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A Case of Southern Discomfort

by C. L. Cobb

About the Author: Veteran story teller C. L. Cobb has written for well-known rags such as Easyriders, Biker, and American Iron and has authored award-winning histories and how-tos such as Crime Scene Chemistry and Creations of Fire. Cobb likens good story-telling to a successful stabbing: it must be premeditated, well-executed, and given a twist at the end.


“Sir? Sir!”                                 

I heard them.

But I couldn’t look away.

Her mouth gaped open in a silent scream. Her dead eyes stared in surprise.

Who would have thought it would end like this?

Not me.

I was as surprised as she was.

It began reasonably enough. My wife and I made a mid-life decision to move to the South with a promising startup. Peg found a house with a rocking-chair porch, and we acquired a dour, drooling bulldog we called “Happy.”

But the startup failed and the local economy went with it. I got a teaching job to pay the mortgage, but Peg went back to New York.

I probably would have gone with her, but she didn’t ask.

I put a For Sale sign on the house, but there were no takers. One day I took down the sign to mow and didn’t bother to put it back. I decided my surroundings, while forced, weren’t that bad. Especially one particular surrounding—the neighbor to the right: Grace.

Grace was a single lady in her late thirties with high cheek bones and perky blonde hair. Her blue eyes rivaled the Southern skies and her complexion made a Georgia peach look like a prune. I was old enough to be her father, but her rounded outlines stirred no paternal urges.

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