Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, women on November 30, 2014




Bill Ludowski, owner of the town’s largest employer – Bill’s Big and Tasty Sausage- dies whilst he and Mandy Minhouser’s grandmother Lila Rose were doing their best Adam and Eve imitation under the hydrangea bushes. That Gran and Big Bill had an affair that began around the same time as World War II is a secret that everyone in Kassenburg knows. But a new secret is about to be revealed. Big Bill has bequeathed the sausage factory to Lila, with Mandy as CEO.

Mandy doesn’t know squat about the sausage biz and Bill’s grandson Hughes, the factory’s CFO, does everything in his power to close the Big and Tasty. But Mandy has the one thing that Hughes doesn’t– family and friends willing to put themselves on the line to save the factory. With hope, faith and a whole lot of luck, Mandy and company might manage to do just that.


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Over at Over’s Pond

You might think that driving all the way out to Over’s Pond, to the little bend where Randy kept the Airstream parked, somewhat illegally, on Big Bill Ludowski’s land, was overkill. It was eight miles out of town. On that day, of all days, I didn’t have eight miles to spare. Besides which, Randy, despite the transient look of an Airstream with a chemical toilet, was pretty much a permanent fixture in my life. He had a cell phone. A cell phone whose number was on my speed dial as three, one being Gran Lila’s house and two being Sammy’s school. Given all this, you’d no doubt think that driving all the way up an old dirt road to remind Randy to pick up Sammy from kindergarten was overkill. You could have just called, you are probably inclined to say. Which is, pretty much word for word, exactly what Randy said.

“Your phone’s turned off,” was my response.

“So leave a message.”

“For when? Next Thursday?”

“I’m not about to forget my own kid, Mandy.”

“Right. Like you didn’t forget him at the Sausage Festival softball tournament.”

“That was different,” Randy said, “we won. And it only happened once. And I turned around and got him, didn’t I?”

“Half an hour later, Rand. He’s going to require a lot of therapy.”

“Given his family, he’s going to require a lot of therapy anyway.”

Because I know that you are a bright person, by now you have probably figured out why I drove eight miles to remind Sammy’s other parent of his responsibility to his five-year-old son.

I could add to my case by telling you that, when I drove up, my Neon kicking up dust like nobody’s business, Randy was sitting under the awning with the dog, a lovable mutt we call Alpo, on the green Naugahyde couch that passed for lawn furniture. Randy was the one barking.

Well, okay, he was trying to teach Alpo to speak and Alpo, sweet mutt that he is, might be what you call a slow learner. It took him six months of intense training to learn sit.

When I drove up, Randy had his head tilted back full howl while Alpo sat with his head cocked, trying to figure out what his man was doing.

“Nice howl,” I said, climbing from the Neon. “I always knew you were part wolf.”

By now you are no doubt wondering how I ended up with a guy like Randy in the first place. I mean, I’m a nice enough girl, relatively smart, okay looking in a blonde-haired-blue-eyed-girl-next-door kind of way. You’d no doubt question my judgment, Randy-wise, if I told you that he had nine pink flamingos sitting in tableau on the weed patch that passed for a lawn. And that the couch, the aforementioned Naugahyde, was one of many treasures he unearthed along his garbage route. Randy could have opened his own treasure museum. His booty included, but was not limited to, an ashtray in the shape of Texas, a little silver jaguar that was, presumably, once fastened to the hood of a little silver Jaguar, and a gold gilded statue of a naked boy that peed when you pushed down on his head.

Given this, you would be inclined to ask, “What are you? Crazy?”

I have no ready defense, except to say that love or lust or whatever that weird chemical reaction between two people is, well, it’s weird. It’s chemical. It’s uncontrollable.

There is also the look. The one Randy gave me after I made the wolf remark. Not wolfish, exactly. More as though I were a banana cream pie and he was deciding whether or not he had room for desert.


About the Author

Ute cUte (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * Pinterest * Love Stories (available daily via Paper Li)

Books and Stories by Ute Carbone:

Blueberry Truth * The P-Town Queen * Afterglow * Searching for Superman * Sweet Lenora
The Lilac Hour * To The Wind * Dancing in the White Room * All Things Returned * Confessions of the Sausage Queen