Family Fiction posted November 5, 2023 Chapters:  ...11 12 -13- 14... 

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Miranda gets in trouble.

A chapter in the book Miranda's Trouble In Paradise

Mad Woman


Miranda Jessup Buckley has decided to find out what happened to Dougie Wilcox.
So far, Miranda has started her investigation into Dougie's disappearance. She and Mitch have broken up.


Preston shows up shortly after four, about ten minutes after Rita leaves. He's in the back office clocking in.

The store phone rings so I grab it. "Good afternoon. Thank you for calling The Little Eagle Gas and Go, this is Miranda, how can I help you?"
The silence on the line goes on for several seconds. "Hello? How can I help you?"

I can see Preston walking to the front of the store. He isn't looking at me. He's making a beeline for the front door.

"I'm too busy for this shit," I mutter, eager to hang up the phone.

"Do you carry First Legion Dark?" The voice that speaks is muffled.

I feel the familiar jolt of seeing the beer bottles left where I can find them. First Legion Dark is Dougie's brand. "Who the hell is this?" I hiss into the phone. "What do you want?"

The line goes dead. I look up to see Preston running towards a pump.

I slam the phone down and race out after him.

"What's wrong, Preston?" I yell.

He grabs a nozzle away from a woman. "You can't do that," he's telling her.

She looks like one of those types that has lived with a silver spoon in her mouth since the day she graced the world with her arrival. Her hair is coiffed and sprayed with enough hair spray to offend the ozone several different ways. Her lips have been drawn on in an exaggerated fashion. Cleopatra wore less makeup than her.

"Hey, idiot." Her voice resembles nails on a chalk board. "Are you stupid? I have a boyfriend."

"You can't put diesel in your car." Preston points to the pump.

Miss Makeup scowls. "He said put the most expensive gas in his baby."

"Yes, Gas. Not diesel." Preston says.

"I'm calling the police." She walks to the driver's side door and pulls her phone out. "This is harassment. I don't have to put up with this."

I walk over to where Preston is replacing the nozzle. I link my arm through his and coax him back into the store.

"She's gonna ruin that car," he says, pausing to watch her lift the diesel nozzle again and try to fit it in the gas tank. "Maybe I should call the police," he moans.

I put my arm around him and quickly squeeze him. "You've learned your first lesson about working with the public."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"You can't fix stupid."

Preston smiles sadly. "Guess not."


Preston goes out just after seven and starts replacing the trash bags in the waste cans around the lot. He dumps the windshield washing stand and fills it back with fresh water.

I sweep around the front door and watch him. He's a nice kid. Lots of energy, so I keep him busy doing some of the mindless chores I never cared to do. A few times I sent him out with the broom and dust pan on a stick to sweep up cigarette butts and trash around the lot. But I do like him. He's like a big golden retriever, one who plays basketball.

A familiar car pulls into the lot. The driver stalks up to the door and heads right for me.

"Momma, to what do I owe this pleasure," I say. I can tell she's not stopping by for a social call. There is fire in her eyes.

"What happened this morning?"

I purse my lips. "Whatever do you mean?"

She plants her hands on her hips. "Miranda Lynn, don't you play coy with me. What happened at breakfast?"

"I'm guessing you already know."

"Have you lost your damned mind? Mitch loves you. I know it, Waylon knows it, the whole county knows it. But most of all, you know it. How could you let him just walk out of your life like that?"

I know she's my momma, but I've had just about enough right now. I put my hand down on the counter a tad more forcefully than I intend to.
"He knew how I felt, Momma. He knew I didn't want to see a shrink. He had someone there at breakfast. Waiting to ambush me. It was wrong."

She shakes her head and has a strange smile on her face. "For crying out loud, Miranda, it was my idea. He didn't want to do it. I told him how damned hard headed you are. I convinced him that once you met her and realized she was just a normal person, it would be fine. But you just had to be stubborn, didn't you?"

"He didn't tell me that."

"Of course he didn't. He probably thought he was protecting me."

I look away, idly drumming my fingers on the counter. "Well, the good news is, I'm meeting with Dr. Tate later this week."

She acknowledges my announcement but doesn't seem as thrilled as I thought she would be. "Call him, Miranda. Call him and tell him you were a fool and have come to your senses."

She's right. I know she's right. I was a fool. I should have pitched a fit, let him apologize and we could have moved on. Instead, Miranda Buckley, had to stick to her guns and walk away being right.

Momma leans forward and kisses my cheek. "Call him, Miranda. Don't let your pride get in the way of your happiness." She turns and leaves.

My hand hovers over the phone. Just pick it up. I lift it from the cradle. Suppose he doesn't answer? Suppose he realizes what a pain in the ass I really am?

I dial his number. One ring, two, three, I wait for his voice mail to pick up.

"Pick up, Mitch. Please pick up." I whisper.

The recording picks up, the beep sounds, now I grovel.

"It's me. Some things have come to light. If you haven't washed your hands of me, I'd like for us to talk."

I hang up and now I wait.

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