Excerpt: The Plot Stiffens

Here’s a short excerpt from my book Invasion of the Snatch Snatchers for your reading pleasure.


The next morning Ray heard a clattering sound at his window as he was stumbling out of bed. He shrugged it off and headed to the bathroom. Ray and his sister shared a bath. It had two doors – one leading to Maya’s room and the other to Ray’s. The door from Ray’s room was locked, however, which meant that Maya was using the bath.

The window clattered again and Ray, since he had nothing better to do, went to check it out. He looked outside just in time to see Austin toss a handful of gravel. The tiny stones pinged off his window with a dreadful racket. Ray threw open the sash and stuck his head out.

“What the fuck, man?” he yelled down. “Ring the goddamn doorbell!”

“Shhhh,” Austin admonished. “I need to talk to you.” Ray closed the window and pulled on a pair of torn jeans. Maya would be preening in front of the mirror all morning, so Ray had time to play along with this game. Besides, Austin wasn’t going to give up easily. He would just start tossing bits of the driveway at the window until Ray came downstairs.

“All right,” Ray said with a yawn as he padded across the driveway in bare feet. “This better be good.”

“First, tell me this,” Austin looked intensely at Ray. “Who was the first girl you ever hooked up with?”

“It was Mary Sue Leighton. Everybody knows that.” Austin narrowed his eyes at Ray.
Neither boy said anything for a moment. They just stood there looking at each other – Austin with an eyebrow cocked in exaggerated skepticism and Ray squinting against the morning sun.

Finally Ray tossed up his hands. “Oh, all right! I told everybody that I made it with Mary Sue, but she just let me touch her bra in exchange for copying my algebra homework. Happy?”

“Oh, thank God,” Austin pulled Ray into a tight hug. “You’re still you.”

“Have you been sniffing glue?” Ray twisted out of Austin’s grip. “What the hell is wrong
with you?”

“Dude,” Austin insisted sincerely. “We are in the middle of some serious shit. My mom is
not my mom.”

“What are you saying?” Ray took a few steps away from his friend and leaned against Maya’s sapphire blue Camaro. “You’re adopted?”

“No, no!” Austin waved off the suggestion. “I mean, the woman in my house is … is …an
imposter. She looks like my mom, sounds like my mom. But it isn’t her!”

“So,” Ray asked trying not to sound too sarcastic, “somebody kidnapped your mom and replaced her with a different person who looks exactly like her?”

“I know it sounds crazy,” Austin pleaded. “But she was being totally weird all night. Not acting like herself at all. It is definitely not my mom. I know it.”

“Maybe you should talk to somebody,” Ray suggested quietly. Somebody, he was thinking,
with lots of diplomas on the wall and access to mood altering drugs.

“No,” Austin exclaimed immediately. “The police might be a part of it. We don’t know! We
can’t trust anybody!”

“Oh, boy. Here we go.”

“My fake mom is taking the day off today.” That in itself was unusual. The woman was an insane workaholic in Ray’s opinion. Her law firm specialized in environmental law, which meant they had plenty of cases and didn’t win very often. She practically lived at work.

“I’m going to follow her and see what she does.”

“What? On your bike?”

“Well, I was going to…” Austin started to explain but he was interrupted by the front door slamming.

“Get the fuck away from my car, dweeb!” Ray jumped at the sound of his sister’s voice. She was striding across the driveway wearing wedge sandals, designer jeans, and big, round sunglasses that hid about half of her face. Similarly, about half of her breasts were hidden inside of a tight fitting blouse. The top three buttons were undone revealing the valley of her cleavage and the lacy edges of her black bra. The fourth button was straining mightily to hold the shirt together. She was looking at Ray like he was something foul and sticky that she had just stepped in. On the bright side, the bathroom was available.
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