JOHNNY and ANNETTE

hood up

He is a Georgia boy parachuted into Yankee land. One of Sam Deland’s troopers working a horrible double murder in upstate Pennsylvania. She is the feisty woman making Johnny’s life complicated. Color and texture to bring the story off the pages.

From the Sam Deland Crime Novel, SINK RATE, due to be released next month:

Johnny was pissed by the time he got home. The oil light kept coming on in his “wife’s” station wagon. He only drove it when his pick-up truck was in the shop. He drove the Harley in clear weather. His pick-up needed a muffler for inspection and he hadn’t had time to do it himself so it was either the station wagon or walk. Annette caught a ride with another woman to the truck assembly plant for work and would be home any minute now. He wondered how long she had let this go on.

For a woman who spent eight hours on a truck assembly line, she knew nothing about how to take care of a car. She didn’t do much better with the house either. Johnny pulled the wagon into the small garage and popped the hood. He ran inside to change while the engine cooled. The breakfast dishes were still on the table and the bedroom looked like a tornado hit it.

Annette was from southern California. Her mother named her after the girl with the mouse ears on TV. She had singing, dancing, and acting lessons and ended up working in a truck plant in Pennsylvania, married to a trooper, divorced him and then three years later, married him again. Ain’t life funny? Johnny added his mess to the room and was coming into the garage to look at the car when Annie got dropped off out front. She was blonde these days, but that could change, five feet tall and built for speed.

She stumbled into the garage lighting her cigarette and looked surprised to see Johnny and the car with the hood open. “What’s wrong with the car?” she asked.

“Nothing a new payment book couldn’t cure. How you doin’, sweetie?” he stepped to her and hugged her tight. She planted a big kiss on his lips and turned her head to blow the smoke she had been holding in. “Old wagon’s gettin’ tired. Oil light’s popping on.”

“Oh, yeah. I’ve been noticing that. Does that mean it does or doesn’t have oil?” she asked honestly.

Johnny groaned and said, “Oh, baby. It’s a good thing I love you so. No, it’s bad when the light comes on. It’s called an idiot light because by the time it comes on, it’s usually too late and the idiot who owns the car gets to buy a new one, ready or not.”

“Well Mr. Idiot, Mrs. Idiot is going to order pizza delivered. It’s too shitty to cook or go out. You want a beer?” she pinched his backside as she passed him to go into the house.

“Many,” he told her and started in on the car. Johnny had learned to love her a lot. Even more than the first time around. He went through two other wives before he found her under a smashed up Charger and pulled her out. The first marriage ended shortly after it began, but they kept in touch after the lawyers were paid off and one thing led to another.

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