer in my office, which gave her the code words.
Within a half an hour, Asa came back with printed pages of all our savings funds.
Brannon had taken money from each one of the accounts. There was almost nothing left.
The only thing intact was my retirement fund, which he could not touch.

I threw the sheets on the floor in dismay. “He’s not coming back, is he?”

Asa shook her head. “It seems like he has been planning this for a long time.”

“But why? Where is all the money and why would he take my personal things?”

Asa led me to a chair and knelt down before me. “I don’t know, Mom. But I’ll find
out tomorrow. Right now, we need to have the locks on the house changed.”

“What? I don’t know about that. Locking your father out of his own house?” What Brannon
had done still hadn’t registered.

“We need to move quickly and save what we can of your assets. I’m going to call a
locksmith right now. I’ll pay for it. Don’t worry.”

I heard Asa in the next room making several calls. Then she brought me a stiff bourbon.
I drank it and then another. I wanted to get stinking drunk.

And I did.

BOOK: Death By Bourbon
3.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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