CAN A BROKEN CHARACTER STILL OFFER HUMOR? WHY NOT?
by DJ Adamson
From: Let Her Go, Lillian Dove Series
(Christmas Tree is missing from the living room.)
The fresh snow covered anything that remained an hour ago. I shut the door and walked the room looking for evidence.
I found threads of silver tinsel. Dried needles. Dust bunnies scattering. And an overlooked hairball.
I ran over and re-opened the front door. “Bacardi?” Out in this weather? He’d freeze his tail off.
Bacardi’s my cat. He used to sleep at the foot of my bed when I lived in my mother’s condo. Since I pried him out of there, one claw at a time, he’d taken to sleeping on the couch. He was giving me the cold shoulder.
Something Bacardi and I share, attitude.
The couch was empty. I checked under it. More dust bunnies. They breed like rabbits.
I raced back down the hallway to my bedroom to get dressed.
How had someone broken in, stolen my first Christmas tree, and got out and away without me hearing them?
I didn’t wait until the next day to decorate. I got the tree up and twinkling as soon as I came home from with it. Then I popped a bowl of popcorn and flipped on a movie, A Wonderful Life.
Now, I pulled on jeans, a sweater, and shoved my feet into boots. I yanked my coat out of the closet, jostled my arms in while returning to the kitchen.
I picked up the phone and dialed 911.
“Frytown Police. What’s your emergency?”
I’d expected Donna Stockman to answer, but then I remembered she was taking the day off to make Christmas cookies. The Baptist Church was having a Christmas Bazaar after this morning’s service. Donna wasn’t a Baptist member, but she liked baking cookies.
“Delores, this is Lillian. I’ve been robbed?”
In a world of new technologies, the reason to keep a landline is so that the police dispatch computer can log-on for information about the caller. Can’t do that yet with cell phones. I knew my name and my address appeared on her computer as soon as she took the call.
“Was Discount hit again?” She asked.
Her comment referenced the trashing of Discount last October.
“No. Someone stole my Christmas tree.”
“My Christmas tree.”
“Your Christmas tree?”
“Delores, please quit repeating me. I woke up and found my front door open and my Christmas tree gone.”
She giggled. “Was it a live tree? Are you talking about a kidnapping?” She gulped back the giggles. “Is there anyone in the house?”
It did sound ridiculous. “No. Whoever took it did it while I was asleep.”
“Sounds like a joke. Anything else missing?”
“I don’t think so.” I sighed. “You’re right. It’s kids playing a prank.” I guess I had left the door unlocked. “I hope you don’t get other calls like this today.”
“You’re the first.” She said, “Miner’s on duty. I’ll have him come by.”
“No. Don’t. If I find anything else missing, I’ll let you know. But, as you say, this sounds like a joke. Only, I’m not laughing.”
I hung up. It was then I noticed the clean kitchen counter. Not that I’m messy. I live on sandwiches and takeout. But, I was sure I’d left the popcorn bowl on the counter, not in the sink.
Suddenly, it dawned on me. I knew who’d been in my house.
Picked my lock.
Pilfered my tree.
Let’s start with the premise that we are all broken, in some way. Being damaged is the major theme for all the Lillian Dove series. Yet, while she may be a little more broken than others, there is also the awareness that we all have our problems, addictions, habits, compulsions. Addictions: certain foods, soda, shopping. Compulsions: like buying another book when we have a shelf-load.
Lillian biggest problem is that she leaps before thinking, thus getting herself into more trouble than she can usually handle.
While this books first scene begins with some giggles, it quickly turns to tragedy, murder, and inner contemplation. Putting my character into struggling situations both emotionally and physically shows her adaptability no matter where she may have leapt and what circumstances she needs to tackle.
D. J. Adamson is the author of the Lillian Dove Mystery series and the Deviation science fiction-suspense trilogy. Let Her Go, the third in the Lillian series has just been released. She also teaches writing and literature at Los Angeles colleges. And to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she is the Membership Director of the Los Angeles Sisters in Crime, Vice President of Central Coast Sisters in Crime and an active member of the Southern California Mystery Writers. Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or her newsletter that interviews and reviews authors go to http://www.djadamson.com. Make friends with her on Facebook or Goodreads.