Pickle in the Middle“JT! Shay! Get the lead out!” Eddy Quartermaine bellowed from the Rabbit Hole, her voice carrying through her living room and into her kitchen. Who ever would have thought this old Victorian that housed Eddy’s apartment in the rear and the Rabbit Hole in the front would be witness to, of all things, a clown wedding?

Two days ago, at Rocky’s insistence, Eddy—my dear friend and second mom—had ordained herself online. Now she could officiate weddings, and as Rocky liked to say, “join people in ultimate holy matrimony and bliss.”

It was the long, floppy shoes that were slowing me down. Mostly because I could hardly bend over. The laces on the oversized footwear weren’t cooperating.
How did we ever get into this?

Because we loved Rocky, our fact spewing, endearing middle-aged-but-going-on-about-fifteen savant friend, that’s why.

I tugged the loops tight and then double-knotted them, praying they’d stay put. I straightened and looked down at the floor. I couldn’t see my feet because of the two pillows that were stuffed belly level in my red-and-yellow-striped clown jump suit. If I tripped, I’d go down like a neon-striped whale.

“You done?” JT asked as she shuffled into the kitchen. She was sporting the same duds, but her color palate was green and pink.

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Don’t forget this.” The smirk in her voice was loud and clear as she picked up the red foam ball from the table and shoved it on my nose.

“Thaks, I thick.”

I followed JT as she waddled in greeny pinkish glory through Eddy’s living room and into the Hole.

Tables had been pushed aside. Four rows of two chairs were lined up in front of the fireplace, filled with Rocky’s favorite Rabbit Hole customers.

Dawg, my boxer, and Bogey, JT’s bloodhound, were lying on either side of the unlit grate, periodically trying to chuff off the red balls Rocky had stuck on their noses.

Eddy stood in front of the paper heart-covered hearth, a high-styling ringmaster of this insane fete. A black top hat sat at a jaunty angle on her head above a red velvet tuxedo jacket with epaulets of gold braid. Beneath the jacket, she wore a white ruffled shirt with a red bowtie. Her short legs were encased in black pants that were tucked into knee-high black boots, which came about thigh-high on the poor woman. We hadn’t been able to find anything that fit her shortness, and she looked like a kid who’d raided her mother’s—or in this case—her father’s, closet.

On Eddy’s left, Rocky, wearing blue and purple stripes and a delighted grin, faced the small audience.

Coop, my best friend and Rocky’s best man, was a step behind the groom. Coop towered over Rocky, looking like an escaped convict in orange and black.

On Eddy’s right, there was room for Tulip, and then came Kate, the Hole’s co-owner, and her sister Anna. They were dual maids of honor in matching bright-red and green. They looked like deranged Christmas elves.

JT and I were Rocky’s “grooms-girls,” and we took our places beside Coop to await Tulip’s grand entrance.

One of the coffee shop regulars, who was seated in the front row, asked, “Now?”

“You betcha,” Eddy said.

He whipped out a kazoo and tooted a rousing rendition of Here Comes the Bride.

After about fifteen seconds, Tulip marched in. She was clad in a baggy white t-shirt with narrow black horizontal stripes. Fuchsia polka dot suspenders held up raggedy jeans. Maroon shoes and a straw hat took care of the rest.

Rocky squeaked in delight when he saw Tulip. His entire body vibrated with excitement.

Tulip lurched to a stop beside Rocky, a gigantic smile on her white-grease-painted face. She reached over and honked the clown horn Rocky had hooked to his belt a couple of times. He beamed and they both turned to Eddy.

With a few words from her pseudo-honor, Rocky and Tulip exchanged very short vows consisting of dual “yeses” to Eddy’s question of who took whom. Tie-dye neck kerchiefs were exchanged, and it was all over in seconds.

Eddy turned them to face the audience and announced, “May I present to you Rocky and Tulip, bound together forever in, ah, ultimate holy matrimony and bliss. Rocky, you may kiss the bride.”

Cheers and applause erupted as rainbow confetti sailed through the air. As the colorful pieces fluttered toward the floor, Rocky said, “In 2010, there were 2,096,000 marriages in these United States. The divorce rate is at fifty percent. That means there’s a fifty percent chance my Tulip and I will make it to forever and a fifty percent chance we won’t. But I’m not worried. I love her one hundred percent!” Rocky plastered a big smacker on Tulip, and they strolled hand in hand down the aisle and out the Hole’s front door. A brightly festooned horse-drawn carriage waited curbside to whisk the newlyweds off to their circus reception at the Hands On Toy Company and Game Room.

Yup, it was just another crazy day in my crazy life. Little did I know that my life was about to get even loonier when JT made the decision to drag me to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival two weeks later. You can check that insanity out in my newest adventure, Pickle in the Middle Murder, available now!

Jessie is giving away two (2) copies of PICKLE IN THE MIDDLE MURDER. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the author. Contest ends July 16; US entries only.

You can read more about Shay in Pickle in the Middle Murder , the third book in the “Shay O’Hanlon” caper series. The first book in the series is Bingo Barge Murder.

Meet the author
Jessie Chandler is the author of the Shay O’Hanlon Caper series, the Vice President of the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of Mystery Writer’s of America. Her debut novel, Bingo Barge Murder, won the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society. In her spare time, Chandler sells unique, artsy T-shirts and other assorted trinkets to unsuspecting conference and festival goers. She is a former police officer and resides in Minneapolis.

Visit her online at her website or on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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