Don't Hex with Texas

Page 12


You’re probably what’s making Sherri dizzy.” Back on her feet again, she shook us off and said,
“You should have seen it!”
And then she proceeded to act out the whole thing. She was in the process of imitating the mysterious robed man as he cast his spell on the square when a customer came in. And not just any customer. It was the minister at my parents’ church. He took one look at Mom dancing and waving her arms and frowned, but before he could say anything, Sherri was on him. He was pretty young, in only his second job out of seminary, and not bad-looking. I somehow doubted, though, that Sherri had any idea he was a minister. It wasn’t as though she darkened the doors of any church very often.
If he’d had a response to Mom’s quickly ended antics, it was soon overshadowed by his response to finding a bleached blonde in painted-on clothes wrapped around him. Sherri sold gardening supplies like she was selling expensive cars, which is to say that she used sex appeal, though really, to be honest, she was mostly selling herself. I waited for Mom to react to Sherri’s behavior, but it seemed that was a lost cause. If I hadn’t been certain that Mom was immune to magic, I’d have sworn that Sherri really was a witch who’d cast a spell on Mom. It was like watching Rod pick up women back in his pre-Marcia days.
In spite of Sherri’s “help,” the minister got his vegetable seeds and left. We picked up where we left off, except Mom had quit trying to act out the courthouse square scene. “You don’t think it was a stroke, or anything like that, do you?” Teddy asked me under his breath.
“I don’t think so. She’s not acting like someone who’s had a stroke. I think she just got overexcited.”
“Maybe you should take her to see the doctor, just in case. I really don’t think she should be driving until we’re sure what happened.”
“Do you think maybe she’s got diabetes?” Molly asked. “Doesn’t that sometimes make people pass out?”
“I thought that was only after they were on insulin, though,” Teddy said. “That’s what makes their blood sugar drop.”
“It could be epilepsy,” Molly suggested.
Mom put her hands on her hips and glared at us. “I’ll thank you three to stop talking about me like I’m not here. I just got a little light-headed from excitement, is all. You don’t need to go diagnosing me.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe you’re being so rude to Mom,” Sherri cooed. “You should treat her with more respect.”
I might have had trouble resisting the urge to claw her eyes out if Davy hadn’t chosen that moment to push over the shelf he’d emptied with a loud squeal of delight.
“Oh, Davy,” Molly moaned. In a preemptive strike to prevent more disasters, Teddy picked a protesting Davy up and moved him away from the scene of the crime as Molly headed over to straighten everything up.
“I still think you should—” Teddy began, but was interrupted when Mom shrieked.
I said a silent prayer for sanity and patience before turning around to see what was happening now.
What ever had made me think that life would be quieter and simpler back home? The newcomer turned out to be Gene Ward, the subject of Mom’s pharmacy gossip.
“Hey, Teddy,” he said, hooking his thumbs in his belt loops. One of the loops immediately tore off.
“Hey, Gene,” Teddy responded as he continued trying to settle Davy down. “Can we help you with something?”
Gene had been in Teddy’s graduating class, which meant he must have been around thirty. Aside from clearer skin, a couple of fine lines around his eyes, and a hairline that had just started to recede, he looked like he’d been stuck in suspended animation since high school. In fact, he seemed to be wearing some of the same clothes he’d had then. He’d been something of a nerd—smart, but with next to no social skills. He might have been the first male under the age of sixty that Sherri didn’t throw herself at as soon as he came through the door.
“My dad sent me in for some stuff,” he said with a shrug as he handed a list to Teddy. Even there, he was stuck in a time warp, acting like a resentful teenager running errands for his parents.
Mom was still staring at him like she expected him to sprout horns, and he glanced warily at her a time or two while Teddy handed Davy back to his mother and went to put together Gene’s order.
I decided that pulling Mom away from the situation was probably the smartest course of action. We didn’t want to face the fallout that would happen with Gene’s dad if she said or did something crazy.