It’s pretty rural where I live. Missisquoi, Vermont. Yeah, we have a downtown and everything, but when you drive around, there are lots of idle fields and old barns and wild animals. I’d never given the animals much thought until recently. I don’t hunt, like my pal, Bobby. And I don’t have a dog like Sally, my friend and favorite waitress at the town diner.
But for the past three months, I’ve had one animal on my mind a lot, Moe, our town’s official groundhog. Sally thinks he’s cute as a button. I think he’s the devil. Well, come to think of it, I wish he was the devil. Then it’d be warmer around here.
My problem with Moe is every freaking February 2nd, he sees his shadow, declaring we’ll have another long winter. That might not seem like a big deal to you. But then, most town groundhogs don’t actually control the weather. Here in Missisquoi, ours are different. They have special powers. Their predictions always come true, and Moe always predicts a long winter.
I realized this past Groundhog Day that if I wanted things to change around here, I’d have to get rid of Moe. It should be easy. He lives in a large chain-link pen in a sanctuary a few miles from my house. It’s at the edge of some woods, which should provide cover while I’m hightailing it back to my truck. I’ve been casing the joint for the past three months, waiting for my chance to grab him.
Of course every time I’ve been about to tiptoe into the cage, someone has come by at the last second, foiling my plot. But eventually, my plan’ll work. It has to.
What could possibly go wrong?
To learn how Gus’s plan works out, read The Shadow Knows by Barb Goffman in Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, published October 7th by Wildside Press. Homicidal Holidays is the sixth volume in the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Derringer award-winning Chesapeake Crimes series. In addition to Groundhog Day, the anthology has stories set on Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and last, but definitely not least, Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrr.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 22 for the chance to win a copy of CHESAPEAKE CRIMES: HOMICIDAL HOLIDAYS. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Meet the author
Barb Goffman likes her crime short and sweet. Well, maybe not that sweet. She’s the author of DON’T GET MAD, GET EVEN, a short-story collection published last year by Wildside Press that recently won the Silver Falchion Award for best single-author mystery collection published in 2013. Barb also won the Macavity Award last fall for best short story of 2012, and she’s been nominated multiple times for the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards for her short fiction.
Her next story to be published, “It’s A Trap!,” will appear in an anthology of funny Thanksgiving crime stories, THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A FOURTH MEAL OF MAYHEM, due for release later this month by Untreed Reads Publishing. To support her short-story habit, Barb runs a freelance editing service, specializing in crime fiction. She also serves as secretary of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Learn more at www.barbgoffman.com and www.goffmanediting.com.