Here’s a sneak peek at the first chapter of the 4th book in my Camelot West Virginia series, the Hateful Woman of Ragnelle Rock Road.
Turning fifty had inspired Melvin family matriarch Davida Melvin to get back into shape. After considering her options, she chose pole dancing, something she’d done for a living twenty-five years and 175 pounds ago. Surprisingly, her muscle memory remained, and her limbs were strong enough to support her high kicks and spinning choppers on the metal pole she’d installed in the living room of her ancient single-wide. Unfortunately, the floor joists of the mobile home were not.
She’d crashed through the floor during her 6 a.m. workout and was now lodged half in the trailer and half underneath it while the Camelot, West Virginia Volunteer Fire Department conferred with the Camelot Police Department on the best method of extrication. Her vitals were good. Her temperament was not.
“You mo-rons gonna git me out of this?” she demanded. “I’m cold.” She’d gone authentic for her workout session wearing just a thong and Lucite-heeled platform shoes.
John Wayne Orkney, there in his capacity as an EMT, turned to the new chief of police, Roy Pendragon, and said, “How about you get her out and I’ll just head back to Afghanistan and fight me some more Taliban?”
“Your country needs you here, soldier” Roy said.
Outside the trailer, Davida’s delinquent 19-year-old triplets were quacking like a bunch of baby ducks who’d lost sight of their mother.
“Don’t you hurt my Mama!” Orly cried.
“Mama! Let me see my Mama!” Kev bleated.
Dac was crying so hard, it was difficult to understand what he was saying. The oldest son, Rad, had gone off to find their father, Butch, at their uncle’s house, where he’d taken to spending most of the day since the triplets were stuck home all day on house arrest. John Wayne hoped they could free Davida before Butch came back and started causing trouble. He would not be happy to see Orkneys on his property. The Hatfields and McCoys had nothing on the Orkney/Melvin feud, which had been going strong for close to 200 years.
“I’m cold!” Davida repeated.
“Just a minute Ma’am,” Roy Pendragon said. His voice was calm and commanding. The chief was retired military and it showed. Not much seemed to throw him.
“You watch where you put your eyes, you pervert!” Davida said in a voice that could have sanded rust. “You, too John Wayne Orkney!”
He would have liked to put his eyes in his pocket and spare them. But with patient care being a priority and all, he was forced to keep them on her. “I promise you. I ain’t trying to sneak a peek at nothing.”
“Don’t you body shame me!” Davida snapped. “We’re body-positive people!”
It was hard to stay positive when gazing upon Davida. Not that he had anything against big gals. There were plenty of mighty fine women to be found in the plus-size department. Something about her just wasn’t right. Davida’s face was weirdly asymmetrical like a piece of modern art. The tanning bed that occupied a good chunk of the living room had turned her skin to a deep and leathery brown, resembling one of the shrunken heads he and his brothers made from apples when they were little. With just her top half sticking out of the floor, she looked kind of like a puppet. A very angry, naked puppet. Come to think of it, the triplets looked a bit like mulleted puppets as well. If there was a Muppet Show in hell, this would be it.
It was a great relief when John Wayne’s father, Camelot Volunteer Fire Department Chief Arvin Lee Orkney, Senior, stepped through the door with a rescue chain saw in hand. Rail thin with a waist-length beard, Daddy looked every bit the mountain man that he was.
“Ain’t this just like old times down at Floozy’s?” he said to Davida. “I’ll bet I stuffed a couple hundred dollar one-bills in your G-string back when you was on the stage at strip club.”
It took a lot to shock John Wayne, but he stared at his father with wide-eyed horror.
“I was a single man,” Arvin Lee said. “And them gals worked hard for the money, didn’t you Davida?”
“I was a top-earner,” she said. “And you weren’t one of them cheap bastards, I’ll give you that.”
He held the saw up and said gleefully “This’ll git you out of there in no time!” Daddy loved trying out new equipment.
“Are you cutting a hole in my floor? Don’t you ruin my floor!”
“Half-assing the job on the post and piers for your house is what ruint your floors. You ought to have put in a slab,” Arvin Lee said. “You got all them boys, put ‘em to work.”
“Don’t you tell me how to—” Whatever she was going to say was drowned out when Arvin Lee pulled the cord to start the motor for the VentMaster Husqvarna Pro 576HD.
Once the hole in the floor was enlarged, it was time to free Davida. Her blood pressure and respiration were stable. She could feel and move her extremities. The best course of action was just to lift her out. John Wayne was just shy of 6’2” and worked out every day of his life if he could help it. Roy was even taller, and though John hated to admit it, buffer. Daddy wasn’t no bigger than a minute, but he was deceptively strong. Lifting Davida’s weight wasn’t really the problem. She was, as they said about boxes, awkwardly shaped.