Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sammy is a supporting character by Barbara Edwards

My friends call me Sammy, and I don’t care what my enemies call me. People say  I avoid giving a direct answer and that is probably true. No-one really wants to know the truth. And free advice is rarely free.
Ain’t gonna share any secrets. I been livin’ in Rhodes End a long time and I know more than I should about a lot of things that are no-one else’s business. Barbara Edwards is telling stories about the people who live here, but she don’t know it all either. If you want to know what she knows, read Ancient Awakening and Ancient Blood.
I like New England. Lots of surprises. Not just the weather that changes faster than you can shake a stick.  People act so cool and controlled. Stand-offish. Even unfriendly. So it shouldn’t surprise you to know you need to dig deep to find out what’s really happening.
I ain’t never said I heard a wolf howl. Farmers and hunters claim that wolves have returned. Maybe followed the watershed down from Canada and like the thick woods around here. Might be a different kind of wolf took up residence here. I tend to ignore paws prints that become footprints ‘cause it ain’t my business.
With the magnetic lay lines crossing here magic and paranormal stuff happens. Not that I notice. I keep my nose in my business. Lots of odd critters are drawn to the area. I keep my eyes to the ground.
I work for the town. I’m the only grave-digger. I like the old cemeteries and am familiar with all the names on the tombstones. It’s so quiet. I can hear the grass grow. I hear other stuff, too. Folks might think it’s scary. Whispers in the dark or screams so faint they make the hair on your nape bristle.
Visit me at my website: www.barbaraedwards.net
Ancient Awakening by Barbara Edwards, an excerpt
A loud backfire split the air. A rusty yellow pick-up truck rumbled into the spot behind the cruiser. Shrugging, Mel stepped around Steve and waved a greeting.
“Hey, Sammy, How’s it going?”
A dirt-encrusted Sammy Tarp tramped toward them, slapping at the muddy clods stuck to his pants. Sammy resembled nothing more than a large groundhog. His bristly gray hair and three-day-old beard stuck out at all angles, and his bullet-shaped head sat on a rounded body with no noticeable neck.
“Hi ya, Miz Mel. Larry said to tell ya hello. Ah knew ya’d be checkin’ the damage from those damn kids and decided to see ifn’ ya found anything. I called the station lookin’ fer you. Jan said you was out here. Still working doubles?”
He pulled a brown knit stocking cap from his  rear pants pocket and stuck it on his head. The frayed material teetered like a squashed ice cream cone on his spiky hair.
“Not much longer. Hal’s due back. Says he can hardly wait. Since his wife delivered those twins, he’s been in shock, but he claims he’ll get more rest on patrol.” Mel gestured at Steve. “Have you met Dr. Zoriak?”
“I’ve seen him around.” To her surprise, Sammy took a quick step back, shoving his grimy hands in his pockets. “He ain’t no stranger to the graveyard.”
Mel glanced from one man to the other. She always heard every rumor and whispered innuendo, but didn’t recall any reason for Sammy’s rudeness. Steve nodded coolly.
Sammy’s glance skittered past Steve to the mausoleum. He spat into the poison ivy. “Glad I already got paid. Fella wanted his mouse-a-lean built to store old bodies, not stick ‘em in the ground in a proper manner. Fancy carved stone and ever’thin’ shipped in from foreign places. Had to hurry up ta finish the concrete footings before the frost.”
“But why? This section isn’t part of the cemetery. And no one’s been buried there for years.”
“Ayah. Father Brown finally sold this back plot to an out-of-towner. Guess he figured he’d make some money fer the church by finding someone willing to use this piece even though it ain’t sanctified. Sucker didn’t bother to find out about the ledge. Had to bring in a ton of backfill. Got hisself stuck, like the priest did, when he didn’t ask me about the land before he paid for it.”
Sammy spit to the side again and snickered quietly. His ongoing war with the Catholic priest was a juicy source of gossip around town.
“Sounds pretentious,” Steve commented.
“Ain’t no accountin’ for some people’s tastes. ‘Specially foreigners.” From under shaggy brows, Sammy looked directly at Steve for the first time. His shiny black eyes appeared amid rolls of wrinkled flesh when he squinted. “Some people like a small town, makes ‘em feel safe. ‘Cause people are standoffish, they think they don’t notice nothin’. Makes strangers feel they can hide their secrets.”
Mel concluded the old man was exhibiting typical Yankee distrust for a newcomer. Unless he’d been raised in a small town, poor Steve couldn’t know it would take at least a generation to be accepted by the old-timers.
“Did you say you talked to Larry?”
“Ayah. He’s still shook up. Takin’ it personal. Like he thinks it’s his fault when someone puts recyclables in the wrong bin.” Sammy spit into the dirt before he edged around to stand at Mel’s side. “I gotta be gettin’ back to work. Ya want me to walk ya back to your car first?”
“I’m going to be awhile, Sammy, but thanks.”
“Wal, I’ll be checking’ back later.”
He glared warningly at Steve before he slowly climbed into his truck and revved the noisy motor.
Used to his odd habits, she flipped him an absent-minded wave. The ancient truck jerked forward with an echoing metallic thud, followed by a vibrating thunk. A heavy silence settled over them with the thick dust.


Jannine Gallant said...

Sammy sounds like a terrific, colorful character. Thanks for bringing him by for a visit.

Margo Hoornstra said...

The whole interview was great. Loved the voice.