Tuesday, May 24, 2011
It wasn't the party I was hoping for
Submitted by Sherri Travis from Champagne for Buzzards, the fourth in this entertaining Florida series by Phyllis Smallman
Don’t listen to what people say. Here’s what you should know about me, Sherri Travis, and my attitude problem. Growing up in a single wide trailer on the edge of a swamp down in Florida gives you an attitude. You couldn’t survive that life without one. Let me explain.
Ruth Ann, my mom, kept us alive by working every hour God sent but she had one fatal flaw...she was a woman in love with love and she brought home the wrong kind of man. I swore I’d never be like her I pretty much blew that resolution when I married Jimmy Travis. A guy like Jimmy will quickly destroy your faith in romance and leave you thinking Cinderella is dead and the prince is gay.
So one night I am tending bar at the Sunset when a cop walks in and tells me my god-awful husband is dead...kind of a good news bad news situation, the downside being I’m the prime suspect. Having friends in low places can come in handy and in the Sunset a girl can find lots of those.
The thing about a bar, besides the guys that are always coming on to you, which leaves you thinking that moonlight and roses hide muggers and thorns, is you get to hear all sorts of things...who did what to whom, and how many times... who has the door open and is peaking out of the closet... and these days, so many times it could make you weep, who is about to lose everything. All good stuff to know. And in a bar you hear different versions of the same tale. To discover which story is true you just have to pour another drink. It’s hard to hide secrets behind a vale of alcohol and stories just naturally come unravelled in the Sunset.
I try not to get sucked into any of this but good intentions and I never have been the best of friends. Another thing I blame on Ruth Ann. Caring was another bad example she set for me. Like the time I got trapped on an island with a dead body, a murderer and with a hurricane about to hit. That was all her fault. And when her old boyfriend, the guy who abused me when I was a kid, comes back to town with another single mother and her young daughter, how do you look away from that situation?
So I pour the drinks and listen to the stories and try not to get involved but what’s a girl supposed to do? Things just sort of go wrong behind the bar at the Sunset.
With its seven-foot snakes and nasty horses, Florida ranch country can be as dangerous as the mean streets of any big city. I don't do country. I like it even less when I meet Clay Adams’ psychotic neighbors and find a dead man in the back of my pickup. With fairy lights dancing through the Spanish moss and violent men closing in, the surprise birthday party I was planning for Clay turns deadly. And while it isn't the party I hoped for, it's a good one just the same.
Like I said before, what's a girl supposed to do? Suggestions?
Good Morning America picked Phyllis Smallman’s Sherri Travis mystery series as one of the top 6 for a summer read in 2010. Visit Phyllis at www.phyllissmallman.com to see the other books in the series and watch an fun video interview.