Down in the Creek was written during NaNoWriMo of 2009. It made it to be one of the finalists in the Delacorte Random House Publishing Contest and it is currently sitting at the top of a stack in a publishing company, but they are not taking any new projects right now. That was what I was told in May of 2011 and I still don't know anything, but that's okay.
I wanted to give you another little teaser from the book for today's post. This is a fun little scene with two of my favorite minor characters, Tom and Maggie Myrtle. As a little background, Olivia's parents died in a car accident a few months before this. She is spending a fun evening with her best friends, Carter and Tabitha.
We finished bowling and decided to go out for ice cream at the little mom and pop restaurant across the street. They made these delicious clown cones with a scoop of ice cream and the cone on upside down like the hat. It was a child’s dessert, but we all loved it. The restaurant resembled a dinner from the 1950’s, complete with neon sign and bad music. Mr. and Mrs. Myrtle owned the place. They were both in their eighty’s and probably opened the place back in the fifty’s. We sat up at the bar on the tall stools.
“Would you kids like to hear a ghost story?” Tom asked, wiping down the counter since we were the only people in the restaurant at the moment. His white hair stuck out from the edges of his chef hat and the wrinkles around his mouth created deep smile lines.
“Sure,” Tabitha answered. “But is this another story about Michael Jackson coming over to your house to use the bathroom?”
Maggie Myrtle laughed from the backroom and came out wiping her hands on her apron. Her gray hair was tucked up in a messy bun and she smiled big at us. “Is he still telling you that story? You can’t believe a word that that man tells you. I think his memory is going. Last week he told me that we got married by Elvis in Las Vegas.”
Her husband laughed and kissed her on the cheek. “That story isn’t as good as the time that I spoke to Woodrow Wilson at a parade when his car broke down.”
“I personally enjoy the story about you peeing off the Statue of Liberty,” Maggie chuckled, tossing a towel at her husband.
“No,” Carter piped up. “My favorite story is the one about him chasing Indians through the jungle and then almost getting eaten by Big Foot and then Michael Jackson came over to his house to use the bathroom.”
“Or was it the time that he ate his weight in pizza?” I asked, laughing.
“He tells you all those stories?” Mrs. Myrtle chuckled.
“Ah, never mind my woman. Just let me tell my ghost story. I’m sure that these kids will love it. The grandkids couldn’t sleep after they heard this story,” Tom protested.
“I believe that the grandkids didn’t have to worry about sleep since they fell asleep during the story.”
She laughed at her own joke and walked back into the dish room where I could faintly hear her singing something.
Also, if you've ever participated in NaNoWriMo, you might have heard of the traveling shovel of death...
I laughed and allowed her to guide me out into the main part of the restaurant again. It appeared that Mr. Myrtle was just finishing his story. He was holding a shovel in his hands that had dirt on the handle and the blade. It was dusty and hadn’t been used properly in a long time. There was a crack near the bottom and at the top were the initials, T.D., engraved the handle beginning.
“That was the last time that anyone saw Timothy Dean. He was holding this shovel when the undertaker pulled his body away from the dead body of Mr. Rein’s. No one knew why he killed the pharmacist. Some think that he was given the wrong drug and it put him into a psychotic frenzy. Others think that the shovel was the reason for the murder. They believed that the shovel was evil and linked to several deaths across the county and across the country. The villagers called it the traveling shovel of death and feared it. When they buried the bodies of Timothy and Mr. Rein’s, they put the shovel inside the coffin with Dean. Two weeks later they found it on top of the grave, and the soil beneath wasn’t disturbed. The shovel had somehow escaped.”
“Why do you have the traveling shovel of death?” Cara asked, leaning forward on her elbows to hear the answer.
“My great-great-grandfather was the undertaker that found the shovel and he hid it from everyone, hoping to keep the story quiet. But somehow he ended up dead by a blunt force object six weeks later. The shovel gained a crack in the side and the dirt was permanently caked onto the blade. Some say that it is the blood of my great-great grandfather holding it in place.”
Maggie burst out laughing, causing my three friends to jump slightly. I walked over to them with a grin on my face and pretended to show Tabitha what her face had looked like.
“Are you still telling that made up story?” Maggie demanded, putting her hands on her hips. “Your great-great-grandfather frequently dressed up in women’s clothing and ran around the town with curlers in his hair. I believe he also had a nickname…. What was it? Oh, I remember. His nickname was Fancy Pants Carl. And that shovel belonged to Timothy Dean, who worked at the butcher shop until last year. He moved out and you forgot to return it. Stop trying to scare the poor dears,” Maggie chuckled.
Hope you liked the humor! These two characters probably would be cut by a publisher, but I really enjoy them. :)