Ex-CFO Peg Savage is quick to find a miscalculation on a spreadsheet, but slower with human error--especially when it comes to her husband Clark. One night he gets her drunk with promises of a romantic adventure, and she agrees to move from her Chicago home of twenty years, to Key West-- despite her fear of bridges. Forty-two panic attacks later, she is living in paradise--or more accurately, where the weird go pro. Just weeks into the second honeymoon, Peg is blindsided when Clark takes a job in Cuba... without a return ticket.
Peg’s best friend Trudy is a long time Clark-hater and smells a rat. But fiercely loyal Peg believes he is coming back. She hopes the same of her loveable, but not-very-well-trained dog, Nipper, who has fallen in love with Lulu, a chihuahua across town. Nipper leads Peg to Randolph, Lulu’s “stay-at-home daddy.” He’s also the snippy ambassador for all things Key West. Randolph reluctantly takes Peg under his wing, helping her to navigate the bizarre world of paddle board yoga, lobstering, and the infamous Fantasy Fest parade. The result is a heat stroke, an arrest, and a no-show. Peg manages to alienate Randolph completely, even as the romance between Nipper and Lulu thrives. When a tropical depression descends, Peg confronts the hurricane head on to save Nipper and Lulu. And maybe her reputation while she’s at it. It’s time for this midwestern fish out of water to grow a pair of legs--and perhaps a pair of cojones since her husband is clearly not coming back.
“Sunshine state... my soggy ass.”
It was dark. The power and the AC had gone out hours ago. Peg hugged her dog under the makeshift bed-tent, clutching him into her sweaty pajama’d breasts. An engraved locket pinned to Nipper’s blue life vest dangled under his pirate dog collar. Hurricane rain pummeled the bedroom window--the violent wind shook the glass panes. Peg wondered about the moaning sound until she realized it was coming from her own throat.
“AHHH.” She shrieked at the sudden crash on the metal roof. Several days of binge drinking without proper oral hygiene, or any hygiene for that matter, produced noxious vapors in the tent. Nipper’s nostrils flared as he took in the odors and licked her flourescent orange, cheesy, tear-stained fingers.
The teepee bedspread crushed Peg’s hair into a Bozo coif. Sitting on her knees, she released her grip on Nipper and reached over her head to hold up the blanket with the end of the flashlight. The beam of light cut through the darkness jumping across the sparkling jewelry strewn in a heap on the crumpled, food-stained sheets. With her other hand, Peg lifted one long gold necklace from the tangled jewels. She sniffled as she placed the shiny strand over the dog’s neck. Nipper yawned anxiously.
She under-armed the flashlight and squeezed the dog tightly. More sounds of destruction emanated from the other room, re-activating her gooseflesh. The booze and chips from yesterday made their way back up her digestive track. Nipper cowered, squinting his eyes, ears flat to his head.
Do not throw up. Get a grip.
Snuggling him close she yelled over the din. “Oh my friend, you’ll be okay.” The dog’s loving brown eyes made her heart constrict. She tightened the straps of his lifejacket.
“I’ll see you in the afterlife.” She kissed his forehead.
Hesitating a moment, “Ummm... actually, I don’t want to worry you, but I’ll more than likely be in Hell... since I’m personally responsible for the hurricane... and you know... Sister Gabriel and the Catholic Church are not going to go easy on that.”
A thunderous WHAM shook the wall--a barrage of debris pummeled the house mercilessly. Gasping, Peg wet her lips with her dry tongue.
“I mean... honestly, how different can it be from here?”
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