Teaser: Death on a Stick

Hilda looked up when the door jangled, then looked again. She recognized Kim at once, but she was on the watch for faces from her past, while Kim ‘s attention was occupied with shepherding two children through the door and looking around the shop. Hilda finished cutting up her samples, dark chocolate amaretto truffles, while Kim browsed the cases.

Hilda set the samples out on a little silver tray she’d brought from her parents’ house – now hers. The older child, an Asian girl who looked to be about 11 years old, tugged on Kim’s sleeve. “Mom, I want cake pops.”

“In a minute, dear.” Kim finally looked at Hilda, over the high display case. “This store is new, isn’t… Oh my God! Hilda!”

Hilda grinned. “Kimberly Long. You’re looking good.” She really did look terrific, in a slim tailored cotton dress, fit and tanned, sun-bleached hair. Prosperous.

“When did you get back in town? Why didn’t you call me? It’s been, what…?”

“If you say how many years it’s been since high school, I’ll be obliged to strike you.”

“But my name isn’t Long anymore. I married Danny Schott. Remember him?”

“The running back? Of course I remember him. Oh, but that means…”

Kim rolled her eyes. “Yes, that’s right. Now I’m Mrs. Kimberly Long Schott. Go ahead, I’ve heard them all.”

“I wasn’t going to make a joke. No, honest. I was just going to say that you must love him very much indeed. And I’m surprised you didn’t keep your own name. I always thought you would, anyway.” Hilda looked down at the two children, the girl and a boy maybe nine years old, also Asian. “I’ve seen your daddy’s face on real estate signs all over town. He’s kind of a big Schott, isn’t he? What are the names of the little Schotts?” She looked up at Kim, mischievously. “Rim and Chip, perhaps?”

Mark Twain on Choosing the Right Word

Words of wisdom for writers.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. ♦♦♦ Mark Twain, 1890