Excerpt from Jinxed (A Jinx Fogarty Mystery) by Kathryn Leigh Scott
There are few things more startling than waking up to find your ex-husband grinning at you. I’d barely pushed myself up in bed and dragged my laptop onto my belly before found myself staring into Dirck’s gleeful face. Without thinking twice, I’d answered a call on Skype. Only my mother in Nebraska ever rings first thing in the morning. But Dirck, three hours away in New York, called bright and early.
“Gotcha! Hey, there, how’s my girl?”
“Girl just woke up.” I disable the video icon without hesitation. Not that Dirck hasn’t seen me with bedhead or sleep-swollen eyes before, but I don’t care to explain why my face is marred with scratches and bruises. Besides, his face, close up and leering, sporting Don Johnson stubble and a whiter-than-white toothpaste smile, is way more than I can handle at this hour of the morning. Worse, I can tell that his home Skype environment, with its manly-man props and artful backdrop, is professionally lit. Who does that?
“Hey, what happened? You disappeared.”
“Why are you calling?”
“Wanted to catch up.”
“I’m not up for a personal appearance. How’s the family?”
“Pru’s good. Priscilla just started walking. I gotta tell you, there’s nothing like a kid to turn your life around. Amazing, huh?”
“Totally. And work?”
“Work’s good. Voice-overs. Teaching a coupla classes, which leads me to—“
“Yeah, you believe this? Like déjà vu all over again. I hear you’re on board to teach your old hat tricks. Can’t hurt, but I told her martial arts was the way to go.”
“Thanks for the endorsement.”
“Hey, no offense, but you gotta stay ahead of the pack. A little hat twirling is fine, but Jinx is combating crime, you know? Karate. Kickboxing. That’s where the action is these days.”
“Dirck, I haven’t had my coffee yet, much less my Wheaties. Where’s this conversation going?”
“I’m just saying, you know? That dainty, prancing around stuff with cute winks isn’t going to work. Jinx can’t strut. Bad ass attitude and new technology, that’s where it’s at. Jinx has gotta be cutting edge. Lethal. Sexy.”
“I’m going to hang up now, Dirck.”
I don’t wait. I embrace new technology and badass attitude. Without prancing around, I disconnect with an easy tap of my finger. If only shutting up a noisome, preening, irritating, brainless, narcissistic former husband could always be so easy. But it never is. I’m about to set aside my laptop when the Skype ringtone sounds again. Why so persistent? I haven’t seen or heard from Dirck in almost a year. I answer with another tap of my finger, curious to hear what he’s really calling about.
“Hey, there, a little touchy this morning? Sorry about that. No offense, okay? You had your day in the sun—no one did it better than you, Megsie!—but now you just gotta let it go, know what I mean? New day, new play.”
Got it. I should have known. Chelsea’s assertion that she would portray Jinx entirely differently from me—grittier, more real—has come straight from Dirck’s playbook. Of course Chelsea has to make the role her own, but is there any need to be so combative about it? Why is it necessary to denigrate the original, the role I originated—for which, I never tire of mentioning, I was awarded an Emmy?
As though hearing my thoughts, Dirck says, “No one can take that Emmy away from you, Meg. You deserved it. But that was a very, very long time ago. Times change. Gotta mooooove on.”
I climb out of bed and dump the laptop on my pillow. The MacBook rocks slightly, but there’s no alteration in the rolling, rich tones of Dirck’s superb announcer’s voice, for which he earns a hefty session fee, plus residuals. He’s at his best selling trucks and trust, the latter category including insurance, pharmaceuticals and financial planning.
Perhaps his greatest pleasure is hearing the sound of his own voice, so I leave him to it while I go about my morning routine. His deep, sonorous voice reaches me above the gush of water splashing in the sink and the buzz of my electric toothbrush. The sound cuts out as I close the shower door. I’m not surprised when, minutes later, I step out of the stall, wrap myself in a towel and hear him still blathering on about what it takes for an actor to make the grade these days.
Kathryn Leigh Scott, author, publisher and actress is probably best known for her star turn as Josette Du Pres, ingénue bride of reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins in the TV cult classic “Dark Shadows.” Her third novel, Jinxed (a Jinx Fogarty Mystery) (Februrary 2015), is a sequel to the successful Down and Out in Beverly Heels (Montlake Romance, 2013). While continuing her acting career, Kathryn launched Pomegranate Press to publish books about the entertainment industry, “Dark Shadows” fan books, and other nonfiction and fiction titles. She continues her acting career playing George Segal’s girlfriend Miriam in “The Goldbergs” and appearing in the 2015 mid-season launch of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Jinxed is available in print and Kindle on Amazon and at http://www.kathrynleighscott.com