11 December 2008

Excerpt Thursday: Delia DeLeest

Thursdays on Unusual Historicals mean excerpts! Here's one from Delia DeLeest. She writes:

To go along with my post yesterday on popular games of the 1920s, I thought I'd post an excerpt from my Wild Rose Press release It Takes Moxie. This is almost, word for word, from a conversation I was an unwilling participant of when a group of people were trying to convince me to join club they were a part of. My husband said I'd be nuts to not share it with the rest of the world. Ben and Moxie are on the run from thieves and gangsters, but that doesn't stop them from making a few new friends along the way.

***

The man was old, veteran of the Revolutionary War old, Methuselah old. He may have known King Tut personally. He was stooped over, his clothes clinging to his bony frame in a last ditch effort to prevent him from totally crumbling into a pile of dust at their feet. He gave them a good-natured, though a bit gummy, smile.

"I said, you have something of mine," he repeated.

"We do?" Ben looked at Moxie accusingly.

"Don't look at me like that. I didn't take anything of his. I've never seen him before."

"Our cribbage peg. It slipped off our table and bounced under your chair. The girls and I play cribbage here every afternoon." He gestured towards a table of elderly woman, one of whom gave them a little wave. Ben gave her a weak smile in return. "I was wondering if I could bother you to move your chair so I could get the peg."

"Let me get it for you," Moxie offered.

"I'll get it."

Ben and Moxie both reached under the chair at the same time and banged their heads. Ben quickly pulled back and managed to crack his head on the bottom of the table in the process.

"Are you all right? Let me look at you." Moxie jumped out of her chair and fingered his head looking for a lump.

Ben used his arm to push Moxie away. "I'm fine. Don't try to help me anymore. Please." He scooped the peg off the floor and placed it into the old man's gnarled paw.

"Thank you kindly. Say, would you folks be interested in joining our little group? We meet here at one o'clock every weekday. There used to be more of us, but our charter members keep dying. We could use some fresh blood."

A picture of the man in a Dracula cape attempting to bite, or in his case, gum, someone's neck, had Moxie erupting into a bubble of giggles.

Ben looked at her curiously, then shook his head. "Thanks for the offer, old bean, but we're just passing through. We don't live around here."

"That's too bad. The girls and I would have loved to have you and your wife join us."

"She's not my-"

"Maybe we'll have to start our own cribbage group at home, won't we, Honey?"

"Moxie-"

"So sorry, but we have to be going," Moxie explained to the old man. "My husband and I have a lot of driving ahead of us yet, don't we dear?"

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