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Things out of the ordinary have been occurring in our small town of Gilead, Wis., ever since the arrival of a newcomer. Percy Talbott, Gilead’s newest, and in my opinion, unwelcome, resident has spent the last five years in prison and seems to be interested in making our town her new home.
I am not the only one who does not want an ex-convict getting too comfortable here.
In this issue of “Gilead’s Gossip,” I sit down with Caleb Thorpe, a Gilead staple and nephew of Hannah Ferguson, who hired Ms. Talbott to work at The Spitfire Grill, which Mrs. Ferguson owns. Mr. Thorpe is of the same mindset that the day Ms. Talbott leaves Gilead will be a happy one.
EK: Caleb, tell me what you think of Ms. Talbott.
CT: Well Effy, I just think that she’s not the kind of new blood we need in this town. We need strong workers, and women who stand beside their men. I don’t think Ms. Talbott really fits that description.
EK: Do you think she belongs in Gilead?
CT: No, I don’t. What could she possibly bring to this town, besides trouble? I don’t know what Sheriff Joe Sutter was thinking, letting a woman come here who just got released from prison.
EK: That makes two of us. Do you think she will be able to succeed in making our town her new home?
CT: I certainly hope not. I don’t know how much longer Hannah can keep her at the grill. All she has done for this town so far is served terrible food to the grill’s customers and filled Hannah’s head with nonsense about some contest.
EK: Do you know much about this contest, Caleb? Could you tell me what you do know?
CT: I don’t know as much as I would like to, but I know it was Percy who put the idea in Hannah’s head. And now Percy has my wife, Shelby, on board as well. And she has no place suggesting nonsense when she doesn’t even belong here.
EK: Right you are. But what kind of contest did she suggest?
CT: It doesn’t matter, Effy, it is a ridiculous idea. And now letters are coming in from all around the country, and what are we supposed to do with all of them? Cripes, I just don’t know what has gotten into the people in this town.
EK: Neither do I. And those letters sure are mysterious.
CT: Well, one thing is for sure: no good can come from those letters, and no good can come from Percy Talbott.
This interview concludes my series of columns concerning Percy Talbott. As you have read, there are several differing opinions about what this woman’s presence means to our town of Gilead, Wis.
But really there is only one conclusion to be made about the kind of impact she will have here: only time will tell.
Editor’s note: This is part of a series to promote the Los Alamos Little Theater’s next production, “The Spitfire Grill.” The interview, writer and mugshot are fictitious. Brenna Moore wrote the story. The photo is by Larry Gibbons. The Spitfire Grill will be performed at 7:30 p.m. May 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 as well as at 2 p.m. May 9 and 16 at LALT.