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Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Love – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RQT110G
Forecast: Sunny with a Chance of Hope – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LGFV5GU
Forecast: Foggy with a Chance of Goodbye – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073HGGQ3F
I recently posted a short excerpt from my current work-in-progress, “All My Women Friends,” and had such a great response, I thought I’d share another one. Hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1 — Waiting on Charlie
In the town where I live, elderly men sit guard along Main Street, residents set their watches to the noon whistle, and all the old hippies drive station wagons. Big, rusted, gray-topped gas hogs that sport faded messages from the sixties. Ancient slogans like peace, love, and legalize pot now! Pot has already been legalized, or so I’m told. Ever since Charlie came into my life, I’ve seen all sorts of people and places I never saw before.
Do you know there’s a gas station on the south side of town that sells cheap cigarettes and expensive gas? Have you ever seen the man on Oak Street who washes his picket fence with a small cloth? How about the woman on Franklin who walks her cat on a leash? I’ve lived here my whole life and I never noticed them. Not once. Charlie said that’s natural; that most people don’t have a good feel for where they live. He thinks I should be thankful to see them now.
Charlie swooped into my life about five years ago when I wasn’t sure about anything. Mama had passed away suddenly, and I spent nearly every night crying myself to sleep. For the first time in my life, I was alone. There I was, fifty-nine years old and no idea how to fend for myself because Mama had always done everything.
Anyway, Charlie and I settled into each other, leaning on our habits and ways. He learned to like casseroles and I learned to make omelets, beating the eggs until frothy, and perfecting the proper folding technique. Always in thirds, never in half.
There is one part of our relationship that sort of bothers me, though. He makes me go everywhere with him; to the barbershop, the hardware store, and even to Grady’s, his favorite bar. It’s a dark, hole-in-the-wall place where aging barflies wiggle their cellulite at anything male. They throw their heads back and cackle, at least it sounds like cackling to me. I know all this because I actually went inside once.
“I won’t be long. Just gonna have me a couple of beers,” Charlie said one night a couple of years ago. “Have you got your blanket?”
“Yes, but couldn’t I come in this time? Even for a few minutes?” I squinted at him and hoped it looked like a wink.
“Now, Rebecca, don’t start that again. It’s better this way, trust me.” He kissed my forehead.
I sat there for a while, and watched people come and go. I memorized the most intriguing ones so I could ask Charlie about them later. Who was the woman in the faded red tights? I saw the mayor puke in the rhododendrons, not once, but twice. Should we vote for him again?
My excuse to go inside came gently at first, a mere nudging. The bathroom. I shifted slightly and pulled up my blanket. The urge pushed harder, stronger, until suddenly, I found myself in front of the door. I stepped inside and was greeted by the smell of old men and stale cigars. I nearly gagged.
There was Charlie, one foot resting on the rung of the bar, a mug of beer clutched in his hand. He was busy talking to the bartender so I crept to the far corner of the room by the pool table. The women didn’t look at me twice. One of them, a redhead, shouted at Charlie and he laughed the funny way he does when he wants sex. My gaze narrowed at him.
“Hey Charlie, over here!” A man called out, and waved a pool stick in the air.
Charlie held up a hand. “In a minute,” he said. That’s when he saw me. He stared. I stared back.
to be continued…
After completing the Forecast Series, along with a novella for an anthology due out next month, I’ve started a new book, “All My Women Friends,” a story about five quirky women who live in the same town. I’m excited about this new novel, and, as a thank you for being a loyal reader, I am sharing a snippet from one of the chapters. I hope you like it!
Chapter Four – Dying in Denver
You may know me. I’m the woman who laughs too loud in restaurants and lingers over coffee long after it has grown cold. I pick up trash alongside the road, and have happily eaten every donut offered to me. But what I’ve never told anyone else until now is, I’m destined to die in Denver.
Let me take you back a few years, actually, many years. It was shortly after I got married to My Biggest Mistake, hereinafter referred to as MBM. He was a handsome man, gifted in many ways, but he made a lousy husband and a worse father. Too self-centered to be good to anyone but himself. Still, I stayed with MBM because my father said it would never last, and the rebel inside of me had to prove dear Daddy wrong.
MBM was born and raised in a small town in Colorado. He was a troubled soul who ran away from home many times. He never stopped running, and that’s how he ended up in the same California town where I’d lived for most of my life. I was young, naïve, and easily influenced by MBM.
He married me and whisked me away to live in Colorado. It was on that first trip that I fell in love with the state, the mountains, the sky, and the air. I vowed at that moment that I would live there for the rest of my life, and I would die there. I eventually left MBM, and Colorado, as an unhappy, discouraged mother of two, and headed back to my home state.
Years passed, the children grew into adults, eventually moving out on their own. I met and married my Forever Husband, I won’t reduce his name to initials, and the difference was amazing. Where MBM was full of himself, Forever Husband was full of love and light and happiness. How did I get so lucky, I often wondered.
I moved into Forever Husband’s home in a well-established neighborhood. The younger families who once lived there had grown old and now crept around in white-on-white sneakers and polyester pants. Their adult children had fled to live in urban high-rises or the new suburbs. Me and Forever Husband were somewhere in between. The older couple who lived next door were not the friendliest folks. The man always had some kind of noisy project going, especially on Saturdays, and I only saw his wife when she was either getting into or out of the car. Still, I waved every time I saw them.
The lady on the other side was much friendlier, in fact, she was way too friendly. She had a habit of walking in our front door, settling herself on the couch, helping herself to our bowl of popcorn, and watching whatever show we were watching. No knock, no doorbell, nothing. We took to locking our door, but she actually climbed in a window to let us know our door was locked! I finally had a talk with her about respecting privacy, but I think I was so vague, she never considered I was talking about her. So I did what I had to do and whispered that Forever Husband and I often watch television naked so it might be better if she knocked next time. She didn’t come over much after that, and never sat on our couch again.
A couple of years after we were married, Forever Husband announced he had to attend a conference in Denver and he wanted me to go with him. My heart skipped a beat. Skipped another and another. But I can’t go to Denver. I’ll die there, I just know it.
When I was finally able to breathe normally, which seemed like five minutes instead of the actual five seconds, I murmured, “Sounds great, honey.”
to be continued…
WooHoo! I was interviewed today on Hallee Bridgstone’s fabulous blog! Check it out — you may just learn something new about me and my writing! CLICK HERE.
Also Book 1 “Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Love” is FREE today on Amazon!