A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) A romantic women’s fiction novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent
Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) a cozy mystery by Annie Acorn
Okay, I admit it, I’ve been a little obsessed with bugs this summer [A Tired Older Woman Goes Bug-Eyed], but if you had lived in the Deep South as long as I did you would be, too, given the record breaking summer we’ve been having here in the D.C. area. Been there, done that as has often been said.
I wasn’t always this way. I don’t remember bugs being a large factor in my life during my early days in Indiana, Ohio, or East Tennessee. It wasn’t until I discovered the pleasures of living south of the Gnat Line that my fears began to set in.
Gone were the days of leaving a comb of honey sitting exposed in a bowl on a counter. My flour and sugar now both demanded that they have canisters. Even opened boxes of cookies or crackers had to be sealed away, and I quickly became the Rubbermaid Queen.
It was when my friend Marjorie called me in tears, though, that I had to face facts. It was us against the bugs, and according to Marjorie, they were winning.
In between sobs, this paradigm of good housekeeping, whose home in Atlanta wasn’t even cluttered, let alone dirty, spilled her guts out to me, having just returned with her son from the hospital’s emergency room.
Having gone to bed quietly, Junior had awakened screaming. Nothing and no one could console him. The ER doctor had removed a live roach from the child’s ear. The stage had been set. Armageddon was near.
A few weeks later, my husband’s new promotion required that our family move to Gulfport, Mississippi. Here a lovely townhouse awaited the then three of us.
One evening I stayed up late reading in the nicely proportioned living room with its beautiful fireplace, the sliding door to the left of me open so as to allow for a gentle breeze to come through the screen. The year was 1976, and I was feeling quite elegant in a green, elephant-legged jumpsuit with a large white sailor’s collar attached. (Trust me, you had to be there. It was one of my favorite outfits of all time)
Neither of our next door neighbors was at home, thank goodness. One of them was at a conference in New York, and the other was on vacation. There’s no telling what they would have thought of us newcomers, if they had been there to witness upcoming events.
So there I was, minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something drop the length of the screen door that was situated to the left of my comfortable winged-back chair. For a moment, my mind registered a pine bark chip resting on the floor by my foot, but then the chip moved. More to the point, it moved quickly, slipping easily beneath the hem of my elephant-legged jumpsuit and proceeding to run up my bare leg underneath.
For the first time in my life, I experienced what the words “a blood curdling scream” really mean, and the horrible ruckus was coming from me. My husband, who had just had the cast removed from a broken left foot, leaped from our bed, touched the floor briefly at the top of the stairs, and didn’t land again before he had reached the front foyer. Son #1, who was then five, could be heard crying out for both of us from his bed, where only a moment before he, too, had been sleeping.
The wood roach, as I learned later our intruder was properly named, chose this moment to vacate my lower regions in preference for the freedom of wide open spaces and headed straight for my barefooted husband, who had the presence of mind to send a sharp kick towards the creature.
Surprised by such a response, the three-inch long, pine bark look-a-like played dead for a few seconds, giving my knight in shining armor sufficient time to retrieve a just purchased aerosol can of bug spray that was guaranteed to clear a screened porch-sized area of all flying insects. Since a set of large shiny wings was in evidence, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Always an over-achiever, my husband then proceeded to completely bury our intruder in a mound of white foam. For a moment, nothing happened, but then a small depression appeared, followed shortly by our visitor himself – still on the move.
Now the dining room in this townhouse was separated from the front hallway by a floor to ceiling openwork bookcase that I had taken real pains over the past couple of days to arrange with a number of our favorite books and much-loved decorative objects. It was to this display that our nemesis headed, showing no signs whatsoever of feeling even a bit ill, let alone dead.
Sterner measures were now called for. Undaunted, my clever husband grabbed a short length of 2 X 4 that we had temporarily been wedging along the base of the sliding door, when we closed the house up for the night. I dashed to the other side of the room and sought refuge on the back of the couch, having decided that this type of situation obviously fell within the parameters of “men’s work.”
Swak! The board hit the carpeted floor, barely missing our “guest,” but causing Son # 1 to stop crying. Swak! My husband muttered something along the lines that the Falcon’s should consider this fellow the next time they were in need of a running back.
Sensing another blow coming his way, the roach headed straight for the bookcase.
I was now screaming again. “Don’t hit the books! Don’t break Grandma’s vase! Don’t squash the dried flower arrangement!” These are the types of things that gain a primary importance during a major insect invasion, although in some ways I was relieved, believing as I did that we now had the culprit in checkmate.
But we didn’t.
We had underestimated our enemy’s strength. With but a second to spare, the six-legged monster shoved a large copy of Webster’s dictionary out of his way, clear through the shelf, and headed back to the sliding door, where he ran along the channel and squeezed to freedom between the screen and the glass.
“Well…” My Sir Galahad calmly closed and locked the sliding door, remembering to wedge his former weapon into the channel as added protection. “I guess that takes care of things.”
And with that and a quick kiss on my cheek, he was back off to bed, pausing on his way to get a drink for Son #1 as always a good father.
Still not sure who had done it, I settled down with my mystery on the couch, which sat directly across from the fireplace, my legs curled up beneath me just in case. A few minutes later, just as I reached those two words “The End,” I heard a loud ping, followed by a scratching sound in the fireplace.
You guessed it. One of our previous visitor’s cousins had come looking for him.
Determined to thwart further invasions, I raised the book I had now finished as high as I could and let it fly at this newest spoiler of my home’s peace, only to be surprised when I realized that I had managed a direct hit.
One potato, two potato, I began counting, seeing no sign of life before I hit the magic number – one hundred. The book having silently remained quite still where it was, I calmly rose, turned out the lights, and joined my husband in bed.
Just as I drifted off to sleep, though, I did wonder. What would the local librarian think when I returned the mystery I had just finished to her with an additional body stuck to the cover?
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Annie Acorn’s 2012 Christmas Treasury (Annie Acorn’s Christmas Anthologies)edited by and stories by Annie Acorn
The Young Executive (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
Also available for NOOK!
When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!