The Third Wife – 1951-1953 – A Shannon O’Day Story

Prelude (and outline):

For those who do not know the ongoing story, or saga of Shannon O’Day, the first book “Cornfield Laughter,” shows Shannon O’Day as an old man, he dies in 1967, at the age of 67-years old; the book opens in the year 1966. His fourth wife is Gertrude (who he had his second daughter with, and who survives him), who leaves him stranded in the cornfields of Minnesota one morning, and is never seen of again; and his fifth and last wife is Maribel, who he marries, after meeting her at the diner in St. Paul, and they divorce after the winter of that year, and he goes onto dating Annabelle, who is less than half his age, but never marries her. His first wife is Sally-Ann Como, who he meets in the Gem Bar, in the second book called: “To Save a Lopsided Sparrow,” and whom she leaves because of his drinking. Also in the same book his second wife, Margaret-Rose, has a child with him, but dies after an accident, and she returns to live with her father in Chicago. And now here is his third wife, Sandra Rossellini, the one thus far unmentioned, and for a good reason…

The Story

Chapter One
The Apartment

When Shannon O’Day, saw her nearing the door to her apartment, her apartment being next to his-she had moved in a few weeks earlier-both noticing each other through their windows, both taking a liking for each other, this day, this Friday, they stopped and looked up at each other instead of looking down for her keys, and him digging in his pocket for his.

“Would you like to come in for a beer?” he asked her kindly. He pulled out his apartment door key from his pocket, put it into the door’s keyhole, and then held the door open for her, and she walked in.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Shannon O’Day,” he answered, “And yours is?” he remarked, “Sandra Rossellini,” she said in a soft spoken voice, and Shannon thought right then and there, what a pretty fresh looking face she has.

“Beer?” she said to Shannon, “don’t you have something stronger?”

“Whisky and rum, and vodka, and wine, take your pick.”

He drew a beer for himself, and took a second one out of the ice box and pushed it across his little bar counter to her, she sat on a stool, and he was standing upright, behind the counter.

“What’s the matter?” he asked her.

She didn’t answer him. She just looked over his head and at something behind him, and after a long moment of staring, said, “Who’s that?” it was a picture in a frame of a young woman.

“Gwyneth Davis, someone I’ve been dating,” he remarked.

“Rye whiskey,” the woman said, “I’ll take a glass of your rye whiskey and use the beer for a chaser, I suppose.” (She really didn’t care for beer she was being polite.)

Shannon put out a bottle of beer by her, and a glass and a bottle of rye whiskey by her, and a glass of water in case she wanted to mix the whiskey with water. Then he pulled out of the ice box, some pickled pig’s feet, put them on a dish between the two, put two forks alongside each other near the pig’s feet, so he or she could pick them up with ease.

“No,” she said, “I don’t care for pig’s feet, you can put one of them back, I’m not eating it,” and she poured water and whiskey into the glass.

“So you don’t like pig’s feet?” said Shannon.

“The damn thing stinks,” she remarked, and gagged at the sight of them. Shannon put one back into the ice box.

“Listen,” said Shannon, “if you want we can go for a walk after the drinks.”

“Who said I wanted to go out with you,” she said “it wasn’t’ my idea, all I wanted was to meet you, I saw you about, you have an interesting face.”

“We’ll just go for a short walk; we’ll be back in a hurry.” He told her.

“No you won’t,” she said, “You have other ideas.”

They both drank down their drinks, and Shannon said, “Come on! Do I need to tell you how wrong you are?”

Sandra turned to the window in back of her, it was getting dark. “I don’t know,” she said. “If I go with you tonight are you going to dump that little mistress of yours?” She asked Shannon, and Shannon shook his head yes. She was a very lovely woman, about thirty-two years old; she looked like Audrey Hepburn, he thought. Gwyneth Davis was young and plain looking but loved to drink in the cornfields with Shannon, and that mattered, but he was hoping Sandra would also.

“Who’s that man that brings you home now and then?” He asked her.

“Truman Weaver, you could say I guess, I’m his part time mistress-just like that one is for you (pointing back at the picture in its frame behind Shannon), he pays for everything, and I don’t love him, although he loves me. And I suppose we should get going its getting dark.”

Chapter Two
Murder on the Highway

(Sunday Morning) Shannon O’Day was woken up and picked up by the St. Paul Police, while sleeping in his brother’s cornfields and brought down to the St. Paul Police Station for the murder of Gwyneth Davis, twenty-four years old. He looked about saw a half dozen whores waiting for their lawyers to get them out before they got put into a jail cell, they were about to be processed. There were a few blacks, Indians and Mexicans, talking to a few police men, taking down statements. Two white women complaining about their husbands battering. It was crowded and hot, and stale smoke circled the area, it was the main entrance room where everyone was waiting, processing and complaining. And he was brought through this crowd and put into a backroom, where Sergeant Toby Patron, was waiting for him, for questioning.

As Shannon entered the room the Sergeant didn’t say a word, he shut the door behind him, and noticed the window was up to let in the fresh air. Shannon had spread out trousers and high boots on, a plaid shirt, no cap, and his face pale, eyes bloodshot red, he had been on a drinking binge.                                

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