Marvella Watson Novels
Debut Novel - Sour Grapes
Winner of the 2008 Royal Palm Literary Award in Humor/Satire from the Florida Writers Association.
Available online at: www.bbotw.com and all major booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
After months of careful research, mild mannered matron Marvella Watson thought she had come up with a foolproof plan for murdering her husband. Unfortunately, like the old adage "the best laid plans of mice and men..." she hadn't quite thought of everything. Who could have foreseen or planned for things like a biker gang, speeding ticket, or Sasquatch? Now she was scrambling to cover her tracks, and deal with the unexpected problems that kept cropping up. If she didn't keep one step ahead of them all, she'd soon be spending her golden years locked away behind prison walls.
Read an Excerpt!
Dialing her son's number, Marvella easily managed to put a cry in her voice when he answered. "Junior, your father is really, really sick, but he told me not to call Doc Miller. I'm so worried, I think he's having a stroke or something", she wailed.
"I'll be over in twenty minutes, don't call the doctor if Dad said not to. I'll decide if it's necessary when I get there", Junior huffed into the phone.
Thirty-two minutes later, Marvella heard Frank Junior's car pull up in the drive. She rushed out to meet him, wringing her hands and nervously chattering on and on. Getting a bit testy with him, for being later than he had told her, she snapped at him like a terrier worrying a bone. Snarling at her to get a grip on herself, Junior marched upstairs to check on his father. A moment later, he rushed back down the stairs, grabbed up the phone, and punched in 911. Frantically yelling at the person who answered, Junior screamed that his father was dying, to get a God damn ambulance to 2013 Delmont immediately. After giving the dispatcher directions to the house, he hung up and ordered Marvella to find their insurance cards, get her purse and then go sit in his van. When she just stood there staring at him, he barked at her to "snap out of it" and do what he'd told her. She cringed at his angry tone, but scurried off to do as he ordered.
No sooner had she taken a seat in the van, then the harsh lights of the approaching ambulance lit up the side of the house. The wailing siren had doors up and down the street flying open, as all of their neighbors poured out to see what was wrong. Soon there was a small crowd gathered around the van, and strung out across the lawn. Everyone was either offering up words of comfort to Marvella, or gathered in small groups on the edge of the lawn, whispering to each other about Frank's fate.
Officer Jordan, the young cop who had stopped Marvella for speeding, showed up as well. He went inside for a moment, then came out and strode up to where Marvella sat huddled inside the van.
"Can you tell me what happened to your husband Miss Marvella?" he asked, gently resting a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"He wouldn't let me call the doctor this afternoon when he first got sick", Marvella softly cried. "Then he just started shaking all over, and I didn't know what to do." Scared out of her wits that the officer would somehow surmise what she had actually done, Marvella began to tremble with fear.
"Good Lord man, can't you see that she's in shock?" Frank Junior growled, as he stomped up beside Office Jordan. "My Father has had a stroke, that's what's happened. Now just do your job and get these people off my Father's lawn."
Tucking his mother inside the van, Junior slammed the door, then circled around to the driver's side. Revving up the engine, he waited until the ambulance pulled out, then drove frantically off behind it. He never lost sight of it all the way to the hospital emergency room entrance. Marvella thought she'd throw up; he had driven so fast, and so crazily.
It was easy to look dazed whenever anyone approached her in the waiting room at County General, because she was. The strain of waiting to hear what the doctors found out about Frank's condition had her nerves totally frazzled. All of the family was there now, along with their pastor, and her friends Clarice and Peggy. Styrofoam cups of bitter vending machine coffee littered the room. Everyone kept going to get a cup, but no one seemed inclined to drink them. It was just something to do while they waited for word on Frank.
When the double doors at the end of the hall swung open, to reveal Doctor Miller's grim face, they all steeled themselves to hear the worst. He walked over and sat down next to Marvella, taking her trembling hand in his. "I don't know a good way to do this Marvella, so I'll just keep it simple. We did all we could, but Frank's heart just gave out. I'm so sorry."
For a moment, Marvella wasn't sure she had heard him correctly. Then it sank in, her plan had worked - Frank was dead. Closing her eyes, she silently crossed herself, asking God to forgive her for what she had done.
"I want a full autopsy," bellowed Frank Junior, leasing to his feet. "My Father was as healthy as a horse, and there wasn't a damn thing wrong with his heart. You people messed up badly, and now you're trying to cover it up."
Everyone gasped at Junior's out burst. Several people jumped up and tried to embrace him, thinking he was in shock, but he shoved them all away and stomped out of the room. Bert came over to comfort his mother, pulling her into his arms and muttering softly in her ear, that it was going to be all right. "Junior's just upset" he softly stated. Everyone else seemed too stunned to speak.
Doc Miller loudly coughed, getting everyone's attention. "Ah Marvella, I'm afraid we will have to do a full autopsy. Junior is right, Frank Senior had no history of heart problems, and from the ambulance crew's report, he was having seizures. That symptom's not consistent with anyone who' having a heart attack."
Though Marvella had prepared for this event in her big plan, it still shook her badly, and she burst into tears. "Oh poor Frank." she wailed. Bert pulled her closer, nodding to Doc Miller, and telling him to do what was necessary. Then he murmured to his mother that they should go home, there was nothing more to be done that night. Marvella nodded, letting Bert pull her to her feet. She leaned against him all the way out to the parking lot. As he helped into the car, she melted into the back seat as if she had no bones left inside to hold her up anymore. Frank was dead; he was really, truly dead.