I have a good life in Saltlick, Texas. It’s a great place to live with lots of friendly people. For the most part.

I wait tables at my Uncle Huey’s diner, Huey’s Hash. It’s hard work, but Mother doesn’t hold with people who shirk hard work. Huey can get mighty crabby when things are going wrong at the diner. So can Clem, the cook, come to think of it. Just the sight of Baxter Killroy cheers me up, though. That man is handsome! He busses tables at the diner. He’s never given me a second look, but I’m on about my millionth with him.

When my shift is over, I get to come home to my daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy. We call her Drew. I named her after one of my heroes. Mother lives with us, although if you were being strict about it, I guess you’d say Drew and I live with her. It’s not too bad. Mother does kinda try to run my life, and I’d like to get out from under someday, but for now it’s good.

Do you want to know what I really want to do? I want to be a PI. I don’t want to be an amateur sleuth like Nancy Drew was and I don’t want to be a police detective like my daddy was. I think that would take too much school. I just found this online course (I go to the library and use the computer to look up things). It’s a little pricey, but I’ve been saving my tips and almost have enough. If I pass the course, I get a certificate and can be a Private Eye Detective. That would be the greatest.

Mother is totally against that. She’s not keeping an open mind, and that’s something she’s always saying people should do. My father was gunned down when I was eleven (I’m twenty-two now). He was part owner of the diner then, with his brother Huey. The diner used to belong to their parents and it was called the Double D back then. Two Duckworthys, get it? Anyway, one night he stopped in after it was closed, for some reason, and the diner was being robbed. One of those horrible men shot my daddy. The only big disagreement I remember my parents having was about him going into law enforcement. She thought it was too dangerous.

That’s when Mother started eating so much, after Daddy died. She didn’t mention his name for years and years. I kept him in my memory through his badge. They gave it to me at his memorial service. I have it wrapped in a scarf and I keep it in my top dresser drawer. For some reason, when I pull it out and run my fingers over the metal, it helps bring him back to me.

So Mother doesn’t want me being a PI. She thinks that would be just as dangerous. She doesn’t see all those ugly bottom-pinchers at the diner every day. In fact, she doesn’t come around much because she disapproved of changing the name. Plus, she doesn’t think Huey is doing a good job of running the place. I think she might still have half ownership or something. He doesn’t do half bad, though. Clem’s a good cook–he’s been with the family since my grandparents’ day.

I’d like to make more of a role model for Drew than being a waitress. Since I didn’t catch the name of the trucker who fathered her, or even get his plate number, I feel I owe her that much.
You can read more about Imogene in CHOKE, the first book in the new “Imogene Duckworthy” mystery series.

Kaye George is a novelist and a short story writer whose story, HANDBASKETS, DRAWERS, AND A KILLER COLD, was nominated for a 2010 Agatha award. It can be found in the collection, A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, available on Amazon and Smashwords as an ebook, and Amazon and Createspace in trade paperback. She reviews for “Suspense Magazine” and other articles occasionally appear in newsletters and booklets. She, her husband, and a cat named Agamemnon live together in Texas, near Austin. Visit Kaye at http://kayegeorge.com

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