The trouble with a secret - it must be told and someone listened...
Do the math and the culprits to greed and the parties to humor equal one laugh-out-loud misadventure!
Barnes & Noble.com
2005 USABooksNews Best Book Award *Humor* Finalist
Something is wrong in Pelican Point.
No, it's not the seven Bobs on Madison Lawhon's dating roster or the psychic donut maker communing with her mailbox. It's not her eccentric neighbor, dodging her mother's wayward prayers for her love life or even Denny's Cajun chicken wings. It's the frogs. Ribbit-ribbit, croak.
Madison was whisked through a back door and escorted to the television studio along with the woman from Minnesota and the shriveled man from Louisiana with cemetery tales. The corral of behind-the-scene employees skirted her from corner to corner. A fluff of hair, a dab of lip-gloss, a pre-show potty break, and Madison found herself cast opposite the host.
"Good morning, Madison." Jessica scanned her notes. A makeup artist dotted Madison's nose with a dry sponge and Jessica looked up and asked, "Nervous?"
Madison's stomach fluttered and she gulped back the acids.
"Just be yourself, have fun and follow my lead." The morning host wore black lambskin jeans, a deep-scooped sweater and the faint scent of expensive perfume unknown to Madison's pulse points. The diamond ring on her middle finger was as large as the antacid Madison had popped backstage.
"And we're back in…" The director lifted his hand and ticked off the seconds with his index finger. The applause light beamed. Loud claps repeated until the light flickered off. Silence. The wall clock read 8:38am. With no escape, the nine-minute time segment hit the air.
The studio lights blinded. A kaleidoscope of colors danced in Madison's eyes and obscured the panoramic view of the audience yet the restlessness in her stomach told her they were out there. What are these people doing up at this hour?
“We have a real treat in store for you this morning." Jessica radiated warmth and enthusiastically welcomed the sold out crowd. “Today's guest is Madison Leigh Lawhon, the author of this month’s Book Club selection No More Bobs.”
Madison kept her head high, her shoulders back, and greeted the mounting approval of applause; a quiver tickled her insides. Rehearsed responses jumbled in her mind and her mouth dried as a dust-bowl prairie. Relax. Focus.
"For those who haven't read Lawhon's book No More Bobs," Jessica turned the book cover to the side camera and paused for a five-second zoom, "you're going to fall in love with the Lawhon family."
Madison knotted her fingers together and resisted the temptation to brush a fallen strand of hair resting across her nose. Instead, she tried to blow it away with an upward puff.
"Pelican Point, California. Home to the Ogden Nash Bar and Grill, the Webbed Foot and Denny's Chicken Palace." Jessica played with the fans talking at a speed designed to fall into commercial time slots. "I just love those names, don't you?"
Madison did a quick frump check. Legs snug together and crossed at the ankles, knees slight angle to the right. Good. She embraced the softness of the slight skirt, the lining of silk against her bare cheeks and sensed the thong string.
"Everyone, if you think you have problems wait until you meet Madison; a single mom with kids," the morning host flagged three fingers, "a backyard equal to Noah's Ark and then there's the Bob." Jessica lifted her finely penciled brows and her expression drew the question. The audience bit. "Or should we say the Bobs?"
"My Father who art in heaven…" breathe, breathe. The phrase reeled in Madison's mind; a few words slipped near the microphone and she darted her eyes towards the audience to see if anyone noticed. Only attentive grins under the umbrella of lights.
"So tell me, Madison, when did you discover you were a Bob-magnet?" Jessica leaned towards Madison; her calm fingers lit on the guest's forearm like the wisp of a hummingbird wing. The eager audience fell silent.
"Well…" the strangled sound of words choked and Madison stammered. Jessica sent a supportive smile and a whisper of a wink.
"How many of you have read the book?" Jessica surveyed the crowd and a multitude of hands saluted. "Any of you have a Bob?" Titters escalated into deep laugher.
The tension eased, the director quieted the audience, and once more Jessica turned for an answer.
"Jessica, it started the year I dated seven Bobs." Madison found her voice.
Jessica fanned her face to ward off a flush. "Seven?"
"Seven Bobs," Madison paused for Jessica's blush to fade and added, "and counting."