Monday, May 7, 2012

Good Grief in Lottawatah

Excerpt from
Good Grief in Lottawatah
Vol 8
Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series

Chapter 1 -
"The Dead Make a lot of Noise."

In case you missed the front page story in Friday's Lottawatah Herald or didn't visit the Shear Artistry Hair Salon on Saturday or failed to listen to local radio host Mutt Jeffrey's call-in segment this morning, let me tell you the big news that has this small Oklahoma town abuzz – I'm engaged to Lottawatah Police Detective Cooper Jackson.

Yes, engaged to be married. I know, you never thought I'd make such a big commitment. Frankly, I'm a bit stunned myself. And before you can ask, no I'm not pregnant. Cooper proposed to me while I was in the hospital in Tulsa, recovering from a gunshot wound I received in early November. Granted I was on heavy drugs at the time and the memory of actually saying yes to his offer of marriage is still a little fuzzy, but I'm sure this is the right decision. I'm almost positive.

"Brianna? Is that you? Come on back to my office, I'm on hold with a casket supplier."

I realized I was standing just inside the Myers Funeral Home, the door chime still ringing. Today was the first day of my new job. Doc Joseph Myers, mortician, fisherman, and as needed, coroner was my new boss. I had no clue what my employment entailed. Of course I've spent most of my life without a clue. I'm Brianna Sullivan and I'm a psychic. And yes, I should have a clue. And no, that's psychic spelled with an "ic" not an "o."


It's noon now. I've been on the job four hours. Okay, three-and-a-half since I was late. Cooper dropped me off at his friend Denny's garage. My vintage Mustang convertible was road worthy–barely. Denny had been working on the car off-and-on for almost a year. The good citizens of Lottawatah had finally chipped in and paid my outstanding balance at the garage as sort of a reward for my actions in finding a missing child or maybe as a reward for exposing a murderer in their mist. Either way, I was happy to have a second set of wheels to drive around town. My other mode of transportation is Matilda, my 30-foot motor home. I love Matilda but I don't like driving her around Lottawatah. Right now she's parked out at Lake Eufaula and I stay there when I'm not keeping Cooper company at his apartment in town.

Doc Myers, who said he had already made a house call (yes, that's what you think it is),  showed me around the funeral home before he left for his regular Monday lunch at Tiny's with his Lodge buddies. I'm not sure which Lodge or even if there really is a Lodge anymore since I think this lunch has probably been happening since before I was born.

But back to my job-I was given a nice desk, a chair on rollers that spins, a phone with two lines, and a desktop computer that I haven't yet figured out how to turn on.

Doc told me my title was director of sales and public outreach. As far as I can tell that means I answer the telephone, take messages, and serve coffee and Kleenex to family members when they come in to pick out caskets and make funeral arrangements.

"Good Morning, Myers Funeral Home. How can I help you?"

"Are you going to the apartment during your lunch hour to walk Leon?"

"Hello to you too, sweetheart. Is the magic already gone?"

"Brianna, I'm at the scene of a three-car pileup with a fuel spill. I don't have time for magic."

"Yet you took the time to worry about Leon's bladder. I'm touched." Leon was the bulldog I had inadvertently inherited. He has a grumpy disposition, a sensitive digestive tract, a penchant for chewing on leather couches, and I was devoted to him. Cooper less so.

"Right. Just take care of your dog. I don't want any more accidents to clean up," Cooper said. "And don't forget to call my mother and set up a dinner."

I hadn't forgotten. I was hoping something would happen to prevent me making that call. Maybe a natural disaster. Hey, we get a lot of those in Oklahoma. Last year there were two ice storms, a blizzard, a flood, three tornadoes, a drought, and then 60 one-hundred degree days in a row. Just when I thought I'd experienced all that Oklahoma had to offer; last month there was an earthquake that knocked down an old brick tower in the Miner's Memorial Park, located in the center of Lottawatah. Odds were that something else would happen if I could just delay making that call.

"Cooper, there's a lot of static on the line. I didn't hear that last part. See you tonight!"

"Brianna, call–"

Okay, yes, I admit it. I hung up on him. He doesn't understand that my relationship with his mother is unpredictable. A couple of months ago, she really hated me. Then hate sort of morphed into grudging tolerance. When I was in the hospital, she was very kind. I thought we were really bonding. Then the engagement happened and Sassy Jackson chilled up fast.

"Could I get a moment of your time?"

Startled, I glanced up. The elderly man in front of me was polite, but not alive.

"Do you have an appointment?" Okay, I knew the answer to that question before I asked it but really, I was going to have to set some boundaries or the walk-ins would run me ragged. And of course there was Leon's bladder to consider.

"My viewing is tonight and I wanted to warn you that my wife and my brother will probably get into a shouting match if you don't keep them separated. He thinks she only married me for my money."

"How long have you been married?" I was guessing he'd married a younger woman and his family hadn't approved.

"Fifty years come June," he answered, sitting down uninvited on the chair in front of my desk. "But my brother isn't one to change his mind. He's been waiting for Emma to leave me, so he could say I told you so."

Fifty years was a long time. I don't know if I could conceive of living with Cooper for fifty years. What would we find to talk about after all that time?

"I'll make a note for Doc."

Before I even finished my sentence he was gone.

I grabbed my purse and the set of keys that Doc Myers had given me. I had an hour for lunch and about a dozen personal errands to run. I didn't have to be psychic to understand that having an 8-5 office job was going to interfere with my normal routine.

Just before I walked out the front door, I stuck my head in the three viewing rooms and let everyone know that I'd be back by one.

According to Doc, the viewings were generally set from 3 to 7 pm. Doc assured me that he'd handle the after-5 stuff. People in Lottawatah ate early and liked to be home in front of their television or in bed before it got dark. So the evening visitors were few and far between.

Today, although it was barely noon, there was already quite a crowd gathering in one room. I could try to run them off, but these visitors didn't pay much attention to clocks, policies, or locked doors.

Not only the living attend funerals.


Zoned for Murder - Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery - e-book series
Murder Off the Books Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! I've been wanting to revisit Lottawatah for a while now :-)