It's A Wonderful Midlife Crisis (Good To The Last Death #1) - Robyn Peterman

Chapter One

“No. Way. Are you freaking serious?” I screamed as I flattened myself against the wall of my laundry room with a thud, trying not to hyperventilate. “There’s a hand in the laundry basket. There’s a hand in the laundry basket. There’s a hand in the damn laundry basket.”

Sliding carefully along the wall so the unattached appendage didn’t jump out and grab me, I eased my way out of the tiny room and sprinted to the kitchen. It had a door that led outside, just in case the hand was up to no good.

Wait. What kind of good could a lone hand in a basket of dirty laundry be up to?

No good. That’s what kind of good a companionless hand could be up to.

“I’m nuts,” I muttered, closing my eyes and pressing my fingers to my temples. Forty was supposed to be the new thirty, according to all the magazines. If this was forty, I was going to take a pass. I’d only been forty for three hours and it was already seriously bad. The solitary hand was the rancid icing on top of a really crappy birthday cake.

Pacing my kitchen and keeping my eyes peeled for more random body parts, I spotted the empty coffee container and almost cried. Handling the ridiculously absurd while un-caffeinated was not going to end well.

“I don’t have the energy for this right now,” I told no one in particular, since I was alone. “Who did I screw over in a former life that I’m dealing with this shit?”

Unfortunately, I’d been seeing semi-corporeal versions of dead people for a few weeks. I’d become the kid from the Sixth Sense except that was a movie and this was real life… and my dead people did not look like Bruce Willis.

Up until now, all my deceased buddies had done was stare and laugh—or so I’d thought. There was nothing quite like being the butt of a cadaver’s joke… that was, if the hand was a joke and not a warning that I was going to be six feet under soon.

“Isn’t it enough that you freaks follow me around? Now you’re leaving body parts in my dirty clothes? For God’s sake, today’s my birthday and this behavior is totally unacceptable. I almost puked. And let me tell you something,” I bellowed to the empty kitchen. “If I’d thrown up because one of you idiots thought it would be hilarious to put a hand in with my dirty panties, you’d be cleaning that mess up. Are we clear here?”

Of course, there was no answer. There was never an answer. They didn’t speak—just silently accompanied me to the grocery store and around my house. They were very partial to reality shows. I’d started leaving the television on all night so they didn’t wander into my bedroom while I slept. Thankfully they hadn’t discovered where I worked yet. However, I had no doubt that was coming soon.

“Come on, you guys. It wasn’t funny.” Maybe reasoning with them would work. Hell, I didn’t know if they were real or if I was imagining them. There was a fifty-fifty chance I’d lost my mind. “I think I’ve been pretty nice about letting you stay here rent-free. I don’t deserve to be given a heart attack at seven in the morning.”

Again, no answer.

Again, maybe I was nuts.

Was there even a hand in my laundry basket? Maybe it was a fleshy, skin-colored winter glove. Since it was October and I lived in Georgia it was doubtful. Not to mention, I didn’t own any fleshy, skin-colored winter gloves. I had a little more fashion sense than that. Until I had my iced coffee with an extra-large squirt of chocolate syrup, I wasn’t going to test the theory.

Pleasant. I’d be pleasant. A nice conversational tone might prevent another gag-inducing prank… or not. “Okay, I’m going to eat and leave the house. Whoever left their hand in the laundry room needs to remove it before I get home or I’m going to…”

What the heck was I going to do with a disembodied hand? Should I put it in the freezer? Should I bury it? Damn it, if I buried it, did I have to do it at the cemetery on hallowed ground instead of my yard? It would suck up, down and sideways if it popped out of the ground during a backyard barbecue. What if I got busted at the graveyard for burying a hand and had to do time in the big house? God, the heinous