Authors in the Spotlight
Book Title: BABY, DRIVE SOUTH
Marcus Armstrong gaped at his two younger brothers sitting on the other side of his desk. “Is this a joke? The last thing we need in this town is women!”
Middle brother Kendall averted his gaze, but their younger brother Porter leaped from his chair.
“This isn’t a joke, and you’re being an idiot!”
Kendall stood and positioned himself between them. “That’s enough, you two. Let’s sit down and discuss this like businessmen—and brothers.”
At Kendall’s calming tone, Marcus’s anger diffused. Kendall’s refereeing was the only way the three of them had gotten as far as they had rebuilding their hometown of Sweetness, Georgia, which had been leveled by a tornado ten years ago. No lives had been lost, but with the infrastructure of the dying, remote mountain town obliterated, residents had abandoned their property.
It had been Kendall’s idea to rebuild the town of Sweetness on the industries of alternative energy and recycling. Four months into the undertaking, they were making progress and seeing eye to eye on the reconstruction efforts…except on one critical topic.
“Kendall,” Marcus said, “surely you don’t support Porter’s cockamamie idea of bringing women here.”
Kendall shrugged. “The men want female companionship.”
“We’re only a few hours from Atlanta,” Marcus remarked.
“Four hours,” Porter reminded him. “And when the men caravan into the city, some of them don’t come back because they’re either in jail or in love.”
Marcus pulled on his chin. It was getting harder to recruit new workers to replace the men who went AWOL.
A commotion outside the office trailer caught their attention. Kendall looked out the window, then bolted for the door. “It’s another fight.”
Marcus followed his brothers outside where a few hundred yards away, two men rolled in the red mud, fists flying. Marcus reached for a water hose nearby and turned a stream full force on the fighting men to break them up. “Now everybody—get back to work!”
Grumbling, the men returned to the mountainous pile of tires that were being shredded for mulch.
Everything was moving forward as planned…except for the constant interruptions of fighting among the men.
“It’s only going to get worse,” Porter said. “These guys are together all the time, with no way to blow off steam.”
“I agree,” Kendall said. “And having women here will help to grow the town faster.”
Marcus gritted his teeth. “Where are they supposed to live? In the men’s barracks?” The utilitarian rectangular building sat at the end of the work site.
“We could build a boarding house across from the diner,” Kendall offered. “It could be the start of our downtown.”
With the whiff of defeat in the air, Marcus sighed. “Okay. Porter, you get the men started on building a boardinghouse and Kendall, you figure out how to import women.”
Marcus turned, his muscles tense from a palpable sense of impending doom.
“Where are you going?” Porter called.
“To take cover,” Marcus yelled. “Because you boys are about to unleash another natural disaster on this town.”