EXCERPT FROM DEADLY CHARMMarie Vernon
Despite the occasional bar fights—or, in some cases because of them—Patrick remained a popular figure on the Annapolis waterfront. Often in bars he demonstrated his strength by arm wrestling with challengers, after which the men would clap him on the shoulder and buy him beers.
There were usually girls in the bars, too, and they flirted with him. One night as he entered Marmaduke’s, he spotted a slender young woman on one of the barstools. She was pretty, with long dark hair, olive skin, gorgeous legs and a tall, attractive figure. He smiled at her, slid onto the adjoining stool, then tapped the empty glass in front of her to suggest he wanted to buy her a drink. The half smile she gave him made her seem receptive. “I buy you beer?” he said.
At first she drew away, taken aback by the strangeness of his voice, which came out as a gutteral “gangster-like” tone. The bartender leaned over and said something to her. At that she turned back to Patrick and smiled. “You are deaf?” she said, shaping her words carefully with her lips so he could understand.
Patrick nodded and indicated to the bartender to bring them both a refill. The girl, again articulating carefully, said, “I was friends with a deaf boy in my high school. He played football.” She pantomimed throwing a football. Seeing Patrick seemed puzzled, she took a pencil and paper and wrote the word football.
Grinning enthusiastically, Patrick imitated her move with the football and said, “I play football at deaf school.”
The girl reached over and felt his bicep. “You are a strong man,” she said. “What is your name?”
“Patrick,” he said, and made the sign for his name. “Your name?” he asked.
She wrote Rosamund Witty. He fingerspelled the name for her and she carefully followed as he formed the letters.
After a moment she picked up the pencil again and wrote, “How do you sign “motorcycle?”
Patrick’s eyes lit and he immediately made the sign for motorcycle then took the pencil from her and wrote, Me I have motorcycle. You want ride with me?
Rosamund wrote back, Maybe later. First teach me more signs.
For the next half hour or so Rosamund wrote various words and Patrick made the appropriate signs for her to imitate. Sometimes he would sign back to her one of those he had taught her to see if she remembered. Rosamund was an apt pupil. Later they played several games of shuffleboard, all the time laughing together and teasing each other as Rosamund learned to put together simple sign sentences.
They returned to the bar and after several more rounds of drinks, Rosamund pointed to her watch to indicate it was time for her to leave. Patrick made the sign for motorcycle and gestured in a way that indicated he was offering to take her home. She signed Yes.