TITLE: Retta vs. Mutants
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
WORD COUNT: 105,000
That basketball scholarship is Retta’s, provided she can manage her family’s shenanigans…plus one convict’s disappearance, some hungry, garden-gnome-loving mutants, and a dead body — okay, maybe two. Veronica Mars meets Shaun of the Dead.
The Uiterwyks’ cat was clearly dead, but that didn’t make it Granna’s fault or Retta’s problem.
The corpse lay curled around the garden gnome and cooked in the sun reflecting off the Uiterwyks’ trailer. It was only 8:54 a.m. and already hot. Retta wrinkled her nose. This was not how she had planned to start her day, but being a member of a family like the Holkers, she had learned not to make plans.
Guts spilled in the grass like Spaghetti Os, the mangy animal was cut in half as if someone had dropped an axe on its stomach. Only, the bloody fur was ripped ragged in a way that suggested coyote or some other hungry thing.
Certainly not Retta’s 74-year-old grandmother.
But this was the accusation Brandi Uiterwyk had flung at her over the phone when she demanded Retta come two trailers down. Now.
Brandi huffed, just as impatient in person. “It’s not like we killed our own cat — ”
“ — and it is the second time your grandmother has broken in here and filled the bathtub,” she finished as if one crime implied the other.
That one was not an accusation. It was a fact. Granna had been filling bathtubs all over town. Last week she broke into Trudy Gunnarson’s and filled not only the bathtub but every pot in the house. Just left them around. On the counter. In the closet. Next to the TV. But she had yet to kill any pets.
“Unless the cat drowned before something ate its lower half,” Retta said, “Granna didn’t kill your cat.”