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Synopsis:   When Melissa Johnson’s husband crosses the line, she pulls out her .45, fires a few warning shots, and boots his butt out the door. He disappears, leaving her to raise three little boys on her own.


     It is now twenty-three years later, Melissa is struggling to make ends meet, and her three grown sons are still living at home. Tired of supporting them, she finally puts her foot down and gives them three months to move out.


     However, before they pack up and leave, Melissa comes into a windfall, and they decide they aren’t going anywhere.


     Disappearing steps, objects falling from trees, shots being fired and a missing toe makes Melissa start to think that someone just might be trying to kill her.


     For the first time in years, she cleans her gun, loads it, and puts it under her pillow.                                                       

Excerpt from: Don't Smother Your Mother


From Chapter Fifteen


     What the hell is going on now, she wondered, as she heard a loud buzzing noise coming from the front yard. She got out of bed, threw on a robe, walked into the living room, and opened the front door. And, almost peed herself. 


     Tom was sitting on a limb, about thirty feet up, in a big Bitternut Hickory tree. He had a chain saw powered up and was in the process of cutting a big branch off the tree. My god, Melissa thought, he’s going to kill himself. She ran under the tree and waved up at him. Tom glanced down, saw her, and turned off the saw.


     “What are you doing?” she yelled up at him.


     “You said you wanted some of the branches trimmed off the trees,” he replied.


     “Not the ones that high up. The lower branches, Tom, the lower ones.”


     “Oh. I thought you wanted me to thin it out all over. Well, this branch is dead and I’ve cut almost all the way through it. I’ll just finish it and come down. Is there any coffee?”


     “Tom, you can’t finish cutting if off like that.”


     “Why not?”


     “Because you’re sitting on the wrong side of the saw.”


     “I’m doing what?” asked Tom.


     “You’re going to fall with the branch.”


     “No. I’ve got it tied off. See. It’s tied to the branch right below it. When the branch falls, the rope will keep it from hitting the ground. It wil……” His mother’s yelling stopped him.


     “You’re on the wrong side! You should have your back to the trunk on the other side of the saw. You’re going to come down with the branch.”


     Tom suddenly realized what his mother was saying. Very carefully, he started to scooch his butt over the spot where he had been cutting. He just passed the cut mark when the branch let loose, which startled him, making him drop the chain saw.


     Melissa was standing under the tree, watching Tom, when the branch broke loose. The rope attached to the branch held and stopped about eight feet above the ground. Melissa, however, moved to avoid the falling branch, and stepped right into the path of the falling chain saw.


     “I think we’re good,” yelled Tom, as he looked down at the swinging branch. Then, he saw his mother lying face down in the dirt, the chain saw on the ground next to her.


     Tom’s whole body felt weak and he wasn’t sure if he could move. Finally, after taking a couple of deep breaths, he managed to stand up on what was left of the broken branch. He made his way over to the ladder and climbed down. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he was at his mother’s side, taking her pulse. He couldn’t find one. She’s dead and I didn’t even kill her, he thought.


     He reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed 911. After giving the emergency operator the information, he rolled his mother over onto her back. 

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