Excerpt from HORSING AROUND WITH MURDER (First-Night Dinner Speech)

To ease the pain of public speaking, sixty-something year old Abby, who is forced to deliver a first-night dinner speech to their dude ranch guests, has indulged in a couple of glasses too many:

After  beckoning to a server for refills all around, I took a fortifying slurp and started talking. “Good evening, everyone. Welcome to your first dinner at Grizzly Gulch. I have information to share with you before we start.” Pleased with the way my voice boomed into the room and echoed off the ceiling, I ignored my sister’s scowl and continued. “First off, I will neither confirm nor deny the assertion that I’m going commando tonight.” Oops. Yeah, maybe a little blitzed after all.

Over the laughter and a couple of wolf whistles, one of the twin boys yelled, “What’s going commando?”

I spoke into the mic, concentrating like crazy on my enunciation. “It means not wearing any underwear, dear.”

“Then we go commando all the time,” the other twin yelled. “So does Dad.”

Hey, this was easy. And fun. I was a born public speaker. I replied, “Well done, boys. Air out your dangly bits every chance you get. In fact that’s excellent advice for all males.” Glancing at my sister, I hastened on, “But I digress. In addition to our announcements this afternoon after we found the corpse—”

Dodie tugged on my sleeve, whispering, “Ixnay on orpse-cay.”

Uh-oh. I recognized the pig-Latin of our childhood. Without missing a beat, I said, “What I meant to say is that in spite of today’s terrible tragedy, our workshop schedule remains unchanged. Tomorrow afternoon, everyone is invited to a workshop called The Challenges of Semen Collection, followed by a highly stimulating, hands-on semen collection demo.”

Dead silence followed my announcement.

Catching Dodie’s head-thunk, I clarified my comment. “These events are part of our equine breeding symposium.”

A collective sigh of relief rippled through the room, followed by excited chatter. Dollars to donuts tomorrow’s demo would have standing room only.

HORSING AROUND WITH MURDER, a Senior Sleuth Mystery, is now available on Amazon for pre-order.

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