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Lark Chadwick is back!
Troubled Water, the third novel in my Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series, is now available as a Kindle eBook!
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About nine-thirty on this Saturday night, I was cruising down I-185 closing in on Columbia, but still in the boonies and having a heck of a time staying awake. I’d had so much caffeine that I was facing the law of diminishing returns – it seemed like the more coffee I drank, the sleepier I got.
To entertain myself, I kept hitting the scan button on my radio to see what kind of nonsense could be strung together by the brief bursts of audio snippets. One particularly amusing string sounded like this:
“Governor Gannon’s presidential campaign got a boost today when he won the endorsement of -- [fffftttt] -- JAY-zuss. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord for your -- [fffftttt] -- Dodge Charger. It comes fully-equipped with -- [fffftttt] -- your own personal banker. That’s right. I’m here to -- [fffftttt] -- got a line on you, babe, yeah -- [fffftttt] -- I can’t get noooo…sat-is-FACK-shun. No, no, no -- [fffftttt] -- are you SAVED by the blood of the LAMB?”
After awhile, that got boring, so I called Lionel because I can always count on him to keep my mind energized. We’d been yakking for a few minutes when my bladder began competing for my attention.
“Lionel, if I don’t stop this car right now, I’m gonna wet my pants.”
“You should’ve worn a diaper, Lark,” he chuckled.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you remember the story about the former astronaut who drove cross-country wearing a diaper?”
“That must’ve been before my time.”
“She was in such a hurry to confront the ‘other woman’ – her romantic rival -- that she didn’t want to take rest stops, so she--”
“Lionel!” I barked.
“I can’t talk any longer. I’ve gotta pull over. Now!”
“Oh, alright,” he sighed.
“I’ll call you right back.”
I hit end call on my iPhone and peeled off the interstate at the very next exit – exit 252 – Skunk Run Road. On impulse, I turned right at the bottom of the ramp, the hyper-caffeinated urine in my bladder pressing urgently for release.
There were no gas stations or fast food joints. Traffic was sporadic. I needed to find someplace more private. I turned right again at the first road that came along. It was narrow and had no shoulder. Trees and shrubs crowded the pavement. There was no place to pull over.
I pressed on the accelerator and Pearlie, seeming to understand my plight, lurched forward. Pearlie is my yellow VW Beetle. We’ve been through a lot together.
“I’ve gotta go, Pearl. Help me out here.”
We rounded a curve. Down the road, I saw four pairs of headlights. At first, it looked as though one car was passing another. Quickly, however, I realized the lights weren’t moving toward me at all. The four lights looked like two small cars parked side by side on a narrow bridge.
“What the hell, Pearl. Are they about to drag race right at me?”
I eased back on the accelerator.
Suddenly, the car lights darted forward, swerving in tandem into my lane.
I hit the brakes.