AUTHOR: Michael Rupured
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning
LENGTH: 220 Pages
RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2016
BLURB: Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver.
Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody—especially young people.
Where are they? Tellumo Magnamater checked his smartphone for the twentieth time in as many minutes and peeked out between the blinds again. Ice and snow melted from car hoods and rooftops in a cacophony of splashes and trickling water. Sooty ridges of snow the same shade of gray as the late morning sky edged the glistening asphalt.
He hadn’t seen his mothers since August, when they’d helped him move to Fallisville for his first teaching job, three days before the first day of school. He’d planned to visit Cincinnati for Christmas until Snowmageddon—thirty inches of snow in a week’s time—had brought Northern Kentucky to a standstill, putting the kibosh on his holiday plans. Everyone else’s too. Churches canceled Christmas services, and bars remained closed on New Year’s Eve. Until yesterday’s warm front had pushed the temperature into the lower fifties, the mercury hadn’t climbed more than a degree or two above freezing since before Christmas, when the flurries had begun.
As Tellumo checked his smartphone for messages again, a white panel truck with Amazon Home Repair on the side in bright blue letters came into view—sporting noticeably more bumper stickers than the last time he’d seen it. He returned the device to his pocket and glanced around his efficiency apartment once more. Everything looked ready for company.
He ran out to greet his guests. Before the truck had come to a complete stop, the passenger side door opened and Trish bounded toward him, her camel coat unbuttoned to reveal the red-and-green plaid pants and gaudy Santa sweater she’d worn on Christmas for as long as he could remember.
“I’ve missed you so much!” She flung her arms around his neck, kissed his cheek, and held him tight.
He hugged her back, surprised by the tears in his eyes. “I’ve missed you too.” He kissed her cheek, released her, and then turned to Jules, waiting beside them.
“Sorry we’re late.” Jules squeezed him hard. “Roads haven’t been this clear since before Christmas. Everyone and her sister was out.” She let go of him and folded her arms across her chest. The creases in her khaki pants and the long sleeves of the oxford cloth shirt she wore were sharp enough to cut hair. “We made good time once we got out of Cincinnati.”
“I was starting to worry—you’re never late.” Tellumo kissed her cheek. “Need me to help you carry anything in?”
“Nah.” Jules shook her head. “Sorry to disappoint you, but there’s not much to carry.” She gave him a grin and a wink. “I’ll unload the car. You guys go on inside and catch up.”
“If you insist.” Trish grabbed Tellumo by the hand and pulled him toward his apartment. “Give her a few minutes to calm down,” she whispered. “We’ve been arguing since we got off of I-75.”
“About what?” Jules hadn’t seemed the least bit agitated or annoyed. Tellumo hung Trish’s coat on a hook on the back of his front door, leaving it ajar so Jules could get in with her hands full. “The car thing again?”
Trish nodded, plopped onto the sofa, and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “We’ve argued about it for weeks. She wanted your Christmas present from us to be the money for a down payment.” She patted the sofa cushion and motioned for him to sit. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve missed you too, and having a car would make visits home easier, but if you don’t want the responsibility….”
“I don’t.” He sat down beside her and smiled. Though he still sometimes wondered, he’d long ago stopped trying to figure out which woman was his biological mother. Trish and Jules weren’t telling and looked enough alike to make guessing difficult. Knowing when he’d been younger might have made a difference, but after all these years was unlikely to alter his feelings for either parent. “I thought about getting a car, but I really don’t want the added expense.”
“Makes sense to me.” Trish ran her fingers through her curly brown hair and looked around. “This place can’t cost much. What do you do with your money?”
“Save it—like you’ve drilled into me since I could walk.” The furnished apartment had come with everything but dishes and linens. His additional needs were few—a smartphone, a laptop, Internet access with Wi-Fi, and a decent video gaming system. He lived on a fraction of his income and banked the rest. “Do we need to have a family meeting about the car thing… again?”
“No.” She shrugged. “Your mind is made up, and I’m not changing my vote.” She looped her arm over his shoulder and pulled him close. “Voting again would be pointless.”
“Thanks, Trish.” He kissed her cheek. His mothers had almost always presented a united front—especially in family meetings. On the rare occasion when they disagreed, his had been the deciding vote.
Michael Rupured loves to write. Before learning the alphabet, he filled page after page with rows of tiny circles he now believes were his first novels, and has been writing ever since. He lives in Athens, Georgia, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, came out as a gay man at the age of twenty-one in the late 1970s, and considers surviving his wild and reckless twenties to have been a miracle. To find out what Michael’s up to now, visit his blog (rupured.com), follow him on Twitter (@crotchetyman) or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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