‘Tween You and Me is a celebration of the writing process and a glimpse into my creative core. It allows readers to preview my works in progress, enjoy new, unique works created just for them, and hear what I’m up to. Most importantly, it gives me a chance to share my love of all things fantastic and fun!
In this week's installment you get a taste of the intrigues and secrets that run rampant in any small town. Hooperville Minnesota is no exception. But in a town were two murders have already taken place, any secrets at all have a way of coming back to bite the town's inhabitants on the pale posterior globes.
“Shot in the boobs with a shotgun.” Mathis Luther said with a bitter smile.
“I refuse to believe it!”
“Well you can refuse all you want, Missy, but that woman is sittin’ in refrigerated splendor in the county morgue in Wakomia.” Mathis said with a disdainful frown. “You’d better just git used to it. If you ask me, that’s just what that ol’ woman deserves for goin’ poachin’ on other folkses land.”
Missy Luther twisted her long, pale face into a battle frown to fend off her mother’s potent scowl. She could be just as disdainful as her momma, and twice as stubborn. “Auntie Lena would not have gone huntin’, ma, she promised me she wouldn’t.”
“Well dang girl, she lied!” Mathis slapped her pudgy red hand across one equally pudgy knee and laughed so hard she trickled a bit into her adult diaper. As she left to go change herself, Missy launched a flat, pink tongue toward her mother’s back. In a fit of temper, Missy stomped her size 10 feet; which were barely covered by size 9 sandals so that her long, pink toes spilled out onto the kitchen floor; across to the wall phone and pulled it off the hook.
She dialed quickly and waited impatiently for the ringing on the other end to be replaced by her favorite male voice.
As usual, the sound of his deep, manly voice made Missy Luther wet in places where opportunities for air-drying do not usually occur. “Hi Mikey.”
A short, angry silence met her impassioned greeting. “Missy, I told you not to call me at work.”
Missy grinned. “I’m standin’ here naked, Mikey.”
A groan which could have been inspired by a variety of emotions emerged from the hearin’ end of the phone. Missy preferred to think it was motivated by lust. “What can I do for you, Missy?”
She puckered her wide, pink lips into a pout and projected it across the phone lines ahead of her sulky voice. “I thought you’d know what I was callin’ about, Mikey. Can’t you even guess?”
“You ain’t tryin’!”
“No, you’re right, I’m not. Missy, I’m really busy right now, I’ve got two murder investigations I’m dealin’ with and I don’t have time for little girls with adolescent crushes.”
Missy’s pale face transformed itself into a dark, purple storm cloud. “I am not a little girl, I am 20 years old.”
“And I’m 32 years old, Missy. Now, did you have some business with me or not?”
“I can’t talk about it over the phone.”
“Can I come to your house tonight?”
“I’ll wear my leather boots.”
“I have a new leather bra and panties to go with the boots.”
Another long silence. She could hear him breathing.
“I have a whip.”
“Don’t come in the front way this time.” Click.
George Hawthorne pulled his boots off just inside his mother’s front door and called out to her. She didn’t answer him at first, so he went looking for her. He found her in the basement of the farmhouse, turning her collection of screwtop wine bottles.
George stopped about halfway down the stairs and crouched low so he could see her beneath the low hanging wood beams. “What you doin’ down here, ma. It’s musty as hell.”
Mary Agnes rotated the last of the bottles and then nodded in satisfaction and wiped her hands on the apron she always wore around her waist. “I’m just tendin’ to my wine cellar, Georgie. Come Thanksgivin’ this wine’ll be primed and ready to cave our heads in.”
George sneezed three times in a row, and grabbed for his handkerchief as he descended to help her up the narrow, wooden stairs. “Tell me again why you turn the bottles, ma. And why you have to keep ‘em down here. Wouldn’t they be better off in the refrigerator?”
Mary Agnes turned to him with a look of horror on her face and punched him in the stomach. “Don’t never put my wine in the icebox, boy, or I’ll pull down your trousers and cane your fat butt.”
George rubbed his stomach with his unencumbered hand. “No call for violence, ma. I was just askin’ a civil question.”
“There’s no excuse for ignorance, Georgie. The best wines need careful nurturing to achieve their best flavor. I read it in my wine magazine,” she said with a sweep of one scrawny arm toward a box full of said magazines. “my wines is got to be stored in cool, not cold, temperatures for they’ll keep all their palates moistened.”
They emerged into Mary Agnes’ brightly lit kitchen. George closed the basement door behind them and shook his dark head. “I didn’t even know wine had palates, ma.” He ducked another blow from the old woman and reached for her sweater, which was hanging on the back of an ancient, vinyl kitchen chair. “Come on now, Hannah’s waitin’ in the car. She’s real hungry too. You want to go to that eye-talian place downtown tonight?”
Mary Agnes peered up at George with watery eyes. “That where Hannah wants to go?”
“I do too.”
Mary Agnes grinned, and allowed her son to help her into a white, button up sweater with rickrack stitching all around the edges. “I think I’m in the mood for Chinese, boy.”
Hannah wasn’t in the car when they reached it. George handed his mother into the back seat of the old station wagon and went to look for her. She was in the barn, digging in the grain can.
“Bobo loose again, hon?”
Hannah jumped and clapped a hand over her chest, laughing. “You scared shit out of me, George. Yeah, he’s in the cornfield. I walked over to get him but he doesn’t have his halter on, so I couldn’t bring him back.”
George laughed, “If he saw you comin’ with that halter he’d bolt for sure.”
“That’s why I’m getting this grain. He never runs from grain.”
“Here, give it to me, I’ll go get the little monster. You can wait in the car with ma.”
Hannah laughed, “Oh no you don’t, I’d get the worst end of that deal.”
George grabbed the scoop of grain and the pony’s halter from her and took off running. “Don’t I know it!” He called back to her laughing.
Mary Agnes pushed the fat metal needle through the fluffy pink yarn and cast a narrowed, watery glare at Gerilene Bosch. Geri, as her friends and family called her, cast her own watery glare back. “I don’t care what you say Mary Agnes, I don’t think you should stay all alone in this big house. They’s been two dead bodies dumped on your land this month. You ain’t safe.”
“Posh yourself you stubborn old woman.”
Mary Agnes impaled the pink yarn again, stabbing at it unmercifully as she fought for something really nasty to hit Gerilene with.
Gerilene didn’t give her the opportunity. “You still packin’ that shotgun George give you?”
“Damn straight. I keep it right ‘side my bed.”
This was too much for Mary Agnes. “What the hell do you take me for, Gerilene Bosch, some kind of retarded person? Of course I got the damn thing loaded. I even practice shootin’ at the broad side of the barn on occasion. Hit it once too.” She cast a sly glance at her friend and they both laughed.
“Well, all right then.” Geri said with a smile. “I guess you’ll be OK.”
They knitted in silence for a few more minutes. The big old house slept peacefully around them, only letting out the occasional creak or groan in response to a building Minnesota wind outside. Mary Agnes occasionally peered out the window at Bobo, who was happily munching the short grass of the front yard.
Geri caught her looking once and scowled. “That damn pony’s gonna eat all your petunias again.”
“Shut up, Geri!”
A few more moments of clicking needles and creaking walls evolved.
“They ever find out who the dead guy was in the barn?”
Mary Agnes punched her bony shoulders toward her ears with an apparent lack of interest. “Probly some thief tryin’ to steal the Deere. Serves him right I say.”
Geri nodded and continued knitting. A few minutes later she said, “Ever find out why Lena Luther was in your woods with a mess ‘a shot in her belly?”
“It weren’t her belly, old woman, it was her boobs and you know it.”
“It ain’t polite conversation to talk about people’s boobs, Mary Agnes.”
“I don’t give a humpin’ fruit fly whether it’s polite or no, that old woman’s boobs was like hamburger when old Harry found her.”
Geri dropped her knitting and threw her old friend a scathing glance. “Now how do you know so much miss potty mouth, you wasn’t there.”
Mary Agnes speared the unsuspecting yarn anew and gave a little smile. “Harry spilled his guts to me. That man couldn’t keep a secret if it was nailed to his ass.”
“Oh Mary,” Gerilene chuckled, “You are so bad.”
Mary Agnes gave an unladylike guffaw and dropped her knitting in her lap. She stretched her scrawny arms over her head and stood up. “Time for some tea Geri,” she said with a wink.
“Awww, Mary.” Gerilene giggled. But she got up too, and followed her friend to the kitchen, where a bottle of Mary Agnes’ home made wine awaited.