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Larceny and Old Lace
Eulonia Wiggins was found strangled to death by an antique bellpull. It was afine example of nineteenthcentury needlework. On the blue velvet background,
a slendid red rooster paraded, his comb erect, his spurs as long as talons. Anelaborate crest of one of the finest noble families in England was displayedproudly above the cock. I would have charged at least $200 for the pull, more tothe right customer. I suppose if my aunt had to die by strangulation, the pullwas as suitable an implement as any. But I can't help thinking that if I hadreacted in a more rational and placating manner, my aunt might still be alive.
We -- the members of Selwyn Avenue Antique Dealers As sociation -- had gatheredtogether for our monthly breakfast at the local Denny's restaurant. Normally thisis just a social event, since our organization is too small to have any realbusiness. Today, however, the business was my aunt.
I must immediately point out that my aunt was the first of our group to open ashop on prestigious Selwyn Avenue. If it hadn't been for her pioneering spirit,and persuasive tongue (the zoning board was slow to come around), none of uswould have our shops today. Plainly put, we all owed her a great deal.
In the interest of fairness, I am compelled to say that her shop, Feathers 'NTreasures, had seen better days. Okay, to put it frankly, it was an eyesore, butshe didn't deserve to die for it. Lightly flogged, maybe. I mean, since when ispeeling paint a capital crime? As for those tacky cardboard signs in the windows,she did change them every time she ran a sale. I'll even admit that most of hermerchandise was garage saleleftovers, but hey, this is a free country. EuloniaWiggins, age eighty-six, had paid her dues to society. If the Selwyn AvenueAntique Dealers Association had a problem with my auntwell, they could lump it,or else answer to me.
My name is Abigail Louise Timberlake, and I am going to tell it like it is. Callme mean-spirited if you want, but never call me dishonest. Life is too short forpretense.
I am forty-six years old, and not ashamed to admit it. I have earned every one ofthose years. I weigh ninety-three pounds on a good day but have been known to hitthe triple digits by the time New Year's Day rolls around. My hair is naturallybrown, but I purposely put a gray streak in it, so as not to be mistaken for ateenager. That is the price I pay for not smoking. and staying clear of the sun.My eyes are cat green, and I have never needed glasses. That is the reward I getfor having picked Hugh Wiggins and Missy Monroe Wiggins as my parents. That, andmy height. I mean the lack of it.
I have one sibling, a younger brother named Toy. That's his real name. At anyrate, Toy is six foot four, and not think she is, the laws adopted. Either Mamawasn't the saint I of Mendel are a bunch of bunk, or Toy is some sort of genetic throwback. I preferto believe in choice C.
Toy lives in California and thinks of himself as an unemployed actor. In realityToy is a busboy for a sleazy restaurant where leather ties are required. AlthoughMama and I write to TOY every month, neither of us have heard from him directlyin several years. He has no phone.
I got married right after graduating from Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SouthCarolina. I met my husband, Buford Tim berlake, on the water slide at an areaamusement park. It was a mixed marriage. Buford was from North Carolina and a bigfan of North Carolina State. I rooted for Clemson. Buford had-, louder lungs andwe ended up settling in Charlotte.
Buford and I were lucky enough to have two children, a daughter, Susan, and ason, Charlie. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home and raise thesechildren. I won't say I was deliriously happy, but neither did I look for a gasoven into which to stick my head. Life chugged down a fairly predictable track, and wemanaged to hang on for the ride.
One day our engine jumped the track. It happened right around Buford'sforty-fifth birthday. The obstacle in our path was a blond bimbo with huge butperky boobs who called herself Tweetie. The boobs undoubtedly had names as well,perhaps supplied by her surgeon. Our marriage was over.
Did I mention that Buford was a lawyer? He handled personal injury cases, notdivorces, but he was plugged into the good-old-boy network. The only plugs I hadwere connected to household appliances. To make a long and gruesome storyshorter, Buford managed to keep our beautiful and expensive home in the MyersPark neighborhood of Charlotte, our two teenage children, Susan and Charlie, andour dog Scruffles. I got the cat, Dmitri.
Charlie was fifteen at the time and still lives with Buford, ,as does Scruffles.Fortunately for her, Susan, who was seventeen at the time, is now out of the nestand safely in college.
I said I was going to be honest, and so I will admit that Buford did offer to payme alimony. Even before the court compelled him to. Of course, the alimony Bufordvolunteered wouldn't support Mother Teresa in a year full of fast days, much lessyours truly. The amount he pays is nowhere close ID. as much as I deserve. SinceI would rather suck venom from a timber snake than accept money from BufordTimberlake, I rolled up my sleeves (something people my size are used to doing)and set about...Larceny and Old Lace. Copyright © by Tamar Myers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.