What can YOU say in six sentences?
Charlene continued down the list of Shiner women to Stump’s younger sister, Obsessively Clean Margie.
When she was still a young bride, and Margie was on her way over to visit, Char would clean the house manically and exhaustively to make it “Margie-worthy.”…Continue
Hoot Shiner’s beloved, Temerity Stone, was a dedicated public health nurse. In the winter of 2009, she had been on an assignment in one of Alabama’s poorest communities, in coastal Baldwin County, where childhood…Continue
Charlene ran a finger down the list of Shiners, penciling a check here and a question mark there.
When she came to Stump’s oldest sister, Luanne, she sat back in her chair and calculated the relative damage done by inviting her versus not inviting.…
Mr. and Mrs. Roland Stone Invite You to the Wedding of Their Daughter
Miss Temerity Stone
Mr. Dale Earnhardt "Hoot" Shiner
on October 31,…Continue
The Shiner men invited to Hoot's wedding were worse than Tallyban warlords when it came to feuding and grudges, thought Charlene.
Lap Shiner and Stump, just for one example, had not spoken to each other since a gold-panning incident at See Rock City in 1988.
Lap had found (what he thought was) a mother lode gold deposit in a stream near the tourist attraction.
Stump had scoffed and told him that the owners seeded the stream bed with bits of gold to keep suckers like Lap…Continue
According to Charlene Shiner's neighbor, Mrs. Palaver, the countdown to the end of the world began when President Obama was elected.
Stump told Char, "If they hold an end-of-days yard sale, can we buy their riding mower?"
Char didn't think it was so funny when she went to Books-A-Million for a wedding planner and saw racks of shiny hardback books proclaiming the same thing, only with slightly different titles. The books had been written by well-fed men who worked on the…Continue
Christine had grown up in a farm family that placed no romantic filters over reality, a family that imparted an unblinking view of survival priorities.…Continue
A light breeze stirred the aspens, and from somewhere nearby came the call of an olive-sided flycatcher. Christine remembered teaching Zack and Lolly, then five and four, to recognize the quirky cheeping: quick three beers, quick THREE beers.…Continue
After greeting her mares with apples and kind words, Christine sifted through her house to be sure she’d taken everything valuable or private. A deserted mountain cabin in winter was a favorite destination of trappers and romantic teenagers, she well knew.
In her second desk…Continue
Christine needed to get back up the mountain one last time before the snows came, to load up the horses and bring them down to town. She’d arranged to board them over winter for, if she left them behind at the cabin, they’d go off who knows where in search of food and shelter.…Continue
Christine, down from the mountains, was adjusting to life in town again, and she knew what should and should not be done. She should join the book club. That way lay companionship and conversation, which were vital.
She should not go into bars alone.
The men looked at her and thought, there's a woman who's been up in the mountains without a man.
She must be hungry.
"Stupid men," Christine thought, "who don't know the difference between hungry and…Continue
Christine and her brood came down from the mountains in fall, exchanging their high plains meadow cabin for a flat in town with a view of a warehouse wall.
Has to be done, she told Roy at the hardware store, because ya can’t risk getting snowed in all the way up there, eh, even…Continue
Nobody really speaks French anymore in Louisiana, at least not the younger generation, but everybody fakes it. Me, I really do, but I keep that to myself and pull in the shrimp nets and eat my soup slow-like with a polite spoon.
So the other day, I hear this song on the jukebox down at Ma Jolie Blonde by some group called Beausoleil. That was some good song, with a fiddler sawing away and an accordian player squeezing away and all the shrimpers swaying on their barstools to the beat.…Continue
TWO IS SOMETHING
We walked to the Palace of Giving, arm in arm, you carrying the leash she never tolerated and I the collar.
Inside, we found the Hall of Portions, blue-tiled, high-ceilinged and resonant with all the pleadings made by others. As instructed, we knelt on the tiles, and each in turn offered a…
After much consideration, I have decided to use my vast inheritance to build a temple of desire.
Enough, I say, of austere churches with their tired messages about hellfire, sin, and suffering.
I hired a passionate architect to design my shrine, but only after she brought me to heights of pleasure.
The builder I likewise interviewed, finding hidden passages within my psyche as he pleasured me in brute and gentle ways.
For the exterior I will travel to all corners…Continue
The sculpture was finished in a quarry, a ton of granite polished to a glassy finish.
The buyer walked around it several times, stepping back or moving close to admire infinitesimal gleams of green within the black.
It had been his dream to see this figure writ large in a cold or stony medium. He had considered marble, bronze and lucite before deciding. Then he settled on…
Public Health Nurse Temerity Stone sat in her office, canting her left hand this way and that, enjoying the glint of her new engagement ring and thinking about her future.
She had no doubt whatsoever that she adored Hoot Shiner, but she knew that their whirlwind courtship had surprised (if not upset) some members of his circle.…
Bootsy Sykes didn’t take the news of Hoot’s impending marriage well, at all.
Alone in his house after Hoot left, Bootsy had a sinker worse than any since the 1993 SEC football championship went to the hated University of Florida Gators.…Continue
“I hear your brother-in-law is going to be married,” said The Grim Reaper, who was leaning back in the shampoo sink at Charlene Shiner’s beauty salon.
Char stopped rinsing the Clairol Dark Ash Brown dye from Grimmy’s sparse locks and felt a frisson of fear.…Continue
Charlene Shiner was considering one of life's perennial questions -- new sofa or slipcovers? -- when her cell phone brrrd.
"Hey guess what I'm gettin' married," shouted her brother-in-law Hoot.
Char was so stunned that she immediately dropped the phone into her sweet tea glass.
A few moments later she heard Stump's cell phone in the den play the chorus from…Continue