Here is a sneak preview of Scent of a $windle
Barely awake Sunday morning, September fifth, I stumbled down an unfamiliar hallway, moving toward glints of moonlight from a bank of kitchen windows. Why was my cell phone ringing at three a.m.? “Should have left it by the bed,” I grumbled to Solow. Images of emergencies, disasters and my elderly parents shot through sleep-deprived brain cells. I found my purse hooked on a chair and frantically fumbled through the clutter inside, tossing aside tissues, receipts, gum wrappers, a checkbook, a half-eaten power bar and some loose change.
Solow put his nose to the back door and barked.
“Not now, I have to answer…oh darn it; it’s going to be a message.” I put the cell phone down, let my basset out the back door and thought I found a light switch, but it turned out to be a garbage disposal that jarred the bananas out of me. As I stood by the door waiting for Solow to reappear, my hand found the real light switch.
“What in Sam Hill?” a voice screamed.
“Quiet, bird!” I snapped at the large cockatoo perched on a dowel stretching across his three-foot by three-foot by six-foot tall wire cage, wedged between a loaded china cabinet on the left and a fearful portrait of Tom Trippy’s grandmother on the right. Solow and I were in the Trippys’ home at three in the morning because I had agreed to babysit their house and a newly-acquired cockatoo named Boris, better known as Bad Boy.
“Sorry, Boris, calm down, and don’t screech at me!” Clutching the phone in one hand, I pushed the light switch down. Instantly, quiet darkness returned. I let Solow back into the kitchen and felt my way along the hall to my assigned room, a three-hundred-square-foot guest bedroom featuring rosewood furniture with fancy silk, lace and ruffled accessories. Fancy had no place in my “normal” life as a country girl artist.
White carpet prevailed in the four-thousand-square-foot, single-story house on top of a knoll in Prunedale, California. Tom and Lois Trippy had planned a thirty-day trip to Europe long before they’d unexpectedly inherited Boris from their neighbor at the bottom of the hill. Their neighbor, ninety-seven-year-old Henry Hobblestone had died from an accidental gunshot wound, the local newspaper reported. “The elderly man was obviously cleaning his rifle when it accidentally went off.”
Henry had promised to give Lois his bird when he died. Or maybe he made Lois promise to take the bird if he died. Either way, Lois was tied to the care of an eighteen-year-old snowy white cockatoo with peach-colored cheeks and under-wings. After forty years of a childless marriage with no pets and plenty of white carpet, the Trippy life style would certainly change now that Boris had arrived.