Sunday, November 6, 2011

#SampleSunday: An Excerpt from Wild Life

Despite an essentially lifelong estrangement from Brian, Milo still expected that moving to Arizona would repair their relationship. Brian, however, seemed less than thrilled when Milo parked a U-Haul truck in his driveway. “How long are you staying?”

“Indefinitely,” Milo repeated. “It’s high time I got to know my grandchildren better, don’t you think?” He glanced toward the surprisingly pasty boy and girl and winked.

“Children, go to your rooms.” As if on cue, they rose and disappeared, leaving Milo alone with Brian and his sour-faced chestnut-haired wife who looked very much like dead Alice, in Milo’s opinion.

“What are my children’s names?” Brian queried.

“That’s just bad parenting, Brian. You ought to know your own children’s names.”

Brian closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I do know their names. The question is: do you?”

“Oh.” Milo swallowed uncomfortably. “I know what this is about.”

“Do you?” Brian cocked an eyebrow at his father. His wife scooted closer to him, laying a calming hand on his knee.

“Of course. I’ve never forgotten that day. I’m normally so good with faces…”

“You couldn’t recognize me in a crowd of children.”

“To be fair, Brian, you were all wearing the same uniform.”

“I’m your son!”

“And Minnesota does have a large population of towheaded children.”

“Name my children.”

“Alice Marie and Eric Thomas.”

“You see, darling? Your father knows their names. He just wants to be part of the family.”

“Why thank you, Millie.”

She frowned. “Marla.”

They let him stay on the pullout sofa. He wasn’t allowed to sleep past seven o’clock in the morning, because Marla had OCD and couldn’t leave the house without the living room tidied. Brian worked long hours as a DEA agent and Marla spent her days volunteering for the children’s school. Unable to sit and watch television for hours on end, Milo wandered the new city, boredom always at his heels. He visited the museums, the botanical garden, and the zoos. When the civic amenities were exhausted, he took to the antique stores. Before long, he developed a passion for film cameras. He identified with them on a subconscious level – they, too, were obsolete.

He emptied the contents of the U-Haul truck into a storage locker, wondering the whole time why he had bothered to bring the forty-year-old furniture and decorations with him. When he accidentally dropped a box full of knick-knacks and heard them crash to pieces, he looked around guiltily for dead Alice. She wasn’t there. He sighed with relief and dumped the whole box in the garbage without even opening it to see if anything was salvageable.

To buy Wild Life, Book One of the Brass Monkey series in e-book format:

To buy Wild Life or any of my novels in print, visit

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