“Return to Sender” Excerpt from Silver Bottle

As the title implies, there is a silver bottle in Silver Bottle but no one knows where it is. Carmen Amber left it, Lizzie died while holding it (or thought she did) and Lorraine buried it, promptly forgetting where. Enter Jenna, Lorraine’s oldest daughter, a tanned, impatient, and mouthy teenager who defends her mother as Lorraine digs up Ms. Blake’s yard.

Spoiler: They don’t find it.

Mom actually went to one of the houses she owns in town and dug up the side yard. She hired the town workers to poke around the pear trees. Poor Ms. Blake doesn’t have much, but she does have flowers, and there went all her pansies, snapdragons, and four o’clocks. I felt so sorry for her. Mom doesn’t charge her much rent, but even so, renters have rights, and Mom shouldn’t have dug her yard up that way. The more those men dug, the more mess they made, and then Mom started crying because they couldn’t find it, and Ms. Blake, who has Parkinson’s, started crying, too. Everybody got mixed up, and finally, one of the town workers, the fat one, shouted, “What in the hell are we looking for?”

            She is trying to find a silver bottle she buried seventeen years ago when I was minus two, so I certainly don’t remember. She said it was shaped like a flour sifter with a fancy handle on one side. The top was ornate, and inside the top was a secret compartment that lifted the lid when a button on the handle was pushed. Also, it couldn’t possibly be silver anymore because it was real silver. Buried in the ground, it would have become black, brown, or brackish green.

            Mom flew at him, and that was another time I thought we had a chance. But wouldn’t you know, she stopped, put her hand over her mouth and apologized to that Mountain of Fat with tobacco juice stains on his chin. But at least now I know what it’s going to take to erase the witch and get my mom back.

            “Brackish?” Mountain of Fat broke the silence.

            “Brackish,” she repeated in all seriousness.            

He just shook his head and spat. The other men looked like they were going to laugh, but they didn’t because I cut them with my eyes. My mom might be nuts, but she’s still my mom. Someday she’ll be embarrassed about all of this.  

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt!

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