I love the internet. I never know from day to day what will happen, who I will meet, who will become part of my future. I’ve made many new friends, some I have no doubt who will be in my life for years to come, and I also made a new cousin.
Another Bertram contacted me on Facebook and wanted to know if we were related. Since I have very few Bertram relatives that I know of, I told him regrettably that we probably weren’t related, though we could be. He lives in Hamburg, and my great-grandfather came from Appen, which is nearby. Since Dirk (I hope he doesn’t mind my mentioning his name) also has few Bertram relatives that he knows of, we decided to become each other’s cousin. And who knows, we could be related. We’re both creative — I write novels, he’s a musician who produces book trailers. He says he’ll make the book trailer for my soon-to-be released novel, Daughter Am I. How cool is that!
He wanted an excerpt which shows the spirit of the book, and I finally sent him this one, though I don’t really know how he can make a trailer from it since nothing really happens, but it does show the spirit of the book, or at least the spirit of the characters.
The old man stopped bouncing and let his arms drop to his sides. Now that he was standing relatively still, Mary could see that he was even skinnier than she had first thought. A gray slouch hat was tilted toward one eye, but the jaunty effect was marred by the baggy pants cinched high above his waist and the bright flowery shirt that was several sizes too large. His hands were shaking uncontrollably. Parkinson’s disease?
“You must be Happy,” she said.
Frowning, Happy patted his torso. “Must I be happy?” His voice deepened to what Mary assumed was his normal tone. “Can I be happy? Can anyone truly be happy?”
“His name is Barry Hapworth,” Kid Rags said, flicking a bit of lint off his navy pinstriped suit jacket. “For several obvious reasons, everyone calls him Happy.”
Mary glanced from the bus to Happy. “Were you driving this thing?”
Happy puffed out his meager chest. “Sure was.”
“And did you almost run over Mrs. Werner’s cat?”
“I’ll take the fifth.” Happy paused for a fraction of a second. “A fifth of bourbon.”
“Did someone say bourbon?” Kid Rags removed his flask from his hip pocket, took a swig, and passed it around.
“Who are all these people?” Bill asked from behind Mary.
Mary turned, wondering how she was going to explain the situation, but Teach saved her the trouble and made the introductions. Arms still folded across his chest, Crunchy nodded to Bill, then stepped close to Mary. Happy punched the air, but stopped when Bill showed no inclination to fight.
Kid Rags shook Bill’s hand. “You’re a lucky man.”
“What are you all doing here?” Mary asked. “I was supposed to pick you up. And why is Happy here?”
“Happy is a friend of Kid Rags,” Teach began, but Kid Rags interrupted him, saying hastily, “Not a friend. Just a fellow I know.”
“Anyway,” Teach continued, “Happy knows someone who knows Iron Sam, and since we knew your car wasn’t big enough for all of us, we took Happy up on his offer to drive us in his bus.”
“Who’s Iron Sam?” Bill asked, sounding plaintive.
“Butcher Boy,” Kid Rags said.
Bill’s eyebrows drew together. “Butcher Boy? Mary, are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Mary laughed, suddenly feeling lighthearted and carefree. “I haven’t a clue.”
Daughter Am I will be released in October by Second Wind Publishing.