The Reading Circle

The Reading Circle by Ashton Lee Page B

Book: The Reading Circle by Ashton Lee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ashton Lee
Tags: Fiction, General
thing was that he would no longer be drafting them all the way to Mississippi.
    â€œFree at last!” he cried out next, as the Michiganders shrank into a small patch of white in his rearview mirror.
    He focused once again on the winding road ahead. He was becoming more and more aware of the beams of light streaming out from the front of his car as the dusk continued to drain the landscape of its color. When he crossed into Alabama very soon now, he would pull over to the side of the road again and try to pick up another cell. Surely he would have left no-man’s-land behind by then.
    No such luck was in store, however, when he tried Maura Beth’s number once again a few miles and minutes later. This was still a very unpopulated area of both Tennessee and Alabama, as his cell phone informed him in no uncertain terms.
    He drove on, playing Debussy yet another time. It crossed his mind that this would be a very effective version of hell for someone like himself. The same beautiful music over and over, but with no chance of communicating with anyone ever again. What unbearable torture!
    Then, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a dark shape emerging from the nearby woods. In the second or two it took Jeremy to identify what was about to intersect with him at a moment in time, the small but graceful doe appeared to leave the ground and fly across the asphalt in a frantic effort to avoid a collision with Jeremy’s Volvo. It all came off like a scene from a movie playing across the surface of the windshield, and somehow, deer and car were able to fend off the impending disaster. But while the deer scampered into the piney woods severely frightened but untouched, the car did not fare nearly as well. Jeremy’s violent, last-second tug at the steering wheel sent the vehicle careening down a steep embankment and toward the oldest and sturdiest pine tree in one of the many venerable stands lining both sides of the parkway.
    The strains of Debussy were still filling up his head as he saw what was coming up at the speed of light. “Maura Beth!” he cried out reflexively.
    And then there was only the sound of metal bending and glass shattering as the car struck the trunk of the tree head-on.

9
Battle of the Sexes
    W hat a cornucopia of delicious aromas and bright colors graced the buffet table of the March Cherry Cola Book Club meeting! First and foremost was the shrimp in deference to Forrest Gump, and it came in all varieties: garlic, barbequed with shell on; grilled; and finally, boiled with new potatoes and lemon wedges. Of course, all manner of dipping sauces, from red with ketchup to white with horseradish, were on hand as well. Then there were the football tailgating offerings: fried chicken wings and drumsticks, hot dogs, pulled pork, mustard and sweet pickle potato salad, smoky baked beans with bacon, taco makings, and all kinds of sandwiches from turkey and cheese to tuna fish, and for dessert—brownies, chocolate-chip cookies, fruit pies, and cheesecakes. To be sure, healthier fare was also available, so that Maura Beth was certain no one could possibly go hungry.
    She was also pleased to see that the numbers of The Cherry Cola Book Club had held fairly steady since the To Kill a Mockingbird review back in November. Just about everyone who had attended then was present now for Forrest Gump —the Brachles, the McShays, Miss Voncille and Locke Linwood, the Crumpton sisters, Terra Munrow, and James Hannigan of The Cherico Market, just to name a few. She was especially thrilled to find Nora Duddney present, after having tracked down an unabridged audio copy of Forrest Gump for her listening pleasure and participation in the review. She even found a moment to take Nora aside to chat with her about it.
    â€œNow that was one sure way to give dyslexia the old heave-ho, right?” Maura Beth said.
    â€œIt was a godsend,” came the cheerful reply. “I can’t thank you

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