I'm working on a new Grey Wolf Pack story, it's slow going with work and family, but it is on the way, and here is a peek of the start of the story. I've had this desire recently to write about amnesia - probably because I've been watching Overboard (who doesn't love a comedy with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn?), though I also very much enjoyed the recent remake - definitely worth a look - and I even found an Overboard gif (I recently found out how to add them to my website - can you tell?).
Anyway, the story will be about Ford, and here are the first two unedited chapters.
Jim Toot wiped the sweat off his brow as he dragged the board outside. The board was a little worse for wear, given all the inclement weather it had endured over the years. Once, it had proudly proclaimed that his diner was home to the best coffee in the whole of Virginia. Now, however, it claimed it was home to the best coff in Virgin. But, in spite of his wife, Mindy’s, vociferous opinion, he wasn’t going to bother either repainting it or, ha, buying another. There was no point because, in three hundred and thirty-three days, they were retiring. He already had a countdown clock, and retirement could not come soon enough.
While Mindy may love the hustle and bustle of owning and running a diner – meaning she liked having everyone pass through giving her gossip – Jim was sick to death of listening to the whining and moaning over his food. Okay, mostly, he got compliments – he should, he was a damn good cook who got his training in the army. If he could feed hungry barracks with tinned crap and make it taste good, then he could undoubtedly feed noisy families passing through on the way to their vacation. No, what bothered him were all the yuppies.
Yuppie was a word Jim used a lot, and, invariably, incorrectly. He considered anyone who had a food allergy, who asked for a slight variation to an item on the menu, was vegetarian or was – shudder – vegan – to be a yuppie. He had a particular dislike for people who came into his restaurant, asking for a vegan menu.
Hey, if any of those bozos came into his diner wanting food, they should eat what they got and like it. He worked damn hard on his menu! He didn’t consider that, perhaps, those with allergies had an excellent reason for not wanting to eat certain foods – like, not wanting to die.
Mindy, on the other hand, encouraged people to order off the menu and found the idea of veganism fascinating. She encouraged vegans to come to their restaurant and insisted that Jim make them something special. She had even made noises about becoming a vegan herself – this was after listening to a handsome young man extoll the health virtues of becoming a vegan for half an hour while eating the vegan cheese lasagna Mindy made Jim cook. Damn, flirtatious idiot. But, Jim considered he had nothing to worry about – long term. He’d seen Mindy eat hamburgers – you saw more delicate eaters on documentaries about lions.
Jim breathed in and out and smiled slightly. Less than a year left to go, and he and Mindy would be in their RV, traveling the country. Their daughter and her useless husband would take over the diner. Most likely, the creepy husband would turn it into a strip club or some other such nonsense within a week, but Jim wouldn’t care at that point.
He glanced up the road, half-expecting to see the sheriff moseying their way for his morning coffee. He would be there any minutes like clockwork – he had been for the last twenty years, and was already bemoaning where he could get the best coffee in Virginia when they left – he didn’t have much faith in their daughter. Or should that be, best coff in Virgin?
Jim frowned as he noticed a young woman strolling along the road. She was moving slowly and seemed to be looking around her, drinking in all the details, as if she had never seen them before. She wasn’t a local; he would know her if she was. He considered that she could be a hitchhiker, or maybe a tourist staying at the motel. But, strangely, she appeared to be wearing a nightdress, and she came closer, he noticed she wasn’t wearing any shoes. In spite of that, she didn’t look unduly worried, and Jim just stared as she approached, smiling beatifically at him.
“Good morning,” she said softly.
“M-morning,” he mumbled, glancing down at mud splatters on her feet.
“Nice day, isn’t it?” she commented, apparently uncaring as to the fact that she was wandering around in a nightdress and no shoes.
“Uh, yes,” he replied.
Jim looked her up and down with increasing worry, but he couldn’t see any marks or bruises on her, and other than her feet, she looked clean and healthy.
“Can I ask, where am I?”
Jim frowned. “Well, you’re outside my diner.”
He gestured to the building, and she looked up at the giant neon sign that proudly proclaimed ‘Toot’s Diner.’
She shook her head. “No, I mean, what town in this?”
“Well, it’s called Tulip Springs.” Most of the early European settlers were Dutch.
She thought about it for a few moments. “That’s a pretty name. I wonder how I got here.”
Jim shook his head at the almost surreal conversation. “Don’t you know?”
She shook her head.
His unease started to rise. “What’s your name, honey?” he asked, gently, while wondering where the heck the sheriff was – this was beginning to sound like a matter for him.
She chewed on her cheek for a few moments before giggling lightly. “You know, it’s the strangest thing, I have absolutely no idea!”
Six months later
Penny stuck out her tongue in concentration as she carefully cut around the outside of another coupon. When finished, she looked at it uncertainly. As far as she could recall, she’d never eaten capers before, but the coupon gave her 75% off the recommended retail price, so maybe she’d give them a go.
Of course, for all she knew, she could love them, and she could have eaten them every single day BA – which means, before amnesia.
She bit her lip and started clipping another coupon for tins of lima beans. Again, she didn’t know if she liked them, but for an 80% discount, she was willing to love them.
In the last six months, no memories had returned to her. Everything, until she walked up to Toot’s Diner and met Jim, was just a complete blank. She’d tried all sorts of therapy the town sheriff was willing to throw at her. Heck, she’d even visited the Magical Mayhem stage show two towns over, and submitted to being hypnotized to get something of her former life back. Sadly, nothing worked, and the hypnotism merely resulted in her clucking like a chicken whenever someone said ‘coffee’ for a few days.
Penny’s eye flickered to the TV where Carlos was admitting to Sister Juanita that he was the father of Mariela’s twins, but he only slept with her because Mariela was dressed as Sister Juanita, and it was her he truly loved. She smiled; while she was rooting for him, she couldn’t believe he had been dumb enough to fall for Mariela’s tricks – the woman was evil and clearly couldn’t be trusted!
She didn’t know if she used to love telenovelas, but now, she was hooked. It also gave her some small clue as to where she came from – she could understand and speak Spanish. While, it felt natural to speak English first, speaking Spanish was easy and gave her little pause. That added to her caramel brown skin, and dark brown eyes and hair would suggest that – probably, possibly, maybe – she was from a Latin American country. Or at least, her family was. She didn’t like to assume anything, but the idea that she had narrowed her ancestors down to a continent made her feel a little less adrift. It was a small thing, but she would take what she could get.
Of course, everyone had been so lovely to her. The sheriff had tried to find out who she was, but there didn’t seem to be any trace of her anywhere. If someone was missing her, they weren’t looking very hard. Neither her DNA or fingerprints were in the database – so at least she wasn’t a dangerous felon. But, no amount of posters or local news reports yielded anyone who ‘knew this woman.’
Penny sighed and rubbed her huge stomach. At least she wasn’t going through this alone. The baby gave an answering kick, and she felt reassured.
A hospital check-up proved two things when she founds – one, that she had a bump on the back of her head, and two, that she was two months pregnant. Also, she didn’t have any injuries other than the head bump – for which she was glad.
Mindy and Jim – who had been with her through sheer sympathy from the start, were horrified to learn she was pregnant and seemed to think her circumstances were downright tragic. Okay, yes, it wasn’t ideal to be pregnant, nameless, and not have a past of any kind. But Penny wasn’t about to fall about crying over something she couldn’t change. Yes, she had amnesia. No, she had no worldly possessions or money. Yes, she was single and pregnant and had no idea if there was a father out there searching for her. But things could be worse!
Penny obviously wasn’t her real name. No, it was the name on the nametag for the uniform Mindy had given her. The name Penny just seemed to stick – well, it matched her uniform and was as good a name as any.
Feeling somehow responsible for her – even though she protested she wasn’t – Mindy insisted Penny work for them at the diner, and that she stay in their RV until she found herself a place for herself. Even gruff Jim, who didn’t seem to like anyone, was intent on taking care of her. That was perhaps a testament to how sad they believed her circumstances to be – because, this was a guy who insisted on getting a receipt from his daughter when he let her borrow ten bucks - he was not naturally generous!
But Penny wasn’t complaining. She was excited about the baby coming along, so much so she made jokes about the baby being born with amnesia and not recognizing her! Yes, she knew things weren’t exactly going to be easy for her – financially, at least, which is why she was determinedly cutting coupons and scrimping and saving every penny. But things could be a lot worse. For one thing, while she was keen to find out about her past, she couldn’t help but wonder whether it was a past she would want to remember.
“Oh!” exclaimed Penny was Sister Juanita slapped Carlos. He then grasped her arms and crashed his lips against hers for a smoking-hot kiss. She resisted at first, but eventually, she melted against him.
Penny sighed and felt a thrill of arousal. She almost blushed and started scanning the paper for more coupons. She spied tins of anchovies with 90% off, but decided to leave it – as much as she wanted to save money, even she had her limits.
Sex was not something she had given much thought to over the past six months. Though, clearly, it was something that been on her mind about eight months ago. The baby duly kicked her, and she patted her stomach soothingly. But, as she flicked her eyes back to the screen, to find Sister Juanita virtually trying to climb over Carlos, she couldn’t deny that she wouldn’t mind a little romance. Or even just a little sex. But then, who would look at a pregnant, amnesia-stricken waitress twice?