Or… Are You Stuck on Cloud Eight?
By Jeff Salter
It’s free week here at 4F1H, so I thought I’d share a bit more about my humorous novel – Stuck on Cloud Eight – released in November last year by TouchPoint Press.
[The setup: an injured Rusty Battle is leaving the chiropractic clinic where Keri Winter has been applying his therapy. Keri assists him to the waiting room where they both encounter Dudley Poe.]
From the end of Chapter 2
Dudley’s eyes darted from his friend Rusty to his former neighborhood playmate Keri and back again.
Rusty also looked from face to face. “Have you two met?”
“Long time ago,” said Keri. “Grew up together ‘til he married a high school sweetheart and moved. Dud was the only boy who didn’t treat me like a leper.”
“So you two came here together, I gather,” Keri said.
“Yeah, didn’t think I could drive. Plus Dud was responsible for my accident.”
Dudley began laughing. “Only the first part…”
“Yeah, yeah. The entire debacle was set in motion by you.”
“So what happened anyhow? I think I missed the whole story.” But she felt like smiling anyway.
“Too embarrassing,” replied Rusty.
More laughter from his driver.
“So nobody’s going to tell me?”
“Nope. But thanks again for your help, Keri.”
Love the sound of my name on his lips. She nodded and turned back toward the door to the therapy area. “Bye.” Keri watched as Rusty trudged out the door, Dudley chattering as they went.
Natlee zipped up beside her. “So what did you think?”
“The dreamy guy.”
“Just another patient in pain,” said Keri.
“I’ve worked on tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones.”
“But you’ve never worked on anybody that fine.” Natlee pointed toward the parking lot. “And he’s single, too.”
“How do you know?”
“I heard him talking with Suellen.”
“You can’t eavesdrop on patients, Natlee. That’s a HIPAA violation.”
“Turn me in, Keri. He’s fine, he’s tall, and he’s single.”
With considerable pain and several yelps, Rusty made his way through the parking lot and situated himself in the passenger side of his truck.
“What was she doing with your keys?” Dudley patted his pockets absent-mindedly. “I thought I had them.”
“You do — or you did. I gave you the spare I keep in my boot.”
Deep in his front pocket, Dudley finally located his key to Rusty’s truck and sniffed it gingerly. “You say this stays in your boot, Hoss?”
“Up near the top. I had a little pouch sewed inside my work boots. Got tired of locking myself out.”
“Should’ve told me.” Dudley took another sniff. “That’s nasty.”
“Well quit sniffing and drive.”
“You sure are bossy today.”
It’s the pain talking.
Dudley started the truck and eased around a small pothole where the parking lot emptied to the street. Then he picked up speed.
“So you know that girl?” Rusty asked again.
“Sure. Like she said, from way back.”
“What was she like?”
“Just a pestersome tomboy — skinny and flat-chested.”
“Not anymore.” And he’d spent a good while establishing her current credentials.
“You’re wasting your time, Hoss. She doesn’t date anybody. Hasn’t said boo to a man since she got home from college.”
“How long is that?”
“Don’t recall. I’ll ask Accolade.”
“Your wife knows her too?”
“Accolade knew her family. Keri lost her mom… her dad’s remarried and lives somewhere else.”
“That’s no reason not to date. Must be more to it.”
“Don’t mess with her, Hoss. She lives in a tree.
Since Keri Winter’s tomboy childhood dream had been to one day possess her own tree house, it does not bother her one bit to be known as Tarzana after she actually builds her home in a tree.
With a steady job she enjoys, Keri invests most of her late mother’s insurance policy into the design and construction of the only inhabitable tree house in Greene County. The house is a marvel, both in its construction and everyday operation, and attracts significant attention. So does its only occupant.
But most of the young men in town hold no interest for her at all. In fact, she seems pretty unapproachable – literally and figuratively – with her head up in the clouds. It would take a mighty tall man to reach Keri’s level and attract her romantic interest.
And even if the right man could reach her, would Keri trust him?
Rusty Battle figures he’s got the right stuff, but in order to prove it, he has to get Keri’s attention.
They’re about to learn proximity can sometimes make the heart grow fonder…or it just might drive Keri crazy.
It’s difficult enough to get to know someone on even ground. Can she start over at a higher level?
Here’s a bit about the origins of the concept (and my love of tree houses):
Here’s my first announcement, along with two of the earliest reviews:
[JLS # 299]