Twenty-two-year-old Imogene Duckworthy is waiting tables at Huey's Hash in tiny Saltlick, TX, itching to jump out of her rut and become a detective. When Uncle Huey is found murdered in the diner, a half-frozen package of mesquite-smoked sausage stuffed down his throat, Immy gets her chance. Immy's mother, Hortense is hauled in for the crime. Unclear of the exact duties of a PI, Immy starts a fire in the bathroom wastebasket to bust Mother out of jail. On the run from the law with her mother and her toddler daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, Immy wonders, now what?
"That's it, Uncle Huey!" Imogene Duckworthy whipped off her apron and flung it onto the slick, stainless steel counter. "I quit!" If only her voice didn’t sound so…young. Her order pad, pencil, even the straws skittered out of their pouches and across the floor. She took a step back, her shoes sticking to the trod-upon-after-lunch debris of squished lettuce, blobs of gravy, and bits of unidentifiable brown stuff.
"You can't quit, darlin'," drawled Uncle Huey in that thin, nasal voice that made him seem six inches shorter than his five ten. "You're family." He dipped a scoop of mashed potatoes onto a plate, ladled thick brown gravy on top, and handed it to the cook.
"I'm not working double shifts again next week." Immy hoped she sounded serious. Mature. Convincing.
"Well, you'll just have to, won't you? Since Xenia just quit on me today, you and April are all the waitresses I've got left."
Clem, the portly cook, piled the hot plate with thick slabs of meatloaf, spooned green beans beside them, and shoved it into April's waiting hands. Immy hadn't eaten lunch yet and the oniony smell of the meatloaf kicked up some saliva under her tongue. She watched April swing through the double doors and glimpsed the white-washed dining room, full of scarred wooden tables and chairs, almost empty of customers now.
She’d worked and played in this restaurant her entire twenty-two years. It had been started by her grandparents and handed down to her father and her uncle. Since her father’s death, of course, Uncle Huey had run it alone.
Would she miss this place? Maybe, but she was quitting anyway.
Immy pounded her fist on the work counter. Hugh Duckworthy jumped. "No, Uncle Huey. April is all you've got left. And if you'd kept your mitts to yourself, you'd still have Xenia." Immy's hands shook as she snatched her purse and jacket from her cubby, but she succeeded in stomping out the back door of the diner, past the cook and busboy who were staring openmouthed. Aside from troublesome customers, she didn't talk back to people often, even when she wanted to.
Even if Uncle Huey was her father's brother, he was a first class jerk.
© by Kaye George 2011