Sometimes I feel like I’m leading a double life. In one life, I’m a wife to my husband, and a mother to my kids. I make dinner, clean the house, do the laundry, take my kids to school…all those sorts of mundane things that are necessary to run a well-organized and happy home. In my other life, I help the police with hard cases, run my own consulting agency, which, I’m not gonna lie, can be boring or entertaining depending on the day, and I help a big time mob-boss. In my second life, it’s usually the mob-boss part that challenges me the most.

Like today. Uncle Joey wanted me to come into the office by eight o’clock sharp to help him out. He told me to dress casually and bring a sweatshirt. As usual, he didn’t tell me anything else before he hung up, so I wore my jeans and a tee with my running shoes and a sweatshirt. When I got to the office, I was a little surprised to find Uncle Joey, Ramos, Jackie, Ricky and Nick, all dressed in jeans and t-shirts. I’d never seen Uncle Joey in jeans and a t-shirt before, so it kind of rattled me.

“Shelby’s coming?” Nick asked, thinking he was surprised that I would agree to go with them. After hearing that, I started to get a little nervous.

“Of course, she’s coming,” Uncle Joey answered. “She’s like family, so naturally I’d want to include her.” He glanced at me and grinned like he was doing me a big favor.

“She has no clue, does she?” Ramos asked. He was thinking that he felt a little sorry for me, and hoped I wouldn’t chicken out.

“Joe,” Jackie said. “Tell her.”

“It’s my birthday,” Uncle Joey said. “I’m sixty-eight today. So to celebrate, I’ve decided that we’re all going sky-diving.”

“What?” My stomach clenched. “Me too? But I…uh…”

“Don’t worry, Shelby. It will be fun.” Uncle Joey checked his watch. “Let’s get going. Our jump time is in two hours, and we can’t be late.”

I’d never in my life, ever wanted to go sky-diving. Never. Not once. So I just kind of stood there, while everyone filed out of the office toward the elevators. I trailed behind, trying to figure out a way to get out of it. Ramos waited for me. “You’ve never gone before?” I shook my head. “It will be okay. You don’t have to go, but you should at least go out to the airport with us. After all, it is his birthday, and you don’t want to disappoint him too much. Right?”

“Okay,” I agreed. “I can do that.”

We all piled into a black SUV and Uncle Joey told us about the first time he’d ever jumped out of a plane, and how frightening it was, but also how it made him feel more exhilarated than anything he’d ever done in his life. He wanted to share that feeling with all of us on his special day, and was so pleased that we were all there together.

Talk about pressure. Did this mean I really had to jump? Yikes! Why did I ever come? Once we got to the place, our instructor went over everything, telling us we’d be perfectly safe. We’d be doing a tandem jump with a USPA licensed tandem master, wearing top-of-the-line equipment and securely connected. After showing us a video of the jump, my misgivings started to ease. I mean, it could be fun, right? But I still wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I’ve got this thing about heights, and falling. Plus, I have a husband and kids.

I was just about to tell Uncle Joey that I’d stay and cheer him on from the ground, when I picked up that he’d already paid the big bucks for me, and he hoped the reason I wanted to talk to him wasn’t because I’d chickened out. “Yes, Shelby?”

“I’m…I’m…uh…nervous about this.”

“It will be great. You’ll see. You’ll love it.”

I nodded and, with my stomach a bundle of nerves, put on the gear and dragged my feet all the way to the plane. “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this,” I said to Ramos, who was, once again, waiting for me.

“I know,” he agreed. “I can’t either.”

“Never let anyone tell you that peer pressure doesn’t work,” I answered. “Especially when it’s from a mob-boss.”

Ramos chuckled, thinking I was right about that, but also thinking that this was a perk of the job, and I needed to look at it that way so I could enjoy it. How many people ever did all the exciting things I got to do? Of course, most of them included getting shot at, but this was lots different.

“Yeah, right. I could still die,” I said.

“Shelby, I promise, you’re not going to die.”

“How about throw up? I could do that.”

“You’re not going to throw up either. I think you’ll enjoy it lots more than you think.”

By then we’d reached the plane, and I had no choice but to get on. With my stomach a queasy knot, I watched Nick, Ricky and Jackie all go. Then it was my turn. I thought Uncle Joey would go first, but he was waiting to go after me, just to make sure I went. “We’ll be right behind you,” Ramos said, trying to encourage me. I nodded, and taking a deep breath, put on my goggles. On the count of three, I JUMPED OFF THE PLANE.

I think I screamed a little, but then managed to just grit my teeth extra hard. The first few seconds weren’t so bad, but I thought I might pass out since I held my breath for so long. Forty seconds of free-falling can seem like about ten hours, especially when imagining everything that could go wrong. Finally, my partner pulled the parachute, and I let out a little happy gasp that it opened. After that, I mostly enjoyed the six minute fall to the ground. Still, I’d never been so happy to make it back to the earth in one piece.

Uncle Joey was the last to land, and we all clapped and cheered for him, and even sang him the happy birthday tune. After treating us all to lunch, we headed back to the office, each of us reveling in our experience of jumping off a plane. Before I left for home, Ramos pulled me aside. “So, how was it? Would you do it again?”

I smiled. “Well… it was kind of fun. Although it scared me to death. But…yeah, I think I’d do it again. How crazy is that?”

Back home, I finished the laundry and tried to decide what to make for dinner. It was hard to believe that just that morning, I’d jumped off a plane. Who would have thought? See what I mean about leading a double life?


There’s a song about leaving your heart in San Francisco, and that used to be true for me, until I visited Paris! Although… I have to admit, I almost left my heart there because I nearly died…but that’s a story for another day.

Still, Paris ranks up there as one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever visited…if not the most amazing. I loved walking down the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe and the amazing scent of perfume I kept picking up. I couldn’t tell if it was from the people who passed me or the shops, but I decided then and there to make sure I bought some french perfume before I left. It’s a good thing too, since after that, things got dicey for me and it wasn’t until later that I got a chance to find a shop.

I’ll never forget walking down the street from Notre Dame on my last day there and finding the little L’Occitane en Provence shop on the corner. Wild dogs or a certain hit-man couldn’t stop me from going inside and taking a whiff of all the wonderful smells. After much sniffing, I found the perfect fragrance for me. It’s called Néroli & Orchidée, and I LOVE IT!

So, even though I’m not in Paris anymore, I can still spray some of that perfume on and remember that day, and how thankful I was to be alive… and for good friends who always seem to be there to get me out of trouble.

Last week, Billie Jo Payne told me that she was doing a podcast with the newspaper. It was something new they were trying out and she wanted me to be her first guest. Feeling honored that she thought I was guest-worthy, naturally I agreed. I thought we’d be discussing her latest case with the Attorney General’s office and how she helped blow it wide open (with my help of course). Boy, was I ever wrong. The interview happened just this morning. This is how it went:

Billie Jo Payne: Joining me today is acclaimed private investigator, Shelby Nichols. Besides working as a paid consultant for the police, she has her own agency, and has been instrumental in solving several high-profile cases. Her latest involved an unsolved murder, which Shelby solved in a matter of days. She was also instrumental in helping me with my own investigation into the Attorney General’s office. How does she do it? What is her secret that gives her the edge over others who have tried and failed? Now is our chance to find out.

Thank you, Shelby, for agreeing to join me for an interview today. With your track record, you have become something of a phenomenon. Most people would agree that you have an uncanny ability to solve cases. Almost like a sixth sense. Is this something you were born with, or did you grow into it as you’ve honed your skills?

Shelby: Oh, I think you’re giving me more credit than I deserve here. I mean, most cases are solved after a lot of hard work and effort. I just happen to have a knack for figuring things out.

Billie: Is that why you got started in the P.I. business?

Shelby: Actually, I’m more of a consultant, but yes, I suppose that’s correct. I started helping the police after I was involved in a bank robbery. Since I was the only witness who could identify the bank robber, he tried to kill me, but as you can see, he didn’t succeed. While I was involved with that case, I spent a lot of time at the police station, and began helping them with a few little things here and there. That’s where I found out I had a ‘knack’ for it.

Billie: By ‘knack’ do you mean premonitions? That’s what you call it, isn’t it?

Shelby: Uh…yes…that’s what I call it.

Billie: What was the first “real case” you solved?

Shelby: Well…I think it was the time I helped the police with some stolen art.

Billie: That’s right. That’s when I first heard of you. Didn’t they put a plaque up in the museum with your name on it or something?

Shelby: Yes. It was a surprise to be honored that way.

Billie: (chuckles) Well, if you say so, but… shouldn’t having premonitions make it kind of hard to surprise you? I mean…isn’t that what it means to have premonitions? I’m sure everyone would love to know how that works. Could you explain that to us?

Shelby: Um…I’ll try, but it’s pretty abstract.

Billie: That’s fine, just do your best. Anything you offer will be great.

Shelby: Hmm…okay, but once I get done, just remember you asked for it. Because…I had a premonition that you were going to put me on the spot like this, but I mostly blew it off because you’re a friend and all, but I should have followed my instincts and turned you down.

Billie: Huh! Well…I guess you were right about that, but if you ask me, that’s more like deductive reasoning. So what you’re saying is your premonitions are more like a gut reaction, or instincts. You don’t actually see into the future?

Shelby: No, not really. I probably should have called what I do something else, like intuition. Maybe that’s a better word for it.

Billie: Shelby! How can you say that? I think what you do is lots better than intuition. I mean, I’ve seen you in action. You know things that no one else could possibly figure out without some kind of extra-sensory perception.

Shelby: Oh…so now you’re calling it ESP?

Billie: That might make more sense.

Shelby: What?

Billie: Just think about it…there are times when you get into a lot of trouble. If you had a premonition that it would be trouble…why would you still do it? So maybe ESP is better.

Shelby: Geez, Billie Jo. I can see now that my premonition about coming here was right and I should have listened to it.

Billie: So you really don’t know when it’s a premonition? Don’t you get some kind of a little ‘zing’ or a vision? You told me once that sometimes you saw things in your mind that meant something about a case, if only you could figure out how it fit in the puzzle.

Shelby: I think I’m done with this interview. (un-clips the microphone)

Billie: Wait…don’t go…I’ve still got questions…

Shelby: Bye.

Billie: Well, thanks for joining us everyone. Next time we’ll be interviewing Detective Harris from the police department…wait, what are you doing? You can’t take my microphone…I’m not done…

Well – that’s what happened this morning, and I’m still not over it yet. You can imagine how terrified I was when Billie started asking about my “secret” and how I solved cases. I never thought she would put me on the spot like that… and what did I do? I left! Now everyone will think I’m a jerk…and I’ll hear it all! Remind me not to do that again. Unless it’s something like The Today Show. I don’t think I could turn Matt Lauer down…

Jury Duty Trouble

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Advice, Experiences, Thoughts

I’ve been called to jury duty before, but I’ve never had to go in until now. Unluckily for me, I drew number two and, after answering a few questions, took my place in the jury box. I’d never wanted to be on a jury, but it was also kind of exciting to sit with a group of people and decide if someone was guilty or not. Although in my case, I’d know the truth without all the arguments. At least that’s what I thought, but it wasn’t so cut and dry.

The case was about a cop whose husband had used her gun to commit suicide…only the prosecution was trying to prove that she killed her husband for the million dollar life insurance policy. Of course, I knew right off the bat she was innocent, and her lawyers presented a pretty good case for her. Throughout the trial, most of the other jurors thought she was innocent too, but once we were dismissed to deliberate, things got messy.

The jury foreman, Lance, a big guy who worked in construction, started pushing for a guilty verdict. Not only that, but he was getting mean about it. It bothered me, but I didn’t think it mattered until after lunch when we took another vote. Everyone but me had changed their not-guilty votes to guilty. That’s when I knew I was in trouble.

By this time, the jurors were tired of the whole thing and wanted to go home. It didn’t take long before everyone knew that I was the lone not-guilty voter. Lance turned his hard gaze on me, but I wasn’t about to let him bulldoze me like he had the others.

“What’s your problem?” I asked. “I know you’re pushing for a guilty verdict, but it seems like there’s more to it. It seems like it’s personal.”

He sputtered out a denial, but I’d hit a nerve and I heard him thinking about his nephew who’d been sent to prison. Surprise washed over me to learn that the defendant was the cop who’d arrested his nephew and also testified against him during the subsequent trial.

Now it all made sense, but how was I supposed to handle this without giving myself away? I stood before speaking and made sure I had everyone’s attention. “I’ve noticed how Lance has bullied all of you into a guilty verdict, but I refuse to back down. This is not the time to let someone who has a personal agenda against the cops determine the verdict of this case. We have been given a task to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. After all the evidence, I can’t say that she’s guilty. How can you?”

I heard many of them thinking that I was right. They didn’t like being bullied, but Lance wasn’t about to give up so easily. He made some points, but I refuted each one of them, which also served to convince the others that I was right and there was a reasonable doubt.

But then he got in my face. “I’m not bullying anyone, but that cop’s guilty.”

“Shall we have another vote?” I asked. We all agreed, and this time everyone said not-guilty, except for Lance. He stared daggers at me, thinking that I was ruining everything. He wasn’t going to back down, so I had no choice but to reveal his secret. “I know why you’re doing this, Lance. It’s because of your nephew.” His face went slack in shock, so I continued. “It’s not going to work. If you don’t vote not-guilty, I’ll tell the judge and you’ll have to face the consequences of lying to the court. You’ll have to pay a heavy fine and you might even go to jail. Do you want that to happen?”

He glanced at the others jurors and knew it was over. With a clenched jaw, he changed his verdict, and I let out a sigh of relief, especially since I was just making that stuff up about the fine and jail time…but it could be true.

After it was all over, Lance waited for me outside the building and I had no way to avoid him. “How did you know?” he asked, more curious than angry.

“Look, I know you’re not happy about you nephew, mostly because of the pain he’s caused your sister, but I think you know deep down that he was dealing drugs and probably got what he deserved. It was just a fluke that this cop happened to be the one who arrested him, and you decided she was guilty for spite, but taking it out on her is not going to help your nephew…or your sister. Now…why don’t you go home to your wife and your baby boy, and be grateful for what you have?”

His eyes bulged and he gasped. “You? How did you…”

I shook my head. “Goodbye Lance.” I turned and walked away, hearing him swear up a storm in his mind. At least he was also thinking that I was someone to avoid in the future because I was freaky, and maybe even an alien. The alien part surprised me, but I was glad to know that he’d leave me alone.

So…that’s my story about jury duty. I sure hope I don’t have to do anything like that in the future. Although Chris did tell me that as soon as I was done, he needed my help with a case he’s working on. Yikes! With my luck, he’ll probably want me to listen to the jury during the trial and find out what they’re thinking…then figure out how to sway their votes. I really don’t want to do that, but I guess if his client is innocent, I could. But what if he’s guilty? Argh! Life was so much easier before I could read minds.

A few weeks ago, Kate flew in from Seattle to go over some business with Uncle Joey. Even though we are civil to each other, I don’t like her much and I don’t think that will ever change. Still, I smiled and asked how she was doing. Just before leaving, she studied my face, and was thinking that I’d better do something about the fine lines at the corners of my eyes before they got any worse. Then… just like that she smiled and walked out.

Since she knows I can read minds, I’m sure she thought that deliberately, just to get to me. At first it made me angry, but I tried to push it from my mind and forget about it. Just the same, I couldn’t help looking for the wrinkles around my eyes in the mirror. I couldn’t see anything too alarming, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to take some preventative measures and find a good anti-wrinkle cream.

This led me to check out all the newest anti-wrinkle face creams on the market. I finally settled on one that claimed to erase the fine lines on the face and neck. I thought that was the one I’d better get, since I didn’t want to have neck wrinkles either and I might as well go all out and get the best.

A few days later, the cream came in the mail and I couldn’t wait to smooth it on my skin and see the results. Two hours later, my neck started to itch. Thinking nothing of it, I scratched it a little, but it didn’t go away. As the itching increased, I realized something was terribly wrong and ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror.

My breath hitched and my eyes widened in horror. Itchy, red, hives covered my neck and crept up to my cheeks and out across my forehead. Yikes!! I quickly washed my face and neck to get the cream off, and hoped that would take care of it, but it only seemed to get worse.

I hurried to the store and bought some hydro-cortisone cream and took an allergy pill. I rubbed the cortisone cream on thick and at first it worked great. The itching stopped immediately and I sighed with relief. However, just a minute later it started itching again, but I hoped it would settle down once the pill kicked in.

I spent the rest of the evening with an ice pack on my neck, and after another pill, went to bed with hopes that it would be better in the morning. That night my neck itched so bad, it was hard to sleep, but in the morning it seemed a little better. Still, once I got going, the hives on my neck flared up again, along with those on my cheeks and forehead. Even my eyebrows were itching.

Chris took one look at me and told me I’d better see a doctor. That’s how I ended up at the Instant-Care facility. After examining me, the nurse was wondering why I hadn’t come in yesterday before it got so bad. It made me feel kind of stupid, but I had hoped it would get better, not worse.

The doctor was more sympathetic, and only shook his head a little when I told him about the wrinkle cream. He gave me an epinephrin shot and had me drink some nasty kind of medicine. Within minutes, the itching stopped and the redness went down. What a relief!! I ended up having to take a six-day regimen of pills, but at least I was finally getting better.

The doctor told me not to use that cream ever again, and of course, I agreed. I mean, who’d do that to themselves on purpose? Then I heard him thinking that I looked too young to worry about wrinkles anyway, and that made me feel almost as good as the medicine.

So, I guess I shouldn’t worry so much about wrinkles. What can you really do about them anyway? But I can stop listening to Kate. I smiled as thoughts of giving that cream to her flooded my mind… but that wouldn’t be very nice of me. Still, I think I’ll hold onto it, just the same.

It was my mom and dad’s anniversary the other day and they invited my family along with my brother’s family over to celebrate. It was a big crowd, and we had a fun time together…until Savannah asked my parents how they met. I’d heard the story lots of times, but that was before I got my mind-reading abilities, and let me say…the truth came as something of a shock.

My mom started to tell her how they met at a diner where she was a waitress, but in her mind I heard it was a bar and not a diner at all, and she served drinks wearing a short skirt and halter top. That kind of surprised me since she’s such a prim and proper lady now, but it certainly made the story more interesting.

She continued, saying how my dad saw her and was immediately smitten. After coming in a few times just to see her, he asked for her number. Now my mom was was quite the babe back then, and she still looks pretty great, but she got asked for her number a lot, and made it a rule not to give it out.

So the first time he asked, she wouldn’t give it to him, a fact she relished telling us. But here’s where the story got interesting. My dad was thinking that it wasn’t quite like that. Sure, she had turned him down and he was heart-broken, but after one of the other girls thought she was nuts and offered him her own number, my mom had a change of heart and wrote her number down on the back of his receipt.

It was kind of nice to hear his version, but that still didn’t prepare me for the truth I’d never heard. They were talking about how they hadn’t been back to that diner for a long time, and I picked up that there was something about that diner my mom didn’t want me to know. So when Savannah suggested that we all go there for dinner sometime, I was right there with her.

My mom hedged a bit, but my dad started laughing and she swatted him to shut up. I guessed she didn’t want us to know the truth about the bar part and her being a waitress with the skimpy clothes and all, but then I heard my dad thinking it was called, “Shelby’s Bar & Grill,” and maybe it wasn’t so bad to tell me they’d named me after the place they’d met.

My breath caught, and I nearly spilled the beans right then and there. They named me after a bar? And I didn’t know? “Where is this place?” I practically shouted. “I want to see it.”

“It’s in Denver,” my dad said. “A little too far to go for dinner.”

“Oh, yeah,” I agreed. It was a long drive from home, but I was determined that the next time I was in Denver I was going there. I mean, what’s the point of being named after something if you never visit? “Well…next time I’m in Denver, I’m going to stop by. So Mom, what’s the name of this place?”

My dad grinned, but my mom’s brows rose in alarm. She really didn’t want to tell me, but I wasn’t going to let her off the hook. “You know I have premonitions, right?” I continued. “So I’m getting a premonition that it has something to do with my name… so what’s that about?”

It was worth it to see my mother’s eyes bulge a bit, and finally my dad told us the truth. After the shock had worn off, we all had a good laugh, and it hit me how I could have gone through my whole life without knowing something important like that.

“So…mom,” Savannah said. “Is there anything you’d like to tell me about my name?”


There are times when I can’t help being a little bit bad. Like the other day. First of all, it was a beautiful autumn day with the bright blue sky and orange & yellow leaves falling to the earth like feathers. The air had a chill to it, but the sun was still warm enough to take most of the chill away. I was leaving Thrasher Development and something just pulled me over to the corner of the parking garage where Ramos kept his motorcycle. I stopped and stared at it, feeling a rush of longing to go for a ride.

With a sigh, I turned to leave and found Ramos standing behind me with a lopsided grin on his face. “Babe,” he said. “Looks like you’re drooling just a little. Want to go for a ride?”

My breath caught and, even though I knew I shouldn’t, I nodded my head, grinning like a fool. See what I mean about being a little bit bad? I didn’t have any control when it came to Ramos and going for a ride on his motorcycle. What was worse, Ramos knew it. “I have to take a message to someone for Manetto,” he said. “But it shouldn’t take long.”


He popped the trunk of his car and got out the gear I’d need, and I quickly put on the helmet and leather jacket. Before I knew it, I was on the bike behind him with my arms wrapped around his waist. As we pulled out of the garage a thrill went down my spine and my stomach churned with butterflies. We didn’t go far before stopping, and I was a little disappointed. But I shouldn’t have worried. After Ramos delivered his message, we got back on the bike and he said over his shoulder. “We’ll take the long way back.”

“Woohoo!” I shouted, and felt his stomach muscles wiggle with laughter. We left the city behind and took a loop around the University past some big homes with huge trees lining the residential streets. The leaves kicked up as we drove through them and rained down from above as well. It was a timeless moment, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then we hit the main road and traveled back to the city.

Parking in the garage, I got off the bike like an expert, and stowed the helmet and jacket back in Ramos’ trunk. “That was awesome!” I said, grinning widely. “Thanks.”

“Sure,” he said, thinking it was the best part of his day.

“Me too,” I agreed. “So tell me… if you were going to a Halloween party, what would you dress up as? I think I’d want to go as a biker chick.”

“Babe,” he said. “I’d just go as a hit-man, then I could wear whatever I wanted.”

We both laughed and I was still chuckling in the car on my way home. Then it hit me that not too many people could say that, and here I was, a normal soccer-mom housewife…who’d just taken a ride with a real live hit-man. See what I mean about taking a ride on the wild side?

I recently attended a bridal shower for my cousin’s daughter. I don’t normally like showers where they play silly games and all that stuff. I prefer the drop-in, open the gift, give a hug, eat the goodies, and get the heck-out-of-dodge-kind. Not very sociable, but there it is. I would have skipped this shower all together if it hadn’t been for my mom. According to her, this was one shower I couldn’t miss, or I would get blacklisted on that side of the family. So, of course, I sucked it up and went.

Interestingly enough, there was some tension between the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Turns out, they knew each other in high school, and the mother of the groom blamed the bride’s mom, my cousin, for something bad, but I couldn’t pick up what. On the outside they were acting all happy and nice, with big smiles that showed lots of pearly white teeth. But inside neither of them wanted this marriage to take place. Especially considering their thoughts that sharing grandchildren was making them both sick. YIKES!

I checked out the bride and groom and, after listening in on their thoughts, there was no question they were in love, so I just had to hope things would work out. But it really bothered me that these two women held so much animosity toward each other. Maybe I could help? Who knew? Maybe it was just a misunderstanding?

“That’s really something that you two knew each other in high school,” I said. “Weren’t you guys like best friends or something?”

Their surprised gazes turned to me, and the whole room got quiet. Then my cousin narrowed her eyes and took a breath to ask me how the hell I knew that. Oops. Before she could utter a word her daughter gasped with surprise.

“You guys knew each other? You went to high school together?” she asked. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

My cousin’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. As she took in the curious glances of everyone there, she turned toward the groom’s mother with a tentative smile curling her lips. “We had a falling out,” she admitted. “It involved a boy, as I recall.”

The other woman raised her brows, and was thinking that if my cousin was going to spill the beans, she’d better make sure her side of the story got told first. “He was my boyfriend,” she stated. “You knew how much I liked him, but you got him to go out with you while I was away on a trip. He broke up with me because of you. That was pretty low for someone I considered one of my best friends.”

“Is that what you thought?” my cousin asked. “I didn’t go after him. He asked me out. I admit I shouldn’t have gone, but he was really persistent, and I didn’t think you’d ever find out. It was just supposed to be one date.”

The other woman huffed out a breath. “Yeah, right. As if that makes a difference.”

My cousin dropped her gaze. “I know. I was a bad friend, and I felt horrible about it. I really did. I wanted to explain, but you wouldn’t talk to me after that. If it helps, he dumped me pretty quick and moved on to someone else.”

“But we were friends. You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I know, and I’ve regretted it ever since. Dating him wasn’t worth losing your friendship. But you never gave me a chance to tell you I was sorry. I tried hundreds of times, but you always blew me off.”

The groom’s mother licked her lips, realizing that for the sake of their children, and with everyone looking on, it was time to get over it. “You’re right. It was a long time ago, and really…it doesn’t even matter anymore.”

My cousin smiled, then asked. “Whatever happened to him anyway?”

After that it was hard to pry those two apart. Not only did they have a lot to catch up on, but their children were getting married and now they could finally be excited about it.

I left that shower with a grin on my face, knowing I’d done something good. It was one of the few times my mind-reading skills had really paid off, and was just what I needed. Especially since right after the shower, I had to stop by Uncle Joey’s office. It was after eight-thirty at night and I really didn’t want to go, but he was meeting with someone from his past, and after this experience, I knew it could get tricky. But on the bright side, since I’d helped my cousin resolve a sticky issue, I was sure I could help Uncle Joey. I’d just have to make sure I stood out of the way in case they pulled their guns.

I look forward to summer all year, mostly because of how great it is to be outside and enjoy the fun outdoor activities. The one thing I don’t enjoy so much is the family reunion. That probably makes me a bad person, but ever since I got my mind-reading abilities, family reunions have been quite stressful. Just think about it…do you really want to know what your Aunt Beverly thinks about you? Or how about your cousins? It always seems like a big brag party about who is doing what, who has the smartest kids, who has won the most awards, or what great vacation someone went on, etc. etc. etc.

It’s also a shock to see that the cousins you played with as kids turn up bald and not looking a bit like you remembered them. It makes you hope you don’t look as old as they do. The reminiscing part is kind of fun though, as long as it’s about good memories and not the bad ones. Like the time my older cousins took turns sitting in a rocking chair that belonged to old great-aunt Lucille who had just died, and acting like they were being choked while I watched. Everyone took their turn and the same thing happened. Then they dared me to sit in it. Of course, great-aunt Lucille kind of scared me while she was alive, with her missing teeth and whiskers, so I could just imagine her choking me for sitting in her chair. I refused, and naturally, they called me all kinds of names for being such a chicken, and then later they made fun of me for believing them since they just made it all up to scare me.

That’s why it will be so tempting this year to listen to their thoughts. Just imagine the juicy details I could pick up from their minds to tease them with…but do I really want to know what they’re thinking? What if I pick up something really bad? Probably not a good idea. I’ll just have to put my shields up and act normal, although it might be fun to see if they’re thinking the same things about the reunion as I am. Now that would be something.


Posted: June 18, 2014 in Experiences

Do you ever feel like someone else is running your life and you have absolutely no control? Lately, it seems like something unexpected is always happening to me, and although it might seem like a coincidence…I’m not really sure. I mean, how many times do crazy things happen to one person? I think I get more than my fair share. Like yesterday…I went out to lunch with my husband. Now that doesn’t sound like something that could get me in trouble, right? There I am, waiting for Chris outside the courthouse, and who should come by, but a judge with whom I’ve played golf in a foursome that included me, Uncle Joey, and Ramos. That day I had on my hair hat, and Uncle Joey introduced me as his niece from Orlando, Shelly Manetto. I was hoping the judge wouldn’t recognize me, but could I be so lucky? Nope…not a chance. It might have been okay, except for the fact that the judge was with the police chief.

The police chief likes me, mostly because I’ve helped solve some hard cases, and he was enthusiastic about introducing me to the judge. The judge remembered me as Shelly Manetto, so when the chief started out with the Shelby part of my name, the judge jumped in with…”Shelly… yes, I’ve met you… you’re…” I jumped in and said, “A consultant for the police,” before he could say Joe Manetto’s niece, like he was thinking. It kind of threw him for a loop, and he wondered what was going on. Then he realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to talk about Joe “The Knife” Manetto with the police chief, and maybe that was why I’d cut him off. But that got him to thinking about me working for the police and “The Knife” and his eyes got big. Did the police chief even know I was Manetto’s niece? Had I infiltrated the police department for Manetto? Then he remembered how I’d driven the golf cart and stopped so suddenly that he’d fallen out and cut his arm pretty bad, and it was probably better to stay far away from me. His life was complicated enough already.

Instead, he said, “Oh, yeah…you help the police, that’s right.” I let out my breath and smiled, then told him it was nice to meet him. The chief was pleased the judge had heard of me, and said something about how great it was to have me on their side. The judge nodded politely, willing to go along with whatever I said, mostly because of Uncle Joey. Then they went on their way, and I let out a relieved sigh. Who would have thought I’d meet those two people at the same time? It was uncanny! See what I mean about coincidences?