As she threw it down on the tile floor, she knew it was not right. It was a reflex she could not control. To be honest, she had no memory of holding anything until it left her hand in a violent trajectory. What had the man said? Did I just agree to meet him over 600 miles away on Monday?
Mary Byrd Thornton looked at the mess on the floor. Instantly, she was remorseful. A relief rushed over her as she realized she might have held something else. What if it was one of her precious Spode pieces? It would have made a more satisfying crash. Did he mention more information? It was 30 years ago. How could there be more information?
She sank to her knees and started the process of gathering the pieces. Evagreen, her help, would disapprove seeing the mess. For some reason, Evagreen always looked at her with a certain disdain. Her husband and two children could do no wrong where Mary Byrd could do no right. How did the detective even get her phone number?
“I knew this crap would break,” she said aloud. Just like Teflon that can be scratched and stainless steel that stains, this miracle of modern life is after all, man-made. In the corner, she noticed that a sliver had violated one of her expensive off-season cantaloupes. Ignatius, her cat, must have knocked it off the counter and rolled it into the corner for a private consultation.
Seeing the stabbed cantaloupe triggered her memory and her tears. Oh, how her brother must have suffered. Over her shoulder, she felt the presence of Evagreen. She slowly stood drawing her feelings inward as she showed some of the bigger shards to Evagreen without looking her in the eyes, “Look, Corelle does break.”
“Flying Shoes” is the first book by Oxford author Lisa Howorth, wife of Square Books owner Richard Howorth. Set in a Mississippi college town like Oxford, she fills the pages with characters and places that are oddly familiar. One obvious example is her character L. B. who sits in his gold Dodge truck with a lit cigarette precariously stuck to his bottom lip. Readers will picture Larry Brown as the scene unfolds.
This work of fiction seems so real, I found it hard not to believe main character Mary Byrd and the author Howorth are not one and the same. It does not help that the book jacket informs readers about the unsolved murder of the author’s stepbrother before turning a single page. But, this story is more than true crime, it is a true Southern yarn.
Maggie Moran is director of learning resources for Northwest Community College