Lee Carey lives with his sweet wife/editor, Kay, in a small coastal town known as Sandbridge Beach in Virginia Beach. His writing career began in '99. Lee has penned eleven novels in various genres: 3 Mystery/Crime and 4 Pet Novels. 3 in 1950's Historical fiction (The McComas Trilogy) . And 1 family saga, and 2 compilations of Short Stories. Lee enjoys surfing, writing, skydiving, golf, and hanging out on the beach with his wife, their rescue pooch Angel, and their friends. His attitude is: "Paddle hard for every wave...it might be your best ride." His sign off slogan: 'Keep smilin'..." Thank you for sharing your time to read and review my works on Amazon.. Have a great day!"
PS. Photo is from two miles above Key West.
COMING OUT IN JUNE 2019!!
A Georgia family saga...Cave Spring to be more accurate. In other words, it's a lot country. Not that it's a bad thing, on the contrary, it's as good of a setting as Bobby Ray Raford is a good man. And that's darn good.
Since I've not written the synopsis yet, I'll give you a few exercepts to hopefully 'wet your whistle'. See what you think...it's my first family saga...
~ April 15, 2015 ~
Little Willie’s Bar-B-Que Pit on the outskirts of Rome, Georgia, contained several patrons. Their large lunchtime crowd had departed earlier, after loading up on pulled pork sandwiches, Bar-B-Que wings, melt-in-your-mouth hushpuppies, and other scrumptious eats washed down with free refills of sweet tea.
The awesome aroma inside the very popular family-owned restaurant sorely tempted my taste buds, even though I’d wolfed down two fully-loaded cheeseburgers before clocking out from my main job at the Cave Spring Retirement Home. I’d been a cook and all-around kitchen gofer for their chef for just over a year, after financial circumstances forced Gramma to sell her house, where we lived, to move into the retirement home. Those same circumstances also forced me to drop out of The Elite Chef School in big ol’ Atlanta.
My sole purpose for being at Little Willie’s this afternoon was to check the status of my employment application I’d filled out a week ago. With only working thirty hours a week at the retirement home, my monies teetered between very low and none. That sad financial status also takes into consideration the few bucks in royalties I receive each month from selling my only self-published mystery/crime novel on Amazon, which would not even supply enough baloney and bread to feed me for a week. I now understand the phrase starving artist is true to the letter. But I remain positive as I continue to work on my second novel in my spare time.
A small, middle-aged lady with a fist-sized bun of grey hair atop her tiny head entered through the kitchen’s swinging door. She spotted me at the counter and approached. “May I help you?”
“Yes, ma’am. My name’s Bobby Ray Raford. I’m here to check the status of my recent application for a part-time cook.”
She snatched a Bic pen from said hair bun and raked over an order pad. “And your name’s Bobby Ray?”
“Yes, but my last name is Raford.”
I watched her scribble Redford on the pad.
“Ma’am, that’s Raford, spelled R-a-f-o-r-d.”
She looked up at me with red-rimmed eyes. “That’s what I have here.” She tapped a boney finger on Redford.
“No, ma’am. You have Redford. My name’s Raford. Just change the E to an A and drop the D, the first D, not the last one.” I watched her make the changes, not missing her deep sigh of fatigue. “That’s correct, ma’am.”
She ripped the page from the pad. “I’ll go check with the owner.” She turned and, in slow motion, headed back into the kitchen.
The small bell above the front door dinged. I turned to see a county deputy enter, remove his hat, and take a seat in the window booth. I reached over, tapped the toothpick dispenser, and jammed the peppermint-flavored splinter into the corner of my mouth. Man, I hope she returns and says I have the job. I’ll be so happy, I’d try to dance. I chuckled under my breath at my silly-ass thought.
My having to drop out of chef school tossed the proverbial monkey wrench into the gears of my career. I think that’s a cliché, but maybe not. However, sounds like one. Maybe that’s how clichés come to…
Suddenly the little lady returned from the kitchen to the counter. In a weak voice she said, “Mr. Redford, I’m sorry.” At that particular moment, she looked sadder than I felt.
“I guess that’s a no-go on the job.”
“Not really, I mean you might be hired one day, but I’m told there’s a freeze on new hires for now. The owner said your qualifications looked real good, so we’ll keep your application on file and call you when we’re ready to hire.”
The poor soul’s eyes looked confused as those words rolled from her tongue. Maybe she didn’t like having to lie.
“Let me get this straight. When I filled out the application a week ago, there was a Cook Wanted sign in the window, now it’s gone. So either someone was hired or the sign was put out by mistake.”
She shook her head and I expected to see tears trickle down her cheeks. Then she shrugged her thin shoulders and I figured they’d stick in the up position. She leaned forward, placing her boney elbows on the counter, and whispered, “Our cook is the owner’s brother-in-law. One day he quit. The boss was mad and put out the sign, then a couple days later the cook came back. That’s what happened. I’m so sorry.”
This type of situation or even this crazy explanation was nothing new to this Georgia boy. No, sir-e-e, been there done that. “That’s fine, ma’am. It’s not your fault. Thank you for your help. Have a good day.”
She looked at the cheap Timex on her wrist. “In thirty minutes I will.”
I smiled and turned, shoving my hands into empty jean pockets, and strolled from Little Willie’s Bar-B-Que Pit. Well, wha’cha gonna do now, Mr. Smarty?
There was one positive ingredient in my day – the Georgia sun was out in all its radiance. A sigh of relief escaped me when my ‘way-over-the-hill’ ‘79 Ford pickup coughed several times, then started. I struggled to crank down the driver’s window to release the overwhelming musty stench from the too-many-times wet seat, then gazed at the long, lop-sided plank redwood building. White smoke spiraled straight up above the tall pines bordering the huge pit out back. My appreciation for this peaceful picture of American entrepreneurship, which Andy Warhol would’ve gladly paid to paint, was suddenly shattered when a ragged Chevy Citation filled with four school-skipping teenagers slid into the gravel parking lot, a plume of dust rolling up on them like a dirt wave as they squeaked to a stop. Filthy-lyric rap music, pitiful attempts to sing-a-long, and what will soon be legal smoke poured from open windows. I wondered if the marked deputy’s car would register with them. Poor saps. If they knew what I know about life in the real world, their asses would be glued to their school desks, absorbing every word uttered by the brave, dedicated teachers.
While the ‘got-the-world-by-the-balls’ two couples piled from the rusted shoebox on wheels, I snatched the gearshift down and limped from the lot. The way this day’s unfolded, I deserve a happy hour session at Bullfrog Pub & Grill.
“What’ll it be, young feller?” he growled.
“Is it happy hour yet?”
A look of disgust materialized across the barkeep’s wrinkled face. He turned away from me, stared at the neon-framed Pabst Blue Ribbon wall clock, then turned back. “Da big hand’s on da three…da little one’s on da five.” He nodded.
“I’ll have a Budweiser in the bottle, please.”
“Wings are half price. Want a dozen?”
Thirty seconds later, a Budweiser appeared on a square napkin before me. I wrapped my fingers around the icy bottle, savoring the chill. I took a deep breath, picked it up, and put the opening to my lips. After a long swill, I placed it down and closed my tired eyes. Now that hit the spot.
The might-be-a-lumberjack pulled me from my peaceful place and scared the poop out of me. “Damn good, ain’t it?”
I turned toward him to find his whiskered mug only inches from mine. I jerked back toward the blonde. “Hits the spot.”
“You from ‘round here?”
I nodded, keeping my eyes on the beer bottle. “Yep.”
“Me, too.” The man tilted his Bud Light up and drained it, then followed with a burp that sounded as if it came from the soles of his feet. He swiped a big hand that could pass for a catcher’s mitt across cracked lips. “I hope…before I croak…” He paused for another Class A burp. “The last liquid down my throat’s a Bud Light. I’ll go out happy.” I looked straight ahead at the TV and took another sip. Wish he’d find someone else to share his poetry with.
The talking head on the TV reported, with a gleam of glee in his eyes, about an Amtrak train derailing outside of Washington, D.C. “The exact number of fatalities is unknown at this point, but our own Amy Stoddard’s on the scene. We’ll take you there after this commercial break.”
I took another pull on my Bud as a distinguished-looking man wearing a fancy three-piece suit popped up on the screen. “My name’s Andrew Middleton. I’m the founder and CEO of Family Closet. Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were? Where they immigrated from? Who they married? What they did for a living?” He paused. “If so, I invite you to join hundreds of thousands of others who are learning documented, interesting information about their family heritage. Yes, we open all of your family’s closets.” Middleton’s image was replaced by an average-looking middle-aged man sporting a look of wonderment in his eyes. A series of very old black and white photos and sketches of individuals, couples, and families scrolled above his head.
Middleton’s voice cut into the scene. “In no time at all, you can be like this man who, in only two years, has learned everything about his ancestors who originated from Ireland.” The happy man vanished and Middleton reappeared. “For a low monthly price you will have a professional researcher work with the tenacity of Sherlock Holmes to locate every member in your family closet, no matter how deep or wide or how many cubby holes and secret doors it may have. So, call the number on the screen to get started today and discover your real ancestors.”
Catchy background music played while more vintage photos scrolled past. Then, a box flashed below with the 1-800 phone number and two-word message. Researchers Wanted.
Once my brain registered the enticing words on the screen, I took a quick swig of the refreshing brew. In a flash, my ballpoint pen was in my left hand and I was writing the number on the damp napkin, whispering 1-800-CLOSETS to remember it. By the time it was poorly scribbled on the napkin, the talking head from the local news program returned, babbling about something else, glee still twinkling from his shifty eyes.
I had been so enthralled with the commercial that I hadn’t noticed the vacant stool next to Mr. Burp was now occupied with an exact look-alike. I felt relieved to know that between them, the world’s wrongs would be righted before sunset. Thank God for small miracles.
Suddenly I felt better about my dire situation, which was probably silly since it was based on a miniature slice of pie-in-the-sky hope. All I had was a damp cocktail napkin with a phone number and a verbal synopsis from a professional slicker who could sell truckloads of junk to a king. I carefully folded the napkin and slipped it into my shirt pocket. I’ll check this opportunity out as soon as I get back to my trailer. Imagine, I can work from home, doing something interesting in my spare time. If it doesn’t pan out, I’ve not lost a damn thing.
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