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SIT! STAY! SPEAK!
Annie England Noblin
Released Sept 9th, 2015
Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!
People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.
Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.
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Adelaide Andrews stared out the living room window and into the yard across the street where an elderly man, who she could only assume was her new neighbor, was frolicking through the sprinkler in his underwear. He was at least eighty years old and was very spry for his age. Every time the water shot up into the air, so did the man’s legs. It was as if he were involved in some kind of synchronized sprinkler event in the Olympics. Nobody came to ask the man to go back inside. Nobody asked him to stop.
Nobody offered him a towel or chased after him with a fistful of medications, which he’d clearly forgotten to take. When the sprinkler stopped several minutes later, so did the man. He didn’t even bother to shake himself off as he bounded up the steps and disappeared back inside the house.
This wasn’t what Adelaide had in mind when she moved from Chicago to the Arkansas Delta. She’d left the midwestern city to escape insanity, not to move in next door to it.
She turned back to the sea of boxes that covered her living room. She’d spent all day sorting and hadn’t even made a dent. She halfheartedly opened the box nearest her. Inside she found a hodgepodge of items, an indication that this had probably been one of the last boxes she packed up.
Looking up from the box, Adelaide scanned the room. Her aunt Tilda had died and left the house to her almost six months ago, and it was obvious that it had been empty for entirely too long. Well, not empty, exactly. Aunt Tilda died in the middle of the night—a stroke, the coroner said. Clearly, from the look of the place, her aunt hadn’t planned on dying. When she said in her will that she wanted everything to go to Addie, she’d meant it. Not even the toilet paper had been disturbed since the day of the funeral. She’d had several calls from the only real estate agent in town to see what had been left to her, but Addie couldn’t bring herself to do it. Yes, the hardwood floors needed to be refinished.
The walls needed to be repainted. The ceiling fans needed to be replaced, and all of this was just in the living room. She heard her aunt’s voice in her head. Someday this house will be yours, Addie. I hope you’ll take care of it like I have.
Addie hadn’t really believed her. What twelve-year-old pays attention to those kinds of things, anyway? Fifteen years later, the words hovered above her like the dust collecting in the corners of the walls. She’d let her aunt down over these last few months. She’d let everyone down, it seemed.
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Annie England Noblin graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English for Arkansas State University. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the Red Booth Review and the Moon City Review. She lives with her son, husband, and four rescued bulldogs in the Missouri Ozarks. In addition to her writing, Noblin started working with rescue organizations across the country ten years ago, and has never looked back. The work she does serves as an inspiration in everyday life, as well as in her writing.