By Karen Bethea
Twyla LouAnn Roddenheimer lay back on the red satin sheets stretched taut over the sagging truck mattress. That Rock was something, he was. Handing her a set of real red satin sheets he bought from the tent vendor beside the 7-Eleven while he talked her into driving them, including that little brat kid of his, to Branson in her rig instead of his.
She had met Rock at a truck stop just outside of Memphis, and since she loved Elvis, one thing had led to another, and the next thing she knew, they had had one too many Bud Lights and wound up hitched by an all night justice of the peace.
Rock told her that he had to bring his kid on this run, and since her rig was bigger, they needed to leave his in Memphis and drive hers to Branson. She didn’t care. This was more excitement than a whole box of Twinkies anytime.
She jumped when the Walkie-Talkie came to life “Twyla LouAnn! Start the rig up and be ready. We’re a’coming out the back door.”
“Ten-4 Rock-Baby, I’ll be ready.” Twyla LouAnn wedged her bright orange muumuu-clad 400-pounds behind the wheel and revved the engine. She jumped when the headlights hit a homeless man running out in front of the rig as she turned into the alley behind the Stardust Theater. She ran over the curb and took a streetlight out.
She regained control and pulled up to the stage door just as Rock with Roxy in tow came flying down the steps. He jumped into the cab and threw Roxy back onto the mattress. “ I want Raggedy Ann!” Roxy shrieked.
“Good God Almighty, Roxy,” Rock yelled, “ I’ll get you a dozen of them when we get to Vegas.” Twyla LouAnn geared into first and lumbered down the alley.
Just as the rig swung wide onto the main street of Branson, Buck and Sheriff Blinky bolted out the back door of the Stardust.
“Crap, Buck, we missed them! We don’t even know what they were driving since we found Rock’s rig in Memphis.”
A quaking voice said, “I saw ‘em, Mr., I knowed which way they done gone.”
Buck stopped and stared at the man who spoke. He was emaciated with long, brown, oily hair, rags for clothes and a bottle of Boone’s Farm in his hand.
“All I want is a few bucks for a bottle, please, please?” the man asked.
Buck stared harder and rasped, “Corncob, is that you? I’d know that voice anywhere.”
The homeless man stopped begging and took a long, hard look at Buck, and to everyone’s amazement, started crying big tears.
“Cap’n...Cap’n Buck. Man, I ain’t seen none of the boys from Iraq since I done got home. Things ain’t been so good fer me since my leg healed up.”
Buck looked down and saw a prosthetic foot peeking from beneath the ragged hem of his pants. Jake Green of Tupelo, Mississippi, better known as “Corncob” to the guys in the unit, had been in direct line of the same bomb blast that had injured Bobby Tom.
“Corncob, we need to know what you saw, then I’ll be back to see you. Where do you live?” Buck asked.
“Over behind that dumpster. That one’s mine – I got claim to it,” Corncob said.
He then told Buck and Sheriff Blinky everything he had seen. The rig, the woman driving, the man and the kid, but he didn’t know which way they had gone.
Sheriff Blinky pulled out his radio and called the awaiting helicopter. “Put down in the MIDDLE of the road and I don’t give a rat’s butt who has a heart attack. We’ll be right there.”
By Karen Bethea
- As The Small Town Turns
- Church Bulletin 8/7/12
Epilogue: As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: The News Courier editorial staff chose Karen Bethea’s epilogue for our original novel. Our runner-up this week was D.K. Hutchins. We would like to thank all of our talented authors who contributed to “As the Small Town Turns” over these weeks. It has been a very enjoyable and satisfying endeavor for The News Courier and we hope it was enjoyable for those who participated. In coming weeks we will publish photos and short biographies on all of our authors whose chapters were chosen for the novel. But whether your chapter was chosen or not we would like to say thank-you to all for being such good sports and getting into the spirit of this project.
Chapter 16 As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Chapter 16 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns ...” is written by Karen Bethea. Runners-up are D.T. Hutchins and Cynthia Boris.
It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. The novel will conclude Dec. 19 and the only thing that remains is the epilogue.
If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time.
If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we look forward to your conclusion.
Chapter 15: As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Chapter 15 of The News Courier original novel, As the Small Town Turns, is written by Diane Hutchins. This was a week that brought several fine submissions. Runners up Karen Bethea, Cynthia Boris and Elizabeth Carter are printed in this section. It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time. If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we will be looking forward to your thrilling Chapter 16.
Chapter 14 ‘As the Small Town Turns’
Editor’s note: Chapter 14 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Karen Bethea. We had three excellent submissions this week. Runners-up are Harriette Rost and Cynthia Boris. The action has turned wild. With only two more chapters, now is the time to jump in for the big conclusion. If things get too hot, who knows? This saga could live for yet another chapter.
Chapter 13: As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Chapter 13 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Cynthia Boris. Our runners-up this week are Karen Bethea and Elizabeth Carter, whose submissions are published in this section. Readers and potential contributors have just three more weeks as we draw the saga of Raquel and Buck to a conclusion with Chapter 16 on Dec. 12. There’s still time to get in on the action.
Chapter 12: As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Chapter 12 of “As the Small Town Turns” is written by Bill Hunt. This week’s runner-up submission is by Cynthia Boris. The News Courier is anxiously awaiting Chapter 13 as the story heats up. Please keep sending submissions. Hint: Wouldn’t it be great if somehow Bobby Tom could meet Raquel’s friend, Maggie…? We’re just saying. Please review the rules of the game in this section and get your submission to Karen Middleton by Wednesday.
Chapter 11: As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Chapter 11 is written by Harriette Rost. Our single runner-up this week is Cynthia Boris. We continue the story as Rock tries to disguise his abducted daughter Roxanne Marie’s identity as he prepares to go on stage in Branson to compete in an Elvis impersonator contest. The law is involved now. The News Courier staff is excited to see how our readers will come to the toddler’s rescue -–– if it’s not too late. If readers have previously submitted chapters that were not chosen to continue the saga of Raquel and Buck, please do not be discouraged. Hint: Let’s not forget Bobby Tom stuck up in a veterans’ hospital recuperating from wounds. Let’s get him back in the action.
Chapter 10, As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: Once again, Cynthia Boris has submitted an excellent chapter to As the Small Town Turns. We received no other submissions last week, so there are no runners-up. However, we welcome your Chapter 11 submissions, so please review the novel rules in this section. We continue the story as Rock speeds toward Branson with his abducted 2-year-old daughter Roxanne Marie. As The News Courier looks forward to drawing the novel to a conclusion by the end of the year, please jump in and help us resolve this cliffhanger.
Chapter 9, As the Small Town Turns
Editor’s note: The Chapter 9 submission chosen for The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” was written by Cynthia Boris. As readers will remember, from Chapter 8, Raquel’s ex-husband, Rock Roddenheimer, abducted their daughter, Roxanne Marie, from her bed in revenge for having been thrown out of the house and humiliated by Raquel’s new friend, Buck. Now, as Rock speeds toward Branson in his 18-wheeler, the gravity of his rash actions begins to soak in, and back in the small town, Raquel is devastated to learn that her daughter is missing. Other excellent chapters were submitted by Karen Mastich and Carol Schwarzenbach, which are printed in this section along with rules for submitting Chapter 10.
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