Graceland on Wheels Anthology

Jan 28, 2018

Graceland On Wheels and Other Mysteries by Wayne ZurlA collection of six crime stories that take you on a trip through the more off-beat regions of law enforcement.

Follow Prospect, Tennessee’s Police Chief Sam Jenkins as he meets Gypsy conmen and a beautiful fortune teller in GYPSIES, TRAMPS & THIEVES, a gun show hustler and his right-wing militia cronies in HEAVEN’S GATE and a collection of pool hustlers competing for enough prize money they’d kill for in ALVIS IS IN THE BUILDING. A Chinese restaurant owner loses a little finger and feels the grip of vicious thugs from a Malaysian triad in THE SWAN TATTOO. The murder of an Elvis impersonator for a few bits of gold takes you on board GRACELAND ON WHEELS, and in NOTHING FITZ, an unlikely coalition of crooks on a National Guard air base are responsible for a brutal murder.

For more in-depth summaries of each novelette, visit the Novelette section of this site.

Read An Excerpt

From GRACELAND ON WHEELS

Garland Humphries awoke with a bucket of composted cow manure in his mouth—or so he thought. When he raised his head, bolts of lightning flashed before his eyes, and a mule kicked him in the forehead.

Using the strength of three men to open his eyelids, Garland saw dried vomit on his white jumpsuit. Fearing what it would cost to clean the sequined leather garment, he began to shake his head and received another kick from that troublesome mule. The smell of his breath reminded him of the stench in a cesspool. He needed to wash the putrid taste from his mouth and gingerly attempted to sit up.

Swinging his legs off the wide mattress felt like he just cleared a high hurdle. But when he stood, an image of the Milky Way covered his field of vision and caused him to sit quickly. Garland sucked in a large volume of air, attempting to stop the spinning sensation, and after a few seconds, he again tried to stand. That time he made it. In a few moments, a flicker of confidence radiated from his head, through his body and down into his legs. He took a step, then another and felt the all too familiar sensation of his brain being too big for his skull.

He decided to look for a bottle of aspirin, but really wanted a glass of Jack Daniels to clear his head. When he reached the doorway of the bedroom in his big RV, he looked down the narrow hallway toward the little kitchen, the dining and sitting areas and finally the driver’s and passenger’s seats and the door. The hall between him and the wide-open spaces looked like a tunnel, with walls no farther apart than the width of his shoulders.

The kitchen was no more than fifteen feet away, but it seemed like a hundred yards, and he began to feel claustrophobic. The sides of the tunnel began to pulsate. Garland saw stars again. Bile collected in his mouth, and nausea overtook him. Garland Humphries needed a toilet or a bucket—fast.

He ricocheted off the walls and the first door he found opened into the combination toilet closet and shower. Garland dropped to his knees, hugged the commode and lost the contents of his stomach in two great heaves. Unable to move for what seemed like an eternity, he mustered the strength to push himself upright, turn and use the sink as a crutch. He scooped up hands full of water to rinse his mouth and splash on his cheeks. When he stood, Garland couldn’t focus on the pathetic drunk staring back at him from the small mirror and opened the medicine cabinet looking for a bottle of mouthwash. The childproof cap caused major problems, but finally he took a drink, rinsed and spat into the sink. That accomplished, he grabbed a bottle of aspirin, cursed the cap, opened it with his teeth and swallowed half a dozen.

Leaving the toilet and sink as they were, Garland moved toward the door of the RV and opened a portal to fresh air and the outside world. As most drunks would, he exaggerated a careful descent of the two steps and, without falling, found himself on solid ground. The noise of the slamming door erupted inside his head.

“Hello, Garland. Y’all don’t look so good.”

Humphries couldn’t see who had spoken, tried to look through the foggy darkness, but only saw a shadow approaching. It was the last thing he ever saw.

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