Enjoy these snippets from Squat and Subterfuge and then click on the link to read the full excerpt from the book!
“You’ll be back.” Joe is smiling at me as if to add, “With your tail tucked between your legs,” but he knows I’m hurting, so he holds his tongue.
“I don’t think so,” I reply. “Pam’s been cheating on me the whole time we’ve been together. Says it’s a ‘lifestyle choice,’ whatever the hell that is.”
Joe extends his right hand to me. “Sorry. Let me know when you settle somewhere. I’ll give you a good reference.”
I thank him; we shake hands, and I walk to my car.
At six the next morning, I head south.
After about five hours of traversing Indiana, I cross the river into Kentucky. An hour south of Louisville, I’m hungry, so I take an exit marked Waynedale. The County Courthouse is ahead, sitting in the middle of a large roundabout. People on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street wave to me, a stranger. It’s your typical town square, with the whittlers and spitters sitting on benches, the law offices circling the square, and the clock tower with the bell. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to live in a small town. As pleasant as Waynedale appears, I think I’m going to find out.
The train gained speed as Ernst grabbed the snow-covered ladder. His feet slipped, leaving him dangling by his hands. He kicked the air, seeking support, his freezing fingers beginning to slip. Just before he lost his grip, his foot connected with the rung again. Pulling his body up, he climbed to the top of the coal car.
He was at the back of the car, and could see Axel standing at its front, his left foot on the edge as he prepared to jump the four-foot distance to the next car.
Suddenly the train whistle blew a blast that could only mean someone was on the track ahead. The cars smacked together as the train slammed on its brakes. Ernst saw the chain reaction of controlled collisions, one after the other as the braking moved from the front of the train to the rear. Axel, however, seemed hypnotized, staring only at the car in front of him.
“Axel, get back!” Ernst yelled, but Axel was in a trance. If his timing had been right, it would have been a jump of beauty; but the collision threw him head first between cars. He managed to grab the edge of the front one, but it had a full load. Ernst saw that his friend’s grip was not secure; he couldn’t pull himself up.
“Ernst! Ernst!” Axel cried.
“I’m coming,” yelled Ernst, but he couldn’t run across the mounded coal. He had no idea what he was going to do even if he got to Axel.