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Santa Clawed

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Interior Book design

Interior Book design


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  • 1. RITA MAE BROWN & SNEAKY PIE BROWN234 father’s Skylark, her body bare save for shorts and the illu- sion of a tee-shirt, the basketball cradled against her breasts. But as I winced to think that my fabulous ascent would be for nothing, she passed to me, the ball finding my hands and lift- ing me high above the rim where I gave it down into the hoop, my view of the world changed forever. She is still there, thirty years gone by, kissing me back from death with her rapt attention, vanquishing the shame I feel for doing what I love. My name isVictorWorsley,Vic to my few friends,Worsely to my legions of detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main game. Perversely compulsive, I write longhand in fast black ink, seven columns a week. I’ve been doing this for fif- teen years without a break. I used to write at a desk in a quiet room far from my fellow human beings. Now I write every- where—hotels, coffee houses, train stations, park benches. Anywhere but in my office. However, onTuesdays, my favorite day of the week in San Francisco, I do go down to the Chron to taunt my editor, the lugubrious Lucas McCormack, a man terrified of offending anyone. Poor Luke will no doubt be fretting about the widen- ing rift between yours truly and Jim Hathaway, the coach of the Warriors, the most annoying man in my life. Why? Because he won’t let the men play without strict orders from the bench, and it’s killing the game. It has become a point of honor with me now. I want him to give the game back to the players, to free them to improvise. Agray sleet morning–I stood on the western edge of my father’s driveway, focused intently on hi finest gift to me– a shiny orange rim mated to a whitewashed backboard–a fresh net awaiting my throw, the summer sun warming my bare skin. I was a rosy tan white boy, longing to flee the op- pressive confines of suburban dependency. Nearly all my he- roes were great black men who could fly. Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson,Wilt Chamberlain, Earl the Pearl Monroe. My greatest wish was to drive the lane, that narrow cor- ridor leading to the goal, to leave the ground and soar high into the air, there to float in defiance of gravity before releas- ing a delicate shot that kissed the board and tumbled through. I could jump and shoot. But to float, to fly, that was what eluded me. And on that day, that once in my life, I transcended my wish. I ran toward the basket and leapt into the air, discover- ing as I left the earth that I had forgotten the ball. It was still in the hands of the love of my life, the sweetest sixteen I’ve ever seen. She was leaning back against my father’s Skylark, 24
  • 2. RITA MAE BROWN & SNEAKY PIE BROWN father’s Skylark, her body bare save for shorts and the illu- sion of a tee-shirt, the basketball cradled against her breasts. But as I winced to think that my fabulous ascent would be for nothing, she passed to me, the ball finding my hands and lift- ing me high above the rim where I gave it down into the hoop, my view of the world changed forever. Dear Deputy Cooper, I do not recognize Donald Cletterback nor does anyone on my staff.However,we recognize the man with him.He comes in about once a month usually in the company of a local business man,Bill Boojum. Let me know if I can be of further service to you. Yours truly, Tara Fitzgibbon However, onTuesdays, my favorite day of the week in San Francisco, I do go down to the Chron to taunt my editor, the lugubrious Lucas McCormack, a man terrified of offending anyone. Poor Luke will no doubt be fretting about the widen- ing rift between yours truly and Jim Hathaway, the coach of the Warriors, the most annoying man in my life. Why? Because he won’t let the men play without strict orders from the bench, and it’s killing the game. It has become a point of honor with me now. I want him to give the game back to the players, to free them to improvise. But the real reason I go downtown, ever, is to flirt with Greta Eagleheart, our divine section manager. And I do mean divine. Greta is a most successful melange of peoples, a Nefertiti with the cunning eyes of a fearless wolf. I’ve known her for three years, dreamt of loving her from head to toe, but 234 SANTA CLAWED Worsely to my legions of detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main game. Perversely compulsive, I write longhand in fast black ink, seven columns a week. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years without a break. I used to write at a desk in a quiet room far from my fellow human beings. Now I write everywhere—hotels, coffee houses, train sta- tions, park benches.Anywhere but in my office. However, onTuesdays, my favorite day of the week in San Francisco, I do go down to the Chron to taunt my editor, the lugubrious Lucas McCormack, a man terrified of offending anyone. Poor Luke will no doubt be fretting about the widen- ing rift between yours truly and Jim Hathaway, the coach of the Warriors, the most annoying man in my life. Why? Because he won’t let the men play without strict orders from the bench, and it’s killing the game. It has become a point of honor with me now. I want him to give the game back to the players, to free them to improvise. Hey, you asked for this driver’s license Saturday night. Here’s our record. Yrs, Carol My greatest wish was to drive the lane, that narrow corri- dor leading to the goal, to leave the ground and soar high into the air, there to float in defiance of gravity before releas- ing a delicate shot that kissed the board and tumbled through. I could jump and shoot. But to float, to fly, that was what eluded me. Dazzling in a silky blue dress, she greets me today 235
  • 3. SantaClawed R I TA M A E B R O W N & S N E A K Y P I E B R OW N I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y M I C H A E L G E L L AT LY BANTAM BOOKS NEWYORK • TORONTO • LONDON • SYDNEY • AUCKLAND
  • 4. Books by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown WISH YOU WERE HERE REST IN PIECES MURDER AT MONTICELLO PAY DIRT MURDER, SHE MEOWED MURDER ONTHE PROWL CAT ONTHE SCENT SNEAKY PIE’S COOKBOOK FOR MYSTERY LOVERS PAWINGTHROUGHTHE PAST CLAWS AND EFFECT WHISKER OF EVIL SOUR PUSS PUSS‘N CAHOOTS THE PURRFECT MURDER SANTA CLAWED Books by Rita Mae Brown THE HANDTHAT CRADLESTHE ROCK SONGSTO A HANDSOMEWOMAN THE PLAIN BROWN RAPPER RUBYFRUIT JUNGLE IN HER DAY SIX OF ONE SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT SUDDEN DEATH HIGH HEARTS STARTING FROM SCRATCH:A DIFFERENT KIND OFWRITERS‘ MANUAL BINGO VENUS ENVY DOLLEY:ANOVEL OF DOLLEY MADISON IN LOVE AND INWAR RIDING SHOTGUN RITAWILL: MEMIOR OF A LITERARY RABBLE-ROUSER LOOSE LIPS ALMA MATER HOTSPUR FULL CRY OUTFOXED THE HUNT BALL THE HOUNS ANDTHE FURY THETELL-TALE HORSE Santa Clawed
  • 5. Dear Reader Cats will conquer the world!Well, if not the world, the Inernet. I now have my own domain on Mom’s website. Our adress is: It’s not necessary to address meYour Most Exalted Striped Pre- sence.A simple “Miss Pie” will do. My name isVictorWorsley, Vic to my few friends,Worsely to my legions of detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main game. Perversely compul- sive, I write longhand in fast black ink, seven columns a week. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years without a break. I used to write at a desk in a quiet room far from my fellow human be- ings. Now I write everywhere—hotels, coffee houses, train sta- tions, park benches.Anywhere but in my office. So mnay of you ask whether Harry and Fair will get back together again. In my mystery following this one, TheYearbook Murders, Harry prepares for her twentieth high-school reunion.This gets her all wispy and misty about Fiar but then,humans are prone to nostalgia. Cats don’t have twentieth high-school reunions.We’re too vain. Others of you have visited Crozet,Virginia.You have discovered the post of- fice does not exactly parrallel what I describe in my books.That’s because I’ve blended the lok of the Crozet Post Office with that of theWhitehall Post Office. Artistic Licience.other than that,Crozet physically is pretty much Crozet.The characters are my own creations. I dispatched seven field mice yesterday.Top that! AffectionatelyYours, Sneaky Pie Dedicated to John Morris and Robert Steppe When they’re good, they’re good but when they’re bad, they’re better!
  • 6. Mary Minor Haristeen My name isVictorWorsley,Vic to my Mrs.Murphy few friends,Worsely to my legions TeeTucker,yof detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main Pharamond Haristeen (Fair) game. Perversely compulsive, I write longhand in fast black ink Mary Minor Haristeen My name isVictorWorsley,Vic to my Mrs.Murphy few friends,Worsely to my legions TeeTucker,yof detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main Mary Minor Haristeen My name isVictorWorsley,Vic to my Mrs.Murphy few friends,Worsely to my legions TeeTucker,yof detractors. I’m a syorts writer, basketball my main Pharamond Haristeen (Fair) game. Perversely compulsive, I write longhand in fast black ink Cast of Characters