A couple of days ago, I reviewed The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery by Lisa Wysocky. I promised you an excerpt and here it is!
Excerpt: The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery by Lisa Wysocky
I HEADED EAST on River Road and zoomed into town at the blazing speed of thirty miles per hour. Well, it was icy. I’d woken this morning to the familiar rattle of my bedroom window just before sleet came and, sure enough, a few hard pings soon fell on the glass. Ice and sleet were not unusual in February in Nashville. Then again, sunny and seventy wasn’t unusual either.
I wanted to load up on supplies in case the sleet turned into a major ice storm. Worst-case scenario was that my farm was right on the Cumberland River and we could haul water up for the horses, but the nearest store was miles away and we could be iced in. My supply of hot chocolate was running low and I sometimes got cranky if I missed my daily dose. Trust me, no one wanted that to happen.
If a big storm didn’t develop, I didn’t mind a little bad weather driving. Traveling the Appaloosa horse show circuit I had hauled my six-horse rig through all kinds of weather. Most Nashvillians, I’d found, didn’t like to drive when the weather was cooler than thirty-three degrees, but somehow they could strip grocery shelves bare at the slightest hint of snow. I hoped this early in the morning I’d catch all the hypocrites who claimed never to have left their homes, yet were sure to leave the stores with empty shelves by noon.
Normally the drive into town was pretty, especially in the spring when, just past the Henley house and continuing a half mile or so, there were scattered fields of wildflowers. But today, ice, sleet, and fog kept any of the fields from being visible.
I ate a hearty breakfast at Verna Mae’s, a local “Mom and Pop” that featured the mouthwatering Southern specialty of “meat and three,” one choice of meat served with three vegetables and a slice of corn bread. Most meat-and-three’s were only open for the noon meal, which Southerners call dinner, but the food at Verna Mae’s was so good they couldn’t accommodate just the noon crowd. They were open for breakfast, dinner and “supper.” After listening to other diners speculate about the weather, I joined a herd of frantic shoppers at Walmart, and gathered enough food to keep me going for a few days.
By the time I arrived home at Cat Enright Stables, the sleet had turned into a cold mist and the sun was trying to break through the murky sky. I am, by the way, Cat Enright, owner for the past seven years of said stables. I’m twenty-nine, single, come from mostly Irish stock, and am just beginning to have some national success on the show circuit.
As I inched up the icy walk to my farmhouse, arms laden with heavy shopping bags, a wriggly half grown puppy burst out of the front doggy door to greet me. I’d found a cold, sodden, shivering Hank sleeping on my porch last November when we returned from the world championships. He is a sweet and happy soul, and it wasn’t long before he moved from the porch into the house. Hank is definitely part Beagle. The other parts are anyone’s guess.
“Arrrrrr. Rrraaaarrrrr,” wiggled Hank, meaning, “I’m so happy you’re finally home. I’ve tried to be good while I’ve been waiting.”
I opened the farmhouse door and Hank and I tumbled into the living room. Or what was left of it. While I had shopped, Hank had happily destroyed what used to be my sofa. After my brain registered what my eyes saw, I realized he had taken the foam stuffing out of the cushions and scattered little pieces all over the room.
“Bad dog! Bad! Dog!” I yelled, shaking my finger at Hank and dropping a bag of groceries in the process. It would have to be the bag with the eggs and pickles in it. I was so mad I felt like shaking Hank instead of my finger. But when I approached to toss him out of the house, Hank rolled on his back and wagged his tail. I never could figure out how he could wag his tail so joyfully while he lay upside down.
“Okay,” I relented. “But you have to help clean up.”
Hank knows I’m a sucker for a tail-wagging dog. He jumped up and contributed to the project by running circles around me, making the tiny pieces of the sofa’s innards airborne in the process. I was too busy grabbing soft white flying objects out of the air to see that Hank’s circles had gradually changed from fun loving puppy romps to something on the more frantic side. Too late, I realized what it meant. I made a mad dash to grab him, but only got half way there before Hank showered his intentions into the furnace’s floor grate.
That’s when I knew I was having a bad morning.
Cat’s Horse Tip #2“People expect respect. With horses, you have to earn it.”