|Fall on the Butternut Creek|
My new book, entitled Dumpster Dying, is due out in late October, early November from Oak Tree Press. I thought you might like to read a bit of it to get a taste of life for my "winter visitor" protagonist in rural Florida.
Emily Rhodes, the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club, blew damp tendrils of sun-bleached hair out of her face as she kicked and dragged three plastic trash bags across the sun-baked asphalt lot behind the clubhouse. A full moon illuminated the area’s lone palm tree under which sat a metal beast waiting for its nightly feeding.
“Here you go, big boy,” she said. She let go of the bags and, with one hand, lifted the dumpster’s lid on the side closest to her. The usual stench of rotting garbage assaulted her nostrils. She ignored the smell and tried to heave the bag into the container, but it tumbled back out. Too full. She shoved back the lid on the other side, and mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t have to hop in there and stomp around on that stuff to make room as she did the other night.
By the glow of the security light she spotted a white object lying at the far end of the dumpster, a cowboy hat, a very special cowboy hat, a Silver Belly, expensive and worn by very few men. She’d encountered just such a man earlier in the evening. The circumstances of their meeting were not pleasant.
What the hell was that doing here, she wondered. Emily leaned in as far as she could. Her feet left the ground, and she teetered on the rim of the dumpster. She struggled to reach the hat, tugged at it, and almost went head first into the bin, head first onto the man’s face hidden beneath the hat.
Ugh! She fell back and dropped the metal lid, the clang reverberating off the side of the building in the still night. She covered her mouth with her hand, and leaned against the dumpster. That can’t be. I didn’t see that, did I?
She turned, opened the lid once more, gingerly pushed a garbage bag to one side, and peered in for another look. She remembered him from earlier in the evening when he had grabbed her blouse and tried to pull her across the bar. He had worn a brilliant white cowboy shirt with roses appliquéd on the front yoke. Now the shirt front was as dark as the blood-red flowers.
She gulped hard to hold back the bile working its way up from her stomach and looked around the lot. It was empty. Help. She needed help.
She ran for the door of the clubhouse. The knob wouldn’t turn.