The following excerpt is from a story I began September 11, 2014, as I boarded my plane in Daytona. I didn't really need another story, but it refused to be still. It's not got a proper title yet, so I named it after the main character, Brick McMillan.
Brick's heading to Daytona from Kansas City for a funeral—the fourth in five years. First his father, then his Aunt Mabel and wife, Danai. Now, his younger brother, Stony, has died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. He's planning to move back to Florida to be near his nieces and nephews, to help raise them as his brother wanted. He also meets one of Stony's co-workers—Colleen. She isn't quite what she seems. Right now, he's out with Colleen and a real estate agent named Stacy.
They pulled up to a comfortable house in one of the closed communities that was back to back with the golf course, separated by a low wall. The house was seashell pink with pale green trim. Brick wasn't sure he liked it. It was the kind of thing that Danai would have loved, but his tastes weren't quite that feminine. Dubious, he allowed the women to coerce him inside. The interior was equally feminine. He wandered around politely, but Stacy could tell he wasn't all that interested.
“It's nice and all, but I feel like I should be hosting a party where we sip chai tea and talk about our periods.” Brick shuddered.
The women laughed, understanding exactly what he meant. Fortunately, neither of them was offended by his remark.
The next house, in another community, wasn't as feminine, but wasn't to his taste either. After looking it over, he stood in the living room, legs spread, arms crossed over his chest.
“Lemme tell ya what I don't want,” he said. “This here?” He made circular motions with his right hand. “Not this. That other place—hell no. Either something ridiculously modern or something old fashioned. This golf course chic or kitschy—shit. . . .” He shook his head, gesturing around himself at the home's interior. “No. Just—no.” He strutted out.
Colleen and Stacy watched his departing form, eyes lingering on his well toned ass. Stacy raised an eyebrow.
“No kidding! He kissed me earlier.”
“No, he didn't! Oh, my God, was it wonderful?”
“It was worth doing again, that's for sure.”
“Makes me wish I were single.”
They left the house, locking it behind them. Brick was on the phone, leaning against the car, legs crossed at the ankles. His long, lean body was relaxed and casual. A soft smile tugged at his lips.
“Charlie, I can't do that right now. Go to the house and get it.” He paused, listening. “Cause I'm still in Florida. I told you that before I left. I gotta go. Bye now. Love you!” He put the phone in his pocket. “My youngest. Most helpless child on the face of the earth.” He laughed.
“How old is Charlie?”
“She'll be nineteen next month. Looks just like her mother.” His smile faded slightly. “The kids didn't want to come to the funeral.” He swallowed hard. “Too much death. I don't blame them. If I could have avoided this, I wouldn't be here either.” He cleared his throat. “Let's get this circus on the road,” he commanded.