In this excerpt from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, Mitch takes a call from Mrs. Brandt, the House Mother of the orphanage he was hired out of.
A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE — excerpt
by Marian Allen
“How are you doing, Mitchy – I mean Mitch?” She chuckled. “How long has it been since I called you ‘Mitchy’?”
“Long time.” I’d started asking her not to call me that “baby” name when I entered kindergarten. By about fifth grade, she had pretty well stopped. I liked hearing it again, now.
“How are things going up there? Are they being nice to you? Did you have enough to eat?”
This was my chance to tell her I’d traded one institution for another. She’d send Billy after me in the morning; maybe call him up and have him come bring me back right away. Back to the Refuge. Back to Jimmy Gassman and the other kids who came and went. Back to waiting for my advancing age to throw me into the arms of the Viet Cong, with nobody to get the flag they shipped me home under. Mrs. Brandt would mourn me, but she’d always have a houseful of kids to manage, and I’d fade before too long. I wanted to cause some real pain when I died.
Like Albert? I asked myself.
Not that much pain, I answered.
“Mitch? Are you still there?”
“Still here, Mrs. Brandt. They’re real nice up here.” Some of them. “Had plenty to eat. Food’s great.”
Mrs. Brandt laughed. “Bound to be better than mine.”
“No, no. Good, but not better than yours.”
“So you think things are going to work out?”
If I can keep this crazy woman from turning me into some dead guy she used to know. Sounded pretty stupid, even to me.
“Yeah,” I said. “I think everything’s going to work out.” Before I could help it, I said, “Tell you the truth, I’m kind of homesick.”
She gave a sympathetic cluck. “Bless your sweet heart. We miss you, too.” After a brief pause, she said, “Billy will bring the rest of your things up tomorrow, then. Right?”
“If you change your mind before he gets there, you come on back with him.”
A series of crashes and shouts came through the telephone.
“Ohh! I have to go, Mitch. Good night. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
“G’night. Tell the kids –”
I guess some pasts are easier to cling to than others.I guess some pasts are easier to cling to than others.
A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE is available at Amazon in print or for Kindle and Kindle apps. You can also order it through your favorite bookstore. The ISBN is 1942166087.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What was your main character’s childhood nickname(s)?