Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Saundra Julian
eBook Category: Mainstream/Romance
eBook Description: Goldie Cook's legacy was three illegal whiskey stills in rural Oklahoma and a business deal with a member of the Chicago Mafia. As the country struggled with Prohibition and the Great Depression, she fought to keep her family together after the death of her mother and the cold blooded murder of her father.
eBook Publisher: Solstice Publishing/Solstice Publishing
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2012
* * * *
A young blonde girl shaded her eyes against the afternoon sun and glanced toward the old jail. Deep shadows hid the man inside, but she knew the voice of her father and saw his arm waving frantically between the bars. She started to wave back and thought better of it as she heard a group of her schoolmates approach. Ducking her head, she quickened her pace hoping to outdistance them before her father's shouts attracted their attention.
Her best friend, Ellen, ran to catch up with her. "Hold up, Goldie."
"Have to hurry home," she called over her shoulder. "See ya tomorrow."
Her father's call came again, louder this time.
Looking back toward the jail, she got a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. The snickering came from behind her and the ridicule followed. "Goldie . . . Goldie," mimicked the preacher's eldest son.
Tearing her gaze away from her father, she turned her attention to her tormentor. "Shut up, Charlie!"
Junior, Charlie's younger brother, took a stance beside his brother. "What's a matter, Goldie, is your old man in jail again?"
Charlie cupped his hands around his mouth. "Willie Cook's in jail again, Willie Cook's in jail again." Both boys laughed and began to act out their own version of a drunk. Charlie staggered and fell down on the dirt road while Junior hiccupped, crossed his eyes, and whirled around in circles. Giggling came from the side of the road where Ellen and three other girls watched the show.
Filled with rage and indignation, Goldie's petite frame seemed to grow in magnitude as she pushed past the girls and advanced on the boys with her fists clenched. "Stop it, Charlie Wicklow." she screamed. "And you too, Junior. Stop it right now!"
"Got any moonshine in your lunch bucket, Goldie?" Junior asked.
Charlie giggled and slapped his brother on the back. "Yeah, Goldie, you got any hooch?"
Stooping to pick up a handful of dirt and gravel, she continued toward them. "Damn you two, I said stop it!"
Charlie stuck his tongue out at her and she rewarded him with a face full of dirt.
"White trash!" Junior yelled, pulling his older brother away from her. "You alright, Charlie?"
"I'm okay," he said, wiping at his face with the back of his hand. "And you're right, Junior, she's no-account . . . just like her ole man."
Goldie advanced toward them. They laughed, backed away, then turned and ran down the road toward the Baptist church. Remembering the girls, she turned her attention to them. "Anybody else have anything to say?"
Ellen was the only one not smiling and the smirks of the other girls disappeared under Goldie's fierce gaze. No one answered; instead, they busied themselves brushing away the dust that filtered back on them during her attack on Charlie. She turned her back on them, squared her shoulders and sniffed back angry tears. "I'm sorry, Goldie," Ellen said, squeezing her shoulder as she and the others walked around her.
"Goldie, girl!" her father's urgent call came again.
Taking a deep breath, she cut across Jefferson Street and ran down the path behind the courthouse to the fieldstone jail that dated back to when Oklahoma was still Indian Territory. The smell of sour whiskey, stale tobacco, unwashed bodies and urine reeked through the barred window making her nauseated. She held her nose and stood on her tiptoes. "I'm here, Papa."
Willie squeezed his face between the iron bars. "Goldie, run home and get some money to get me outta here. Bring whatever Mama's got put back. Hurry now."
She nodded her head. "Be right back, Papa." Dashing around the courthouse, she ran across the road and down the wooden sidewalk on Main Street. Her flight was interrupted when the screen door of the General Store opened and her mother's sister stepped out. Skidding to a stop did not prevent her from bumping into the package-laden woman. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Aunt Lou."
Lucille Brown shifted her bundles and glared at her niece. "Aren't you supposed to be in school?" she asked looking at a large clock mounted on a pole outside the store.
Goldie edged around her. "Oh, that old clock's always wrong. School's out and I'm on my way home."
When she saw Lucille narrow her eyes in the direction of the courthouse, she knew her aunt was aware of her father's incarceration. Smiling at the sour-faced woman, she bolted like a young colt. "Gotta go, bye Aunt Lou."
Lucille shook her head. "Just like her father," she said under her breath.
As she ran down the dirt road toward home, Goldie remembered how upset her mother had been the night before when her father hadn't come home for supper. How, against her protests, Annabelle had gotten out of bed and waited on the dark porch for any sign of his return. She felt ashamed when she remembered she'd fallen asleep sometime before dawn and left her mother alone in her fruitless vigil.