Family Fiction posted November 21, 2023 Chapters:  ...14 15 -16- 17... 

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Miranda gets Mitch to go to Llarado's.

A chapter in the book Miranda's Trouble In Paradise

First Nudie Bar


Miranda Jessup Buckley has decided to find out what happened to Dougie Wilcox.
So far, Miranda has decided to find out what happened to Dougie Wilcox. She and Mitch have made up and are now going to investigate together.


Today is the day I'm supposed to meet with Carrie. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm still nervous. Worse case scenario is she realizes I'm a little unhinged. Best case scenario, I'm just as bat shit crazy as everybody else on the planet. Normal went the way of the dodo bird.

I pull down the road that leads to Haynes Pond. It's the first time since that night with Missy. It's just a place. It has no power over me yet every place I look a memory flashes before my eyes. I found Ed Preston's body. Aaron and Waylon found the sunken cars. Missy tried to kill me. I close my eyes, bringing my hand to my face. A phantom pain shoots across the bridge of my nose as I remember our scuffle on the muddy shore.

But good stuff happened here too. Mitch kissed me here. It was the beginning of my true happiness.

Dust kicks up as a car pulls in behind me. Carrie steps out of her small silver car and looks around.

I leave the sanctuary of my old reliable car to greet her.

"It's beautiful out here," she says, as she pulls her sunglasses out of her jacket pocket. "I can see why you picked here to meet."

The county had done a lot since that night to clean it up. All of the trash that had been dumped was cleaned up. They had even built a walkway that meandered through the marsh. There were a couple of benches and a pagoda with picnic tables and a charcoal grill. The pagoda was courtesy of the Toblerones, Justin's parents.

"Well, how do we do this?" I ask.

"We can walk. Or find a spot to sit. It's up to you."

"Just so you know, Missy Toblerone tried to kill me here."

"Who is Missy?"

"A girl who I've known since tenth grade. She watched her husband die while she ate a sandwich. A certified psychopath. She thought we were best friends. We were not. She tried to shoot me and when that didn't work, she hit me in the face with the gun."

"Whoa." Carrie lowers her glasses to peer at me. "Where is she now?"

"Women's Correctional Facility on the other side of the state. She writes me every day." As the words come out of my mouth I stifle a laugh. "You just can't make shit like this up."

"Did you go to the trial?"

"Most of it."

"What's in those letters?"

I shrug. "Never open them. I'm sure there's some twisted stuff in them."

"Why haven't you ever read them?"

I hadn't even realized we were walking until I find myself standing in front of the Justin Toblerone Pagoda. "Wow. This is really nice," I say, stepping up to walk around inside.

"So, you just toss them in the trash or burn them?"

"Huh?" I look at her wondering what she's talking about. "Oh, the letters. I just have them in a box."

Carrie doesn't react, not outwardly, at least. She does the doctor thing. An almost imperceptible nod to analyze this later.

"Nobody understands why I keep them still sealed and unopened. It's weird, I know."

"People do things that make sense to them. Maybe this makes sense to you."

I shake my head. "Nope."

She is easy to talk to. No judgement, just questions offered that I can either answer or ignore.

"Missy is doing time for murdering Ed Preston, plus covering up the death of her husband. But she did something else. My ex-boyfriend disappeared. Hasn't been heard from since he met up with Missy. There was blood in his truck but he hasn't been heard from since." I stop long enough to look over at her. "I think she might have killed him."

Carrie's gaze settles on my face. "Maybe that's why you keep the letters. A possibility that there might be confession in them."

I shrug. Why don't I tell her about the phone call this morning? It's like a secret only Waylon, Mitch and I know about. Was it Dougie? Or did I just want it to be?

"Miranda, you look like you have something to say."

"I'm just really tired. Can we call it a day?"

"Of course. I think it might be beneficial to meet once a week in the beginning. Same time next week?"

"Sure. Just between you and me, am I crazy, really crazy or off the charts?"

She grins. "I never tell stuff like that until after I've received payment from your insurance."

"Good to know."


Mitch grabs a pizza and brings it to the house. Waylon grabs four large slices and heads to the couch.

"Don't be shy," Mitch says to Waylon's retreating back.

"Thanks, Mitch," Waylon says.

While Waylon watches television, we take our pizza and ice cold beer out on the deck.

"How was your session with Carrie?"

I chew my mouthful before answering. "Good, I guess. She's nice. Not pushy, no questions about my childhood."

"Good, good. Are you going to talk to her again?"

"She wants to see me once a week in the beginning. We'll see. "

He nods, careful not to push. "So, the guys want us to come to the bowling alley tonight. Waylon is welcome."

A random thought flickers into my head like an incoming grenade. Rita's husband just might be on the prowl tonight.

"I've got a better idea. Let's go grab a drink."

"Sure. Live music in town at a couple of places."

"How about Llarado's? "

Mitch practically sprays his mouthful of beer in my face. "The tittie bar?"

"Gentlemen's club. Tittie bar is demeaning to all of those gentlemen."

He sets his beer next to his plate. "I know I'm going to regret asking this, but why do you want to go there? "

"I promised a friend I'd check something out."

"Ok. But you can't get mad at me for looking."

I swat at him. "Well, don't look, goofball."

He picks his plate up and cuts his eyes at me. "If I'm going into Llarado's against my will, I'm gonna look."

I finish my pizza enjoying the smirk on Mitch's face. After stacking my plate on his and heading to put them in the sink, I pause at the door. "Look all you want, but you're leaving your wallet in the car. I've heard those girls don't pay attention to the cheapskates."

Mitch stands and stretches. "Maybe they'll honor an IOU."

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