Friday, September 10, 2021

My Crazy Summer of 2021


I've been away from my normal social media, my writing and writing communities, and pretty much everything else since the end of May 2021. 

I've been 1,000% focused on finishing renovations on my 20 year old home for the goal of selling it and moving to my dream neighborhood in Florida. Imagine a Disneyesque/Hallmarkesque/All Inclusive Diverse All American Village with more than 3,000 active clubs and sporting opportunities and throw in golf cart access infrastructure so complete that you can travel across three counties through special golf cart tunnels under busy roads and bridges over major roads including the Florida turnpike. You can take an energy efficient golf cart (electric or gas) to your club meetings, golf, swimming, tennis, softball, polo, martial arts, yoga, dragon boating, football, soccer, basketball, croquet, doctors, vets, hair salons, shopping at major retailers and specialty boutiques and dining.

My husband and I raised two extraordinary Americans in our Virginia home. It was a standard tract home, all we could afford and still have money for their college and weddings. Over the years, we meticulously maintained and updated it. We still had two full bathrooms left to renovate, plus finish up little projects. We did everything ourselves except installing the quartz counters and new carpet. 

It took us every waking hour from June to the beginning of August but we did it. It sold on the first day. Here is a 3D tour

The day the new carpet went in, and the house smelled wonderful (I suppose the removal of twenty year old carpet helped) I decided we would no longer cook in the house. No weird cooking odors. So we started eating out one meal a day, and eating really indulgent snacks. Forget my healthy nutrition and intermittent fasting. 

We're in the process of moving now. I'm in Florida with the dogs in a short term rental in the dream neighborhood. I hadn't weighed in months. I was dreading it. I stepped on the scale this morning. I weigh the same I did after I lost all the weight with a nutritionist. No wonder my clothes still fit and my thighs didn't chub rub. The nutritionist healed my metabolism!

We still have lots to do with the move, but the hard part is over. I'm so excited to be able to write again!



Saturday, May 15, 2021

Please Adopt Sandy!

 Hooray 😃 Sandy Got Adopted! Thank you for getting the word out  


I attended a Paint Your Pet fundraiser at the Old Dominion Humane Society in Fredericksburg, Virginia last night. I met a precious soul, Sandy. I petted her while painting through tears. She was making her rounds, getting love from everyone in attendance. I so badly wanted to take her home and love her pain away. 

Her lovely foster mom sat across from me. Sandy was so malnourished half of her eight puppies died. The remaining babes were tube fed. They're thriving and now eating mush. I couldn't help but notice Sandy's scalloped ears. My heart is horrified--they were both bitten off. 

I petted and kissed and whispered to the sweet little momma how precious she is and how thankful I am she was born and what a good mother she is. She kissed me back. I wanted to so badly to ditch the painting class and carry her home with me. I texted my family. My husband and daughter reminded me why she isn't a good fit for our family. 

We have six dogs in our pack. Our two rescue dogs, my daughter's three dogs and our friend's dog. I frequently care for all of them at my home. There are three alpha females, and they love playing rough bitey-bitey. Not injuriously, but normal dog nipping and tumbling. 

I'm very afraid of what happened in Sandy's past, and that she won't understand how to play with nice dogs and she would be horribly traumatized or snap and attack one of our pack. That coupled with we're going out of town next week, a trip we had to reschedule from last year when I suddenly couldn't go because of cancer surgery.

If you have a big heart and are able to love Sandy into her understanding she is precious and safe, please give her a loving forever home. She will bless you a trillion fold.

Here is the link to her at Pet Finder https://www.petfinder.com/dog/sandy-50843626/va/fredericksburg/old-dominion-humane-society-va629/

Sandy is the sweetest dog I've ever met.



Monday, March 29, 2021

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

 

Excerpt from Million Dollar Momma
20th Century American History Mystery Series Book 3
by Sherry Morris

Great. Now I heard the “Donna” song, my nickname song, resonating through the trolley car. I covered my ears. I didn’t want this extraordinarily dreamy man to hear it. If he would call me anything, then not “Oh-Donna”. A loud wooden thump woke me. I reluctantly opened my eyes. Darn it, I saw the lone light bulb with the brown shoestring pull. My dream was over. I let out a big disappointed sigh. Didn’t get to kiss him. I was back in the real world and my reality sucked. I heard voices out in the rec room. It sounded like Spanish. Spanish…and…Tammy. Just great. I sat up. “Owww!” My pain rushed back with fury.

The closet door flew open. My sister asked, “What’re you doing…lurking back in there? Perry said you found the body. What, did ya spend the night in the closet? You’re so freaky, Oh-Donna.”

“Nice to see you again too, Sis.”

I looked at her. Tammy was about ninety-five pounds of tawny-complected toned muscle, makeup and satiny jet-black hair. Implants and Botox in just the right places. She really was gorgeous…on the outside.

“What time is it? And what day is it?”

Tammy screwed her little forehead up and said, “It’s after five p.m. on Tuesday. You look like crap. What happened to your face? Cut yourself shaving? Isn’t that Mom’s blouse? And what’s with the pants? Retro orderly? Ya look like a bag lady, Oh-Donna.”

I plodded past her into the rec room. Two men were occupied setting up the Dracula box. Daddy’s coffin. Daddy’s dead body was in there. Heat rose from my feet, up my legs, through my torso and into my face. Oh no. I knew this sensation. The room commenced spinning. My stomach went along for the ride. Shouldn’t have had those hamburgers. Wait a minute, that was just a dream. I didn’t have anything in my stomach to throw up. I tried swallowing it down. I was so hot. Everything around me was swirling and then everything went dark.

I came to, with cold water dripping off my face where Tammy had evidently thrown it. She hovered over me with a tea-stained floral plastic tumbler.

I wiped my palm across my face. “Why didn’t you just shove my head in the toilet?”

“Get up, Oh-Donna. Why’d you faint? You always were the little sissy-girl. I know you can’t be pregnant.” She shot a look toward the Latino men as if to humiliate me. “You need to vacuum upstairs and dust before the food gets here.”

I sat up, trying to sling water droplets at Tammy. “I can’t believe you’re having an Irish wake… And what’s Daddy doing here? Did they finish embalming him that quick?”

“Embalming costs money.”

I was so confused. “But-but didn’t the coroner order an autopsy?”

“He was old, it was his time to go.”

“But-but Perry made accusations about foul play. He said the police were coming to process the scene. Did they? If so, the coroner would perform a postmortem exam and prove Perry wrong. Was Daddy autopsied?”

“I don’t know anything about a police investigation. I haven’t seen or talked to any cops. And you know good and well that we Paynes do not believe in autopsies.”

If no autopsy had been performed and the body had been released to the family, then quite obviously the authorities thought he died of natural causes.

“Then you agree there was no crime. Daddy just had a heart attack.”

“Whatever. He’s dead.”

I lurched up, gritting my teeth on the pain. The men were gone. I shuddered and turned my back to the coffin. Tammy sashayed over to it. I hated that thing. It basically terrified me. I heard a creaky squeak as she opened the lid.

“Look at what a good job I did on his makeup.”

“No!” I bolted upstairs.

My sister chased me, laughing.

Tammy said, “I’m sorry, hon. I know you were his favorite.”

I was his favorite? Excuse me, but you are the one he gushed over, going on and on about all of your great achievements, how you did so and so’s makeup in the blockbuster movie du jour. And then after you switched careers, he’d gossip about Senator so and so’s abs you six-packed.

Tammy said, “The viewing is from seven until nine. You need to get the place spiffed up before the mourners arrive. And change your clothes, huh?”

“But-but the attendants left. They can’t legally leave the body.”

The doorbell rang. Tammy sailed down the three red-carpeted steps to the landing. She turned to me and said, “Of course not. Those were plumbers working on Mrs. Meddlestein’s place. I had them set up the Dracula box for me. Daddy’s not actually inside but the mourners won’t know. It’ll save us money. Let me and Perry know how the viewing went.”

Tammy opened the front door. A fast food deliveryman from Kentucky Fried Chicken gripped a large cardboard box. He had an orange turban, a long gray beard with a handlebar moustache and black basset hound eyes.

Tammy told him, “Take the food downstairs. The lady up over there will pay you.” Then she wiggled past him.

Grinning with bright yellow jumbled teeth, he turned his head and leered at my sister.

All right, that’s enough. I stumbled down the steps and grabbed a large side of mashed potatoes from the box. I lobbed it at Tammy. Whoo hoo! Potatoed her right in her pretty black ponytail. She screamed. Who was the sissy-girl now?

I shoved back inside and slammed the door in the poor delivery guy’s face. Okay, that wasn’t nice. I reached back through the wrought iron railing and felt around inside my orange plastic hospital goody bag. I fished out a five. I opened the door and handed it to the guy. “Sorry, but I didn’t order this food. Here’s for your trouble.”

He insisted, “You must pay!”

“Take it up with Mrs. Potato Head.”

I shut the door and locked it. I slumped down on the slate landing. My anger gave way to a tirade of tears. Daddy, oh Daddy… I love you. Why now? Why did you do this to me? I know you didn’t love me the way you loved Perry and Tammy. But that’s okay. I still loved you. I tried to come and referee the fight you had with Momma on Thursday. But I was in an accident and I couldn’t get to you any sooner than I did. I don’t even know what really happened. Did Momma really turn that deep freezer over on you? Is that what killed you or was it your heart? Momma wouldn’t do that, would she? Where is Momma? Oh Momma, come and hug me and make it all better. Momma, please Momma?

The doorbell forced me to my knees. I peeked through the waist-high peephole. Daddy had drilled it for me when we moved in, so I could see through it. I was about five or six years old at the time and frequently left home alone. Perry was a teenager, off on his own fun. Tammy had a special babysitter she went to, called Mommy Kay.

There was a cop outside. Perry’s technician probably. Bet he’d ask me more unpleasant questions about Daddy and Momma, investigate the crime scene and all that stuff. I was so tired. I didn’t want to deal with any more questions right now. I was in no shape to blindly defend Momma though I had no doubt she was innocent. There was no murder scene here, therefore no evidence that needed processing. I fled down the basement stairs. The Dracula box momentarily stunned me. I hid in the walk-in closet. No more Perry, no more Tammy. I just wanted to be left alone for a change. I could still hear the cop pounding on the front door. Just go and give me some space, will ya?

I breathed with my mouth open in the dark mustiness. My fingers were greasy from handling the potatoes. I laughed, enjoying the mental picture. Should’ve thrown the hot brown gravy too.

Hmm, no more knocking or ringing. I swatted in the dark and felt the soft shoestring. I yanked the light on.

Looking around, I realized Momma’s sable coat was missing. I knew I had been wearing it when I fell asleep. I opened the black steamer trunk again. After I’d rifled through layers of oddities, no coat materialized. So I opened the closet door and peeked into the rec room. Spotting the coffin, I decided to stay put.

This was just too creepy. Surreal, sad and sickening. Oh my God, Momma is in Saint Christopher’s Mental Hospital! I have to get her out. And if she really had been committed to the nut house, she would still be there because she didn’t escape and murder Daddy, because he wasn’t murdered. I couldn’t believe that Perry tossed his own mother into a mental institution. Well, okay, so his real mother was the slightly famous movie actress from the forties and fifties, Vera Blandings, but my mother had raised him lovingly as her own. She worked so hard, trying to do right by that boy. No, Momma hadn’t played opposite Cary Grant in a Hitchcock flick, like Vera Blandings had, but she was a darned good woman.

Wait a minute, I shouldn’t be so hard on Perry. He was an orphan now. His mother Vera had been murdered when he was just a teenager and now our daddy had passed on too. Maybe he wasn’t thinking straight in his grief and that’s why he accused Momma of murder. But that was no excuse for putting Momma away. And what was that stupid story of his, what happened on Thursday, when Daddy called me and said Momma was trying to kill him? Something about a bent cane.

And then, four days later, I found Daddy pinned underneath a deep freezer. His deep freezer. And it wasn’t that big. Just about four feet all ways, tall, wide and deep. A small chest-type freezer. Heavy though. It had a brown paneling finish, to match the paneled basement. Daddy had it plugged in at the end of the hallway. He was always putting food in there while Momma slept, telling me that she had the Alzheimer’s disease, buying too much.

She didn’t have Alzheimer’s. She just never accepted that her nest was empty. She always bought enough to feed a family of five. If anyone had a mental problem, it was Daddy. I strongly suspected he was a pathological liar. I looked up the definition once. It was a synonym for sociopath. Calling him a liar to myself was one thing. I would never believe my father was a sociopath though. That word was frightening.

Every time I came to visit, he’d always call me downstairs and try to load me up with bags of frozen lettuce, shredded cheese and meat that was three years past the “best if used by” date.

Frozen lettuce. The salad bowl incident. What a nightmare. Momma had taken her annual Palm Springs spa trip. She’d been treating herself to this yearly respite the same week every year for as long as I could remember. The first week in August. The day after she returned, I received a frantic call from Daddy. Asking me if I had the salad bowl. Momma accused Daddy of giving away her things to his girlfriend while she was gone. Nonagenarian Daddy had a girlfriend? What was Momma thinking? And what was the girlfriend thinking if she in fact existed? Momma threw him out, had the locks changed and burned his Army discharge papers, his medical license and his autographed photo of Marilyn Monroe.

Perry took him in for a night and then dumped Daddy on my front stoop. Daddy followed me around, crying and telling horribly twisted secrets of Momma’s past, which I didn’t want to hear and didn’t believe. Blackmail, booze, espionage, counterfeiting, crimes against nature, you name it. He was un-shut-up-able. I couldn’t stand the unrelenting emotional devastation he forced upon me. Trying once again to manipulate me into doing whatever master scheme he had in mind. I stuck him on a plane to California, where some of his people lived. And I felt immediate guilt. He was my father after all. I was duty-bound to love him no matter what. I kept thinking that if I loved him long enough, hard enough, he would someday realize that I was a good girl and be proud of me and love me the way he doted on Tammy and Perry. Why didn’t Daddy love me?

He made the rounds of his siblings in California. His youngest brother Howard finally had enough and flew Daddy back home. Momma let him back in. But wouldn’t give him a key.

I heard music. The melody of Dean Martin’s sixties hit “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime”. Yeah, I guess they did. But why in the world did Chloe Lambert marry Dr. Nathan Payne? They bickered my whole life. Had separate bedrooms too. I never witnessed them kissing, not once. And how come they would never reveal the exact year they got married? I knew their anniversary was February twenty-ninth but what year? Leap day…

And why did they adopt Tammy? I was still a baby when they brought Tammy into our home. She was only fourteen months older than me. What, were they disappointed in me?

The music was getting louder.

And why did Tammy and Perry get everything they asked for, the never-grateful children that they were? And then there was me, their only biological child together. Or wasn’t I? If I were to believe any of Daddy’s salacious whispers, Momma had had affairs with Poppa San at the Chinese restaurant, the entire gang of Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack”, including Sammy Davis Jr., the “Negro” as Daddy called him, and even President John F. Kennedy when she was working in the White House. And lest I forget his latest mind game, telling me Momma wasn’t my real mother. As if I could be the natural daughter of a movie star who had died before I was born. Probably Daddy’s lifelong fascination with Marilyn Monroe had taken over his final moments… No, he was just trying to play one last trick on me. I ran my fingers over my face then shook my head. Daddy loved telling stories about when he met Marilyn. His first wife Vera had been cast together with her in a movie. Bus Stop? No, maybe it was How To Marry a Millionaire? Hey, perhaps I was JFK and MM’s love child. That’s why I never even received a pittance, I would be coming into my inheritance one of these days. I giggled. Oh it felt good to laugh, punch-drunk on emotion.


Get Million Dollar Momma now in Paperback or eBook!






Sunday, March 28, 2021

I've Been Camel-napped

 


20th Century American History Mystery Series Book 2
by Sherry Morris

Orpha had jumped off the camel before his legs splayed.

Chloe was thrown. She landed on her belly. Through blurry eyes, she scrutinized the interloper by the light of his lantern. A man. Tall. Face covered with cloth, only eyes and brows showing. Egyptian garb.

In her muddled mind, the only clear notion was to retrieve the carpet bag. Chloe pushed herself up and staggered over to the camel. As the man approached, she grabbed the bag defiantly, yanking it from the saddle horn. He seized Chloe roughly by the waist and threw her over his shoulder.

Great just great. I’ve been camel-napped. Now I’ll be a full day late for my summons. No way of making that tricky Moroccan connection now.

She realized her arm no longer hurt. Whatever Orpha had injected it with had a firm grip on her. The numbness was welcome, especially in this position.

The kidnapper stepped into the chariot. His grip was tight around Chloe’s legs.

She heard the crack of the whip as he grunted a command. The pair of horses galloped.

Was this guy crazy? I won’t survive a gallop through the desert flopped over his shoulder. All the blood is rushing to my head. I detected the heat. Actually once the dizziness set in, I enjoyed a little buzz like the one I had from Orpha’s incense cone. Hey, where was Orpha? Why didn’t she help me fend off this beast? Surely she didn’t run the other way… Oh, she must have a plan. She went for back up. Yeah, that’s it.

Chloe struggled to tuck her injured arm between her chest and his back. Her hand gripped tight to the mewing sack.  She let her left arm dangle and then grabbed onto his buttocks for security. Maybe she should pinch him. Or spank him?  

Trying to get a clue to the kidnapper’s identity, she inhaled deeply. Spicy lime aftershave. Wow, all the way down here. He must wash his dishdash in it.  She giggled at her double entendre.

She had been kidnapped. Not the first time, but such is the life of a secret agent. Chloe had been held captive on a yacht and taken to Bermuda to make a money drop. Her friend, Shirley Fiddler, had made the money drop, and that’s what had landed her in jail. Poor Shirley. All because she got mixed up with the wrong fellow. He sweet talked her into becoming a gangster’s moll. Well, not exactly gangster. Myron Wimpledink, the timid little smarmy personnel director at the Washington Bureau of Engraving and Printing was no rough and tough gangster. Counterfeiter, yes.

Chloe hated Wimpledink and his band of merry marauders. That had been the mission from Hell. And it had only been her second assignment.  The first was pleasant enough. Too bad she had blown their cover in the barn that night in Pennsylvania with Mike.

 Her third assignment had been dreamy. Bodyguarding the vice president in paradise.

This fourth one pretty much sucked, almost as much as the second. Perhaps there was a pattern. Even numbered assignments stank. Odd ones were lovely larks.

Chloe sneezed and smacked her hand against the captor’s boot. Why wasn’t he wearing sandals? Her next big inhalation was unpleasant. All she smelled was what had just come out of one of the horse’s hind parts. Funny how horses, elephants and camels can do that at full gallop. Elephants… Little Laughter. Chloe smiled and closed her eyes, remembering the beach resort her daddy had worked at during the summers. Tending to that baby elephant was a lovely memory.

Closing her eyes made her nauseous. She opened them and raised her head. “Ouch!” The sky appeared to have brightened a bit as they slowed to a stop. Too bad she had a sutured wound in her right arm. She could have done a somersault and rolled away from the bad guy. That wouldn’t be of much help, for she was not leaving without the carpet bag. Everything else being goofed up, knowing there was no way she’d make it to Washington in time now, at least this new wrinkle would give her an excuse. No, not really. The pencil pushing honchos would be mad at her for placing herself in a vulnerable position and point out that had she completed the mission on schedule, then she never would have afforded the kidnapper this opportunity.

Slipping his hands around Chloe’s waist, the man stepped off the chariot. He set her on her feet on the ground. She stumbled in the sand and brushed the tangled curls from her eyes. The captor stationed himself behind her and with gentle fingers, combed her snarled hair. She inhaled the night air and enjoyed the tingling sensation he created. How bizarre, but I like it.

Chloe focused on an oasis. Three date palm trees, illuminated by a dying fire in front of a tent. In the distance, about a city block away, if this had been a city, other tents, trees and fires reposed along the banks of a river.

He slipped his arms around her waist, hugging her close from behind. Running his fingers around her wrists. It might have been intoxicating had the circumstances been different.

“What do you want of me?” Chloe demanded.

“I have traveled across three continents and o’er two oceans seeking nothing but your lips.”

Chloe whirled around. Staring at the base of his sternum, the man was easily a foot taller than she. His unbuttoned shirt revealed a tuft of golden chest hair. As she raised her gaze up toward those baby blue eyes and his masked face, she already knew. He was Mike Taurus.

Ripping the mask down, she focused on the smirk as he parted his lips. Those plump lips she’d been dreaming of. When he parted them and she spotted the white gleam of his slightly crooked two front teeth, she couldn’t help herself. Tiptoeing up, she pressed her lips to his. He hesitated, on purpose of course, until she was ready to explode with anticipation. Gently he kissed her. Soft closed mouth butterfly kisses, increasing in intensity.

Tears flowed from her heart. Trickling onto their lips. He pulled away and studied her eyes. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

Chloe sniffled. “I’m sorry, it’s just I’m so overwhelmed to see you. How did you get here? I love you so much forever and ever and ever and eternally, my love. My husband.”

“Well, let’s not cry about it,” he said.

 “I should have bugged-out yesterday but I had to finish the mission…and didn’t anyway.” A feeling of warmth and safety settled over her.  She could care less about any mission right now. Wrapping her left arm around his back, she softly rubbed his taut flesh through the cotton fabric.

Mike scooped her into his arms and ducked inside the tent. He gently eased her down on a pallet of green silk and white fur. Four thick gold candles with sapphires, rubies and amethysts embedded in the wax illuminated the small blue canvass hideaway. An incense pot in the shape of a hippopotamus smoked in the center.

Chloe set the carpet bag down. Mike secured the entrance and uncorked a bottle of wine.

She dreamily said, “Everything will be all right now. I’ll fill you in, and we’ll capture the perps together, man and wife…”

“You’re bloody!”  He set the bottle down and nervously yanked her sleeve, exposing the filthy shoulder and bandaged arm.

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just met up with the wrong end of a jealous wife.”

He pried the bandage loose, peeking underneath.

“Stop! That hurts.”

“I’m sorry. So you got into a cat fight with Cleopatra?” he let go of the bandage and gently kissed it instead.

As if cued, the Sand cat rubbed up against Mike’s leg.

“And where did you find your little friend here?” Mike picked the cat up and looked into her eyes.

“Nefertiti found me.”

“So you aren’t going to tell me how you got stitched up?”

“I think it was probably old Hundred Dollar Bill’s wife, Vera who shot me.”

“Shot you?”

 “I’m fine. Orpha dug the slug out. But enough of that. It’s been so long. Let’s just concentrate on getting back to our honeymoon. Mr. and Mrs. Man and Wife.”

“About the man and wife bit…”  He cleared his throat and set the cat down. “We aren’t.”

“Hunh? What do you mean we aren’t?” Chloe sat up.

Mike poured two glasses of wine. He handed one to her. “We’ve been annulled.”

She laughed in disbelief. “Yeah, right.”

“I’m dead serious.”

“Why would you have our marriage annulled?” Chloe wracked her brain, trying to figure out what she’d done to make him hate her. Memories of their young marriage seemed to pass before her eyes. Him gratefully gobbling the food she had prepared. Long walks in the shifting sand on Make Believe Island. Bathing each other in the claw footed tub. Lying in each other’s arms. Listening to the rain’s romantic symphony atop of the bungalow’s tin roof. They hadn’t even spat…spit…quarreled.  Not ever. As far as she could remember anyhow.

“I didn’t instigate the annulment of our marriage. The government did.”

“Why? They can’t do that! We were married twice! In a civil ceremony and in an Episcopal ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington for heaven sakes! And the President of the United States witnessed it!”

Mike took a thoughtful sip from his fluted glass, swirled the nectar in his mouth and swallowed. Inhaling deeply, he blew out a breath and rambled, “I finished my mission early. Missing you terribly, I figured I’d ask the brass if I could slip over on a crocodile and give you a hand, since you’d soon be wrapping yours up too.” He downed the rest of his wine. “How could I have been so stupid?”

“That’s a wonderful idea. Not stupid. We could collar the counterfeiters together. Just like at Momma’s house in Shrew.”

“You’d think so, hunh? And it’s not like I’d be getting extra pay or anything, since we’re meager salaried employees,” Mike lamented.

“Then what was their beef?”

“I made a fatal error by blurting out we’re married.”

“So? Would they rather have us fornicating?”

“It seems we’re not only in violation of their nepotism rule, but alas, female agents are not allowed to marry, let alone to another agent.”

“That’s not fair! So what if I got married. It’s logical and natural and good. And so what if I married another agent?  That is just none of their dagnab business.”

“Something about we’ll both lose our edge, respond to crisis with our hearts instead of our heads, jeopardizing missions. And the mere fact you are married automatically makes you pregnant and disabled.”

“I am neither pregnant nor disabled.”

“You’re not?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

“You sound disappointed.”

“I just had this fantasy of you and me and baby Taurus makes three. All living happily ever after on Make Believe Island.”

“Mike, please don’t talk about babies,” she whispered.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.” He refilled their glasses.

A vision of the two headstones on the island brought tears back to my eyes. “It’s too soon.”

“I’m really sorry.” Using a piece of green silk bedding, he wiped the black kohl smudges from under her eyes.

“I wish I had a camera. You are the most gorgeous Egyptian princess I have ever laid eyes on. God you are beautiful.”

“And just how many Egyptian princesses have you laid?”

“A whole herd of ‘em. But that was long before I met you.”

“Herd?” I laughed. Bevy, harem maybe, but herd?” Sniffing the insense, I gazed deeper into his mesmerizing eyes and sighed.

“Sweetheart, I consented to the annulment.”

“Why?” Chloe was absolutely gob smacked. How could he do such a thing?

“Because I know how much you love your country and your job. As do I. It’s only paperwork. It has not a whiff to do with what’s in our hearts. We were married before God—.”

“And before a baker.”

We both smiled, conjuring up images of Paddycake whispering their vows in the back alley behind the bakery with the Miami Beach flat-foots about to burst through the back door. Hot on their trail. Mistaken identity, of course. Wow, what an adventure…

He continued, “We’re married in our hearts no matter what they say. They can never take that away from us.”

“So we are not married, but we are married?”

“Right.”

Wine glugged out of the bottle as Mike refilled the glasses. He held his up. “To our annulment. May we live on happily ever after, despite a world overrun by fools.”

Chloe held her glass up and clinked it to Mike’s. “To our annulment.”

Mike took their glasses and set them on a small crate. He cranked a record player and set the needle on the 33 1/3 inch disk. Mitch Miller’s band wafted through the heady perfumed air, playing “Make Believe Island” as he sidled up to her. Chloe flinched as he caressed her right arm.

She cautioned, “We’re not married anymore. We can’t make love… It would be immoral…”

“That is all right, Miss Lambert. I only want to hold you tonight. I know you aren’t that kind of girl.”

Mike rolled her onto her left side and pressed up behind her. She cradled her sutured arm close to her body. He slipped his around her waist. She heaved a heavy sigh and let herself disappear into the warmth of his love. The only man who had ever loved her. The only man she would ever love.

“Hey,” he whispered, snuggling closer, pressing up against her rear end.

Through the layers of cotton, Chloe could feel his dishdash thrilled to be near her.

He offered, “If you change your mind and decide you want to be that kind of girl, I won’t tell.”

Get THOUSAND DOLLAR PHARAOH now in Paperback or eBook:







Burying the Body


Excerpt from Billion Dollar Baby
20th Century American History Mystery Series

by Sherry Morris

 

I went through the motions of crying, but I guess I must have been too dehydrated to create many tears. Oh Momma. I miss you so much. Just when we finally understood one another. Oh I hope, God please let Momma understand that I love her and she was a good Momma. To me and to Daddy’s son Perry and to Tammy, the chosen one. The little girl they adopted. Even if they are arrogant, greedy, ungrateful, manipulative conniving so and so’s. It’s not Momma’s fault. They learned that from Daddy.

It occurred to me that my siblings weren’t crying. Didn’t they believe me? Were they in denial? No, then they would’ve asked who had called and for all the details. “Why aren’t you guys crying? Our mother just died. Aren’t you even curious what happened to her? I mean she could’ve been beheaded in Iraq for all you know.” I eyed them suspiciously. My grief was morphing into seething anger.

Tammy screamed, “Ohmagod! What was she doing in Iraq? I’m gonna be sick.” She clutched her taught stomach.

At least Tammy has some sort of feelings, even if it’s just she’s grossed out.

Perry asked, “Oh-Donna, who was that on the phone?”

“That was Momma’s friend, Mike.”

He questioned, “Mike who?”

“Mike Taurus. They used to work in the Secret Service together. That’s where she went the first week of August every year. To spend time with him.”

“While she was married to my Dad? That ‘hoe. Right there, grounds she shouldn’t inherit his estate.”

I smiled. Good for you, Momma. Having a real boyfriend. Someone who treasured you. Not like that sociopath you married in his hideous plot of convenience. Perry’s father.

“So where is the body?” Perry questioned.

“As if you care. And as if I’d tell you.”

“Oh-Donna. Where is Chloe’s corpse?”

“Florida.”

Tammy blurted out, “Al Qaeda operatives are in Florida? Ohmagod!”

Perry said, “So you sent us to California on a wild goose chase. Thanks a lot little sister.”

I said, “Oh no! Norma Jean!”

Tammy asked, “Who’s Norma Jean?”

“My dog. That’s her name. I can’t go to Florida and leave her alone. Will you take care of her?” I sized up my brother, begging with my expression.

Perry said, “No. We’re all going. Toss her in a kennel or something.”

“No! I’m not locking her in a cage. Her first incarnation was just horrible.”

Tammy said, “Honey, no, you shouldn’t give her Carnation evaporated milk. Too many sugars in it. She needs Purina—”

“No, I meant her first life. Oh never mind.” These two would never believe that this beautiful Great Dane is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. And I’d better not slip, or they’ll have some good ammo toward getting me committed to the loony house.

Perry dialed his cell phone. “Judge Payne here. Is Roddy available? Right.” He unzipped his black judge’s robe. “Listen, I just got word that Chloe died...in Florida...thanks...I appreciate it...hold on.” He tugged his robe over his head, revealing a huge pair of black sweat pants and a white undershirt covering his portly highness. “Oh-Donna, are you going to have a service for your mother?”

“Of course.” I noticed how the cold ungrateful step-son addressed the woman who lovingly raised him. “She’s being buried in the Florida Keys.”

“What?”

“That’s what she wanted.”

“Where? Key Largo? Can they even bury people there? Isn’t it below sea level?”

“It’s on a little uncharted island.”

“What? How in the hell can we find it? What am I supposed to tell Meddlestein?”

“Give me the phone.”

He huffed and then handed it to me.

I told my mother’s neighbor what had happened and he insisted on attending the service with his wife, Gloria. She and Momma were close friends. I instructed him about the Fontainebleau Hotel and we agreed to meet there.


Get BILLION DOLLAR BABY now in Paperback or eBook!




Saturday, March 27, 2021

Train Compartment Bingo


Excerpt from INAPPROPRIATE
by Sherry Morris

My brother hustled us all back to the train. I looked up at the U.S. Marine helicopter whooping overhead. Pretty low, enough to help me make up my mind to obey and climb back aboard the train of fools. Now I would just concentrate on learning the craft of writing. After all that was the whole purpose of this trip.

Freezing rain pelted the windows as we chuffed down the tracks. I saw the helicopter take off from a clearing in the junkyard. Very odd indeed. I’d file that in my imagination and my muse would have a go at it some day. What was it doing? Who was in it? What was so special about landing in a junkyard before an ice storm? I’d come up with something very clever indeed.

There was too much chatter in the parlor car. The evangelists were one upping each other with some sort of scripture trivia game. Bicep Betty was showing off her latest erotic romance anime complete with illustrations, which I did not want to see.

I didn’t know if the other writers were being polite to Betty or if they had a morbid curiosity. They say people have that about death, too. Fascinated with all the little mundane details. Not me. I would prefer to do without it.

The window had been replaced. I wondered if Big Marc had turned up and I hoped he was all right. And I hoped I hadn’t given him a concussion.

My pinky finger grew numb. I looked down at the hemp string constricting it. I’d forgotten about the lightweight package Mom had delivered to me. I had no idea what was in it nor who could have sent it. And for that matter I didn’t realize they had special deliveries to a train. What in the heck?

I parked myself on the round sofa. Dina shook a blanket out on top of me and plopped herself down. “So do you wanna swap rooms?”

“Yes!” This was just too great. I had been dreading reentering the scene of the crime. “Are you sure? I’m really freaked out about Mini Mary Agnes. I’ll probably see her face in every bathroom mirror from now on.”

“I just adore ghosts. I’m hoping she’ll haunt us.”

I rolled my eyes. Dina had loved the Ouija board when we were little. She told the scariest ghost stories around the campfire at Girl Scout camp.

“Do you think Napping Norah will mind switching, too?” I asked.

“I couldn’t ask that dear little lady to move. She’s so comfortable in her bunk. She doesn’t even snore.”

“Fine. I’ll swap one evangelist for another. Do you really want to move into my room?”

“Please.” She smiled.

I pulled the blanket off of me and stood to fold it. Dina grabbed the other end and assisted. It was really warm in this car. My wet clothes and hair weren’t bothering me and I was usually always cold indoors.

My brother set a fresh pot of coffee on the credenza. I jumped up and steadied myself to the rhythm of the train. I swaggered across the car to him.

“I’m switching rooms with Dina. From A to H. Will you please retrieve my cooler and duffle bag?” I remembered the wet yarn and said, “No. Just the duffle bag is good. You can throw the cooler out.”

“I’m busy now.”

“Please?”

I got in his face and gave him the pouty lips.

“Fine.”

He took the empty coffee pot and disappeared.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

America Needs to Lose Weight

I am an American mom. 

I would like to inspire a bipartisan grass roots revolution to do something proactive for our American population. 

The medical community, scientists and politicians have dropped the ball. 

Instead of just scaring us into social distancing, masks, hand washing; stay at home for 15 days to stop the spread so hospitals don't get overrun; don't go see grandma, grandpa, mom and dad; don't go to see your loved one in the hospital, they must die alone; don't go to church, don't go to work, don't go to school, don't go anywhere; wash your groceries; quarantine your mail; take the vaccine but that doesn't change anything, you still need to stay home, social distance, wear a mask and sanitize at us for over a year, at some point someone should have looked at the science (without an agenda to fit a narrative). 

Who are the people with some of the worst outcomes from the Covid-19 virus? The elderly, obese and those deficient in Vitamin D.

Most Americans need to lose weight. I won't pontificate on the obvious. You know who you are. And it's not your fault. You've followed our government's food pyramid and gotten fat and sick. And you've followed the science on the damage of the sun and slathered on sunscreen, which of course inhibits your production of Vitamin D.

I am not a doctor, scientist or politician. I'm an American mom. Who's been obese. Who's had skin cancer, twice.

What do I fervently want every American to do? Go see your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. Have your Vitamin D level checked. And get a complete physical, including a full skin exam. Take care of yourself. Most insurance plans will cover 100% of preventative care.

But what do I really want you to do? Those of you who are overweight, I want you to reverse that.

If you try for a month and can't do it on your own by following the old move more, eat less approach, go see a nutritionist.  Look for someone who is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

I don't care how smart you think you are about food and exercise. Or how old you are. Or how poor you are. Go see a nutritionist. 

I obsessively tried to lose weight for 20 years and couldn't do anything more than maintain. Menopause and lockdown hit and my weight climbed into obesity. Two doctors I sought help from told me to stop trying to lose weight!

I finally found a holistic family doctor who validated my dilemma and referred me to a nutritionist. She got to the root of my problem. I wasn't eating enough, particularly carbohydrates, to fuel my activity level. My body held on to every pound because it thought I was starving. 

So instead of Move More, Eat Less, I needed to Move Less, Eat More

Guess what? She's a genius! It worked! I'm no longer obese. I'm back to my happy weight. 

Everyone is different. Yes, you can lose weight. You just need to find out definitively what works for you. There is help. See a nutritionist. Tell him/her Mom sent you.💖

Don't give up. You can do this!

Here is my Skin Cancer story.

Here is my Weight Loss story.