It seems like I can’t get too far from one calamity, then I’m on to the next. It’s been that way most of my life. I can remember my stepmother saying that I was so accident prone, just like one of my brother-in-laws, and she was always waiting to see who was going to need her help next. It was a contest I really didn’t want to win.
So, I had another accident the other day. Tripped while walking and did a face-splat on the asphalt, landing on the right side of my face, where all the pain from trigeminal neuralgia is already intense. To say it got even more intense, is an understatement.
My forehead, eye, and cheek look look like I went a few rounds with a boxing champ, but I won’t gross you out with a picture. Instead, here is something just for fun:
In honor of the contest I’m sponsoring at BookSweeps with twenty other suspense and mystery authors, here’s an excerpt from One Small Victory. It’s one of the books that can be won along with titles from the other authors and some fun memorabilia from the “Breaking Bad” television series. I’ll admit I was a fan.
The following scene takes place about 2 weeks after the accident that killed Jenny’s oldest son Michael. She’s returned to work, and her two younger kids are back at school following the funeral. This incident of seeing drug deals by the school is part of what spurs Jenny to channel her grief into getting rid of drugs in her small Texas town.
The afternoon was so perfect, Jenny wished she could bottle it and save it for the heart of the winter. A light breeze chased gold and brown leaves down the sidewalk and the sun rendered a stand of yellow mums so spectacular the sight almost took her breath away. She was glad that Mitchell had literally pushed her out the door and told her to, “Go, smell the leaves.”
Yet a part of her that was still melancholy ached with the knowledge that Michael would never see a glorious day like this again. She wished it wasn’t this way. That everything was measured by loss. Will there ever be a day that I won’t think of something in terms of Michael?
She rounded the corner and saw the high school down at the end of the block, kids streaming out the front doors like horses being turned out of a stable. When she realized she was looking for Michael, she forced herself to repeat mentally, ‘he isn’t here.’
Watching a small group of boys break off from the crowd, Jenny paused and turned to follow them with her gaze as they approached two older boys. Something in their manner held her curiosity as they paused briefly. She wasn’t sure, but it looked like one of the older boys passed something to one of the others.
“Mom! What’re you doing here?”
Jenny turned to see Scott. She put a hand to her chest to see if her heart was actually pressing through her breastbone. “You scared me to death.”
“That answer is non-responsive.”
She had to turn her face to hide the smile. He was always so good at turning her parenting techniques back on her.
“I thought I’d walk you home.”
“Okay, I’ll stay behind you. Nobody has to know.”
He shrugged and started to move down the sidewalk. Jenny touched his arm. “Who are those guys?”
“There.” She pointed to the small cluster of kids. ”Those two bigger kids don’t look like students.”
Scott grabbed her elbow and tried to propel her along. “You don’t want to know.”
“But I do.” She pulled out of his grasp and stood still. He took a few steps away, then turned back. The look on his face made it obvious that the only reason he was stopping was to avoid the embarrassment of her calling after him.
“Okay.” He shifted his book-bag and tugged at his denim jacket, then glanced quickly around. “They’re dealers.”
“What? Like in drugs?”
Scott grabbed her arm again. “Why don’t you shout it? I’m not sure they heard you.”
“Don’t get smart.” Jenny tried to pull out of his grasp, but he held her tightly and forced her to match his steps.
“Let’s go,” he said. “You can smack me when we get home.”
She shot another look over her shoulder as Scott pulled her along. The men were watching and she felt a shudder of an emotion she couldn’t quite put a name to. Revulsion? Apprehension? Both?
She leaned closer to her son. “Does this go on all the time?”
“Only on school days.”
That comment stopped her so abruptly he lost the hold he had on her arm. “This is routine? Why don’t the police do something?”
“They try. Patrols come by a lot. But they have a good early-warning system?”
“I’m lost. Who has a warning system?”
Mom. This isn’t the time to make you street smart. Let’s go home.”
“Do you ever…?”
His look could have withered weeds.
“They say the parents are the last to know.”
Scott glanced away. “Is that what they told you about Michael?”
“This isn’t about Michael. It’s about you.” Jenny tugged on his sleeve. “I know it’s hard to resist all this. The pressure. And I know now that Michael tried it with Brad. So I just want to be sure about you.”
“I haven’t. I won’t. Ever.” He held eye-contact and for a moment his stance was so much like Michael’s when he was making a point, Jenny was afraid she’d lose it right there in the middle of the street.
She took a breath to steady herself. “Be careful of absolutes. They tend to come back and bite you in the ass.”
The touch of humor worked. Strength returned to her knees and the tightness around Scott’s mouth eased into a brief smile.
“I’m pretty safe on this one,” he said.
I do hope you enjoyed the excerpt and will consider entering the Booksweeps contest for a chance to win a prize package worth $250. The name of the contest is The Breaking Bad Giveaway, and the reference of course is to the hit television series. Entering is easy and fun.
That’s all from me, folks. Take care and have a great weekend.