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What Dead Women Want

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Author's note:  This is the first chaper of my latest novel!  It is an e-book for sale at Amazon!  Enjoy!

 

 

Chapter One

 

It wasn’t a good day in the life of Carly Middleton. It hadn’t been a good evening the night before, and now, thanks to a coffee pot that decided to commit suicide for no apparent reason, she’d have as much caffeine as she had sleep. Carly glanced at the oven clock. Fifteen minutes until the arrival of Larry Tatos, Jr., plumber extraordinaire. She stared at the coffee pot longingly. She would need something to get her through the impending appointment. Desperate, she eyed an unopened bottle of champagne, a housewarming gift from her parents. Was nine-thirty in the morning too early to down a glass? Carly pushed away the thought. She would not add “Begin a Drinking Problem” to her ever growing “to do list”. And after moving back home to Wisconsin and into her home on Lake Della, that particular list loomed long.

She padded around the kitchen and tried to remember where she left another note, a shorter list of tasks to accomplish today. Somewhere between midnight, when a storm woke her, and six this morning when it finally abated, she had jotted down a plan of action for putting the house in shape. But now she couldn’t find the darn thing. Of course, being dead tired wasn't helping matters, nor was the dull ache in her right eye that warned of an impending migraine. Luckily, another quick glance around the kitchen revealed the list camouflaged on her white Formica countertop. She located her migraine medication in the glass-paned cabinet above.

She downed a pill with a glass of water, seated herself at the kitchen table and attempted to make sense of her scribbles from the night before.

Find a plumber. Carly picked up a nearby pen and lazily crossed this first duty off the list. She had already placed an early morning call to local plumber, Larry Tatos’s office. A squeaky voiced receptionist answered the call and informed Carly that, unfortunately, Larry Sr. was in the hospital with his own personal plumbing problems. The woman added that Larry Jr. was handling the customer calls.

Larry Tatos, Junior. Carly bristled at the mention of his name and the memory of how he handled her in high school when she once dated him. Larry, a short, but well-built wrestler with an ego as big as his biceps, turned out to be all hands. The date lasted exactly fifteen minutes, just enough time for Larry to drive her to the outdoor movie, park the car, and plant a big wet one on her while groping her breasts. Carly flew out of Larry’s car faster than the welt could rise where she slapped him. She walked home along the Wisconsin country roads, a safer bet than spending one more minute with Larry. Now, nearly fourteen years later, she again found herself at the mercy of the wrestling man-handler and his plunger.

Carly sighed and studied the next duty on her list.

Call exterminator. She laughed. Yes, an exterminator might be the answer to her Larry problem. But her sense of humor faded as she remembered the real reason, or rather, the score of eight-legged reasons that beckoned the aid of a pesticide-packing hero. Carly yawned, recalling her encounter with her new housemates. The wicked thunderstorm woke her around midnight. A huge crack of lightening soon followed. Carly plummeted into darkness while her canine bedfellow, Rags, ran downstairs in fear. Carly followed him, guiding herself about by candlelight, only to find, not the dog, but an infestation of tiny brown spiders decorating the first floor walls of her home. Streams of the little fellows dangled from web strands against the faded wallpaper. Carly stood horrified as the spiders danced up and down upon their silken threads. A spider or two in an old house by a lake she expected, not thirty or more of the creatures performing their own Cirque du Soleil on her living room walls. Carly backed into the kitchen where the walls remained blessedly free from freakish entertainment. Relieved, she plopped down on a kitchen chair, too wide-awake from the storm to fall asleep, and too nervous about what might crawl on her if she did. With nothing better to do, she devised her list of tasks by candlelight, while manic-minded Rags destroyed her walk-in kitchen pantry.

Call vet. Carly read the next item on the list and glanced over at the tan and brown Airedale who now slept peacefully amongst the mess he created last night.

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