Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Tune-Ups and Gossip (A Mechanic's LIfe)
from the Material Witness Mystery Series
by Diane Vallere
You know what really burns me up? Gossip. People in this town are so busy putting their nose in other people's business that it's a wonder anybody gets anything done. I moved here a bunch of years ago for personal reasons. Opened up my auto shop and built my own business. Sure, my fingernails are permanently stained with auto grease, and, yeah, I like to listen to Van Halen while I'm working on cars, but that doesn't mean I'm harbouring some deep, dark secrets. At least none that I've let anybody in San Ladron know about. I pay my bills on time, keep my prices low, and pay cash for whatever I need. There's no reason to pay me any attention unless you need an oil change or a tune-up.
But now I've got a problem. Someone from my past--the past that nobody knows about--contacted me from out the blue and asked for a favor. Not a "can you order some parts for me at cost" kind of favor, but a "I know your real identity and I want you to help me" kind of favor. Which feels a heck of a lot more like emotional blackmail than a request for help, but maybe that's how the world works these days.
In case you haven't figured it out, I'm kind of a loner. The other women in this town spend way too much time getting their hair done to make me think we have anything in common, so it's worked for me to stick to myself. But then Polyester Monroe moved here last year, and she was different. She's a straight shooter who learned firsthand what it's like to be under the town's scrutiny, and she held up just fine. Her life is an open book. It's nice to have someone else around who's not afraid to tell people what's on her mind (including the cops, which gotta tell ya, is pretty fun to watch!). Besides, her VW Bug is in a constant state of disrepair, which helps pay my bills.
But here's the thing: even though Poly and I are friends and she knows part of the secret about my past, she doesn't know the whole story. And if I agree to do "a favor for a friend," then I'm opening myself up to being at the center of all kinds of gossip and maybe even learning some things about my past that I don't want to know.
There's the right thing to do and the Charlie thing to do. So far, my life's been all about the Charlie way and that's worked out just fine. But maybe it's time to put it all out there and see what happens?
Watch for SILK STALKINGS, #3 in the Material Witness Mystery Series, August 2!