Thursday, July 24, 2008

Southern Exposure debuts August 1st

“Goooood morning, Potter’s Kiln. This is Jack MacNair welcoming y’all to a bright ’n’ cheery day. Good news. Dixie Nettles gave birth to a twelve-pound—ouch!—baby boy at two-fifteen this morning. I was there, folks. What an experience.
“You know, the whole birthing trip really freaks me out. I mean, I witnessed the little pooper inhaling his first breath of life, and when the cord to the Mother Ship was severed, I’m man enough to admit I burst into tears. The whole vicious circle of birth, life and death hit me hard.
“I ask you, what does this kid have to look forward to in his lifetime? Those of us who’ve peed in the dirt before him have sketched out his future, unless of course he’s another Leonardo Da Vinci and can paint a fresh ceiling for his own generation.
“I’m talking about the maladies afflicting our planet, people. With the likes of herpes, syphilis, AIDS, and gingivitis just waiting to take us down, epidemically speaking we’re all walking time bombs. Should we continue to bring future generations into this world knowing what’s in store for them? Consider this a public service announcement, P.K. Brush your teeth, floss, and always wear a raincoat, even if it’s a road you’ve traveled before.
“Speaking of which, anyone seeing Gator Nettles, currently dodging the postpartum wrath of Dixie, she’s asked me to relay a message: ‘Come any closer, and I’ll twist your human C.B. antenna into a pretzel.’ Hey, that says it all for me.”
~ * ~
For Kat, Day Two as resident of Potter County Courthouse began with the changing of the guard. Rooster burst through the doors at six a.m. sharp with such an explosion, it spurred his snoozing deputy to keel heels-over-head backward in the Naugahyde chair.
Ripped from her own sleep, Kat stared at Junior, yawning in Cell #1. For a split moment she stared through her bridal veil at the hog without comprehension. Then it hit her. It wasn’t a nightmare.

Images of King swam through her mind, and as fear shivered down her spine, she buried her face in the pillow. She’d done it. She had cut ties with her brother. Panic tried to take hold, but she fought back with a lifetime of memories of King’s words and actions, along with the belittling behavior of her grandmother, her mother, and her father. She had finally cut her losses and declared emancipation.

With reservation she looked at the sheriff, noticing he had brought her purse from the Andromeda, along with a white bag that filled the room with a delicious aroma. “What did you do with my sister?” she demanded. Rooster replied with an immoral grin. The day before, just as she had pried the lock from the jail’s back door and taken a step through, Kat heard a squeal and turned to find her sister swept up in the sheriff’s arms. Left with no choice but to return to her cell, Kat expected Rooster to deposit Miranda in the cell with her. Instead, he took her into the interrogation room and shut the door. Minutes later, Miranda roared out, her hair disheveled; her complexion a fiery hue. Rooster emerged behind her, the white imprint of Miranda’s hand on his copper-colored cheek.“You took what I said all wrong,” Rooster called after her. “I didn’t mean—”
“I know the governor of this state,” Miranda shouted with a fury Kat didn’t know she possessed, “and I intend to tell him what you just said to me.”
Open-mouthed, Kat could only watch the sheriff race from the courthouse after her sister, not to return, until now. “I demand to know what you did with Miranda,” Kat now bellowed when it appeared the man would not answer her question.
Rooster arched a brow. “If you want to know, you’ll have to ask her.”
“I intend to. Where the hell is she?”
Rooster removed a Styrofoam cup from the white bag. “Still sleeping, I suspect.”
Baffled, Kat felt some of the steam seep out of her hostility. “Do you plan to keep me locked up until the Second Coming? I’d like to pay my fine and go.”
After tossing her purse within reach, Rooster grabbed his calculator and pummeled the buttons until they screamed for mercy. Kat expected the worst. The sheriff knew she came from money, and from prior experience with people, she expected him to fine her a hefty sum. However, the joke would be on him. She no longer had ties to billions.
“One hundred thousand dollars.”
“Is that all?” Delighted the law-dog had not tried to bilk her for a fortune after all, Kat offered him her purse. “I don’t want to chip my nails. Would you dig out my debit card?”
With a sneer, Rooster obliged, but after swiping it through the electronic VeriFone, he shook his head. “Nope. No good.”
Kat gasped. “Ridiculous. I have umpteen thou... Try again.”
He did, and again shook his head. “Says here the card has been terminated.”
“Terminated?” Kat sat down hard on the cot. King. Obviously he had been busy messing with her personal finances to teach her a lesson. “May I write you a check?”
“Would you open my checkbook and tear one out for me? I don’t want to...”
“I know, I know,” Rooster growled. “Chip your nails.”
After scribbling her signature on a check, Kat shoved it through the bars. “Now tell me where I can find my sister and—”
“Not so fast.” Rooster picked her check off the floor and put it in his pocket. “I’m not releasing you until this clears the bank.”
“But, this is Sunday. It won’t clear for three, four days.” She heard the panic in her own voice. Realizing panic would not help her case, she reached deep for maturity. “You can’t legally hold me.”
Rooster shrugged. “I’m the law here in Potter County. I say you stay put."

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1 comment:

linda_rettstatt said...

This is a great book--fun characters, lots of humor, and an enjoyable story.

Linda Rettstatt