NOSEY: Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter! Today I’m coming to you from…um…*glances around* Huh, nothing here but a signpost. *reads* ‘Ye Olde South’. Where in Mason Dixon is that?
MAN YELLS: Hallo! Are you our hired clown? You’re late to the party, dude.
NOSEY: *spins around* Whadda ya mean ‘clown’, mister?
MAN: I call ‘em as I see ‘em.
WOMAN APPEARS AT DOORWAY: Clown? *looks at Nosey* Oh, there you are! Come inside.
MAN: *points* Looky at ‘im. Sure is dressed the part. Never in my life have I laid eyes on such a hodge-podge mismatched weirdo.
NOSEY: *grins* Awe right! My ‘Be Nosey’ blazer… *leans over to whisper in aside* designed by Yours Truly, of course — really stands out, eh? *puffs out chest* Only a hunk can wear it with style.
MAN: *snorts* Or junk?
NOSEY: Well, I— Huh?
SJ: *giggles* This is I.B. Nosey, the Pukelitzer Award winning cyberspace reporter. He’s here to interview me.
MAN: *rolls eyes* What some authors gotta resort to, I guess. *saunters away*
NOSEY: Er… *clears throat* Greetings, girlie. Are you Sherri Wilson Johnson?
SJ: You bet I am. *takes Nosey’s arm* I’m so happy you’ve come to my masquerade party, Nosey.
SJ: See, I decided to hold the party at a southern plantation house. It sets the perfect theme for my book, ‘To Laugh Once More’, don’t you think?
NOSEY: Uhhh… *jumps back as costumed man jostles by* Holy Snaggle Teeth! Who’s he dressed as?
SJ: A card shark. Cards were an important game in Victorian Georgia.
NOSEY: Uh huh. *gazes at crowd and whistles* Fancy to-do here.
SJ: Oh yes. Parties were such a hit in 1895. By the way, here’s my book. And… *smacks Nosey with fan* stop staring at Jack Daniels!
NOSEY: Hey! *rubs injured forehead* I’ve got enough smarts there!
SJ: Hush, Nosey, and let’s begin, shall we? I’ll read the blurb. It goes like this: ‘The War may be over, but the battles still rage. A dissatisfied wife. A misunderstood husband. Three tragedies will alter their path forever. Will their choices tear them apart, or will they allow them To Laugh Once More?’
NOSEY: I dunno. I—
SJ: I’m not finished.
SJ: Wait a minute. *stops butler passing by and grabs item from canopy tray* This will fit your mouth nicely.
NOSEY: But— *gulps on morsel*
SJ: As I was saying… ‘Three years after her marriage to Hamilton, former debutante Lydia Barrington Scarbrough is dissatisfied with life. She has yet to have children, and she spends most of her days sitting in a circle of women chatting about homemaking. She thought life would be more than what it’s turned out to be. Hamilton travels on business and never takes her with him. What’s a lonely wife to do when she has no children to raise? She longs for adventure and romance, and really, she longs for the fulfillment of her purpose in life.’ *sighs happily*…Nosey, you have anything to say to that?
NOSEY: Do I! *spits out canopy* Lady, who made that fudge? It tastes like last week’s bad reviews!
SJ: *frowns* But I thought the sale on second-hand goodies at Dollar Hollar—
NOSEY: Say what? *stares in disbelief* Dollar Hollar?
SJ: Oops. I didn’t say that, did I? *nibbles guiltily at bottom lip* Um…why don’t you -uh- ask something about my book? I’m sure you’re full of wisdom about my two main characters, hm? *gives flattering bat of lashes*
NOSEY: Well… *straightens tie* if it’s lovelorn advice you’re after… *smirks* Heh heh, you’ve come to the right guy.
SJ: I knew I could count on you!
NOSEY: Yeah, ‘cause it’s simple, really. All you gotta do is buy the lady a box of Gum Drop Island chocolates. Hey, that hubs is misunderstanding her ‘cause he’s like you and gave her that fake imitation Dollar Hollar brand.
SJ: *nods* You’re so right, Nosey. Now why didn’t I think of that?! That would be the easiest solution ever!
NOSEY: Don’t be so hard on yourself, kid. *pats SJ’s shoulder* After all, I am the Nose who knows.
SJ: Ah. Yes. Well, where were we? *steers Nosey around edge of ballroom* Um, what else can I share about my book?
NOSEY: For starters, there’s something I’m real nosy about.
SJ: Oh, good. What would that be?
NOSEY: Yeah, what’s Hamilton’s problem? Why can’t he take his wife with him on business?
SJ: Oh, because he helps his father to run their orchard. He travels to Georgia to sell their produce.
SJ: So, they also sell china and silver. Hamilton’s on the road a lot which means she’s lonely and misses him.
NOSEY: That’s my point. Why can’t the little wifey tag along? Is there something about Georgia that she doesn’t like? Such as — Holy Twelve Oaks! *drools as couple waltz past* Is that Miss Scarlett O’Hara?
SJ: Eyes this way, Nosey. *snaps fingers close to Nosey’s nose* Ahem. No, it’s that she doesn’t want to move away from Florida. That’s where her family is. She loves Hamilton but she doesn’t want to leave everyone behind. In Georgia, there’s a lot of snobbery and prejudice and discrimination. She hates it.
NOSEY: Oh, yeah. That.
SJ: That what?
NOSEY: What you just said.
SJ: What I— ? *thinks quickly* Um, you mean, discrimination?
NOSEY: Uh huh. I feel her pain. *lowers voice* Happens to me all the time.
SJ: *gasps* No! Share, Nosey!
NOSEY: *glances over shoulder* It’s this reporting biz, ya see. *nods* I’ve got enemies ‘cause of that Pukelitzer Award.
SJ: *slaps hand to cheek* Hush my mouth.
NOSEY: Yeah. Rumors fly sayin’ I only won ‘cause of my debonair charm. *grins* Bet ya didn’t think I knew that word, huh?
SJ: *flips open fan and swiftly cools cheeks* Dear me, Nosey. You’re full of… er, well….
NOSEY: That’s okay. You can say debonair charm. Everyone else does, heh heh.
SJ: *mutters* That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
NOSEY: Huh. Maybe you meant my way of how I do this interviewing stuff? It’s called… *scratches head* It’s called…hm, what’s that term?
SJ: Journalistic skill?
NOSEY: That’s it!
SJ: No. *purses lips* That’s not what I was searching for. *gives fake cough* Anyway, Nosey, I appreciate that you can sympathize with Lydia’s plight.
NOSEY: Plight. That’s me. Uh huh. Uhhh…
SJ: In other words - a hardship.
NOSEY: Yeah, and not much fun for her either.
SJ: I’d say you’re right.
NOSEY: You gotta tell us. Do things get better?
SJ: Now, now. I don’t want to give away all the hardships she encounters because we want the readers to discover these things as they read the book. Right?
NOSEY: We do? Oh. Right, right! Heh heh. What about you, Ms. Johnson? You a Georgia belle or— *gets bumped by woman dressed as a peach. Nosey calls out:* Watch it! And get a shave! *brushes fuzz off jacket sleeve*
SJ: Dear Nosey, what can I say? I’ve lived in Georgia my entire life. I’ve never lived outside of two counties, but I’ve vacationed in Florida almost all of my life. Have to admit. I love both states.
NOSEY: Well, what’s this deal of writing old stories?
SJ: Old stories?
NOSEY: Yeah. Set back in days before internet, iPhones, U-phone, We-Phones, He-Phones…
SJ: Ah, yes. Those days. Truth be told, I absolutely love being swept away to the days of yesteryear. I love the dresses and the balls. *gestures to encompass room full of dancers* I love when things were simple.
NOSEY: Uh huh.
SJ: And although times were tough, it seems like families had to really pull together in those tough times.
NOSEY: Uh huh.
SJ: *eyes glaze with dreamy expression* I love that fathers got to stay home with the families to farm —most of them— and that children played outdoors and weren’t stuck inside of classrooms and then playing video games—
MAN SHOUTS: You cheated!
*Nosey jumps* Yikes! How did you— Uh, wait. What’s going on?
SJ: They’re playing a game of Stay Alive. *points to group of men sitting at table* And someone just lost all his marbles.
MAN GLARES AT NOSEY: I was winning until he walked up! You’re a jinx!
OTHER MAN: We don’t need no jinxes!
NOSEY: Whoa, fellas. Hold on a minute!
FIRST MAN: Just look at that costume he wore to the party. Anybody who’d wear a crazy blazer like that sicko-one and then add a huge nose to boot? He’s gotta be a jinx!
NOSEY: Aw, now. Gimme a break!
OTHER MAN: We’ll give ya a break! We’ll break your legs! *all rush up, leaping to race after Nosey*
NOSEY: Ms. Johnson! *screams* Whatever happened to southern hospitality? *knocks down tables, vaults over Old Glory, and streaks from room*
SJ: Excuse me, Nosey, you’ve got that all wrong. It’s southern hospital! But just wait. *calls out* One day you’ll look back at this fun-filled adventure and you’ll be able To Laugh Once More!
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