Readers and reviewers are outspoken in their praise for Midlife Mouse‘s vivid characters. And no character gets more attention than Nancy Durmer Thompson, the sister of our hero, Bill Durmer. And Nancy would have it no other way.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Seventeen, Keep the Home Fish Mounds Burning, that captures the natural wonder that is Nancy pretty nicely:
“What have you done to my family this time!?” Nancy bellowed as she burst unannounced into Katherine’s kitchen. Katherine, accustomed to such displays of incivility from her sister-in-law, continued methodically fixing lunches for the kids.
“Nice to see you, too, Nancy,” she said dryly. “Your soothing voice is a light to my otherwise dark and dreary world.”
“Don’t try to win me over with your words,” Nancy replied. Despite her efforts to stay fit, she had neglected to exercise her irony muscle for years. “Why is my brother a bus driver?”
“Is this a riddle? If so, I don’t get it.” Katherine had learned long ago that indulging Nancy’s angry tirades only fed the beast. So she opted for mockery instead. It wasn’t the most loving response, but it was fun.
Nancy let out an exasperated sigh as she sat on one of the barstools and flung herself across the countertop in melodramatic anguish. The Durmer family photo albums were filled with photos of Nancy in this exact position at the bar. Christmases and birthdays, funerals and family reunions, no family gathering or special occasion was too big or too small for a signature Nancy hissy fit. Never one to miss an opportunity, Katherine quickly snapped a shot with her phone and sent it to Bill. It wasn’t her best work, but she felt it really captured the immediacy of the moment.
“This family is falling apart, and you don’t even care,” Nancy whined.
Knowing full well it was a pointless exercise, Katherine nonetheless tried to reason with her. “Oh, don’t be so melodramatic, Nancy. It’s only temporary.”
“I don’t expect you to understand,” Nancy groaned. “It’s not like you have siblings yourself.”
“I’m the youngest of five.” Katherine had to remind Nancy of this at least once a year. Typically, it was at a birthday party. Nancy, after failing to recognize one of Katherine’s sisters for the millionth time, would remark that she never knew Katherine had any siblings. She would then admonish Katherine in front of all the party guests, accusing her of being too ashamed of her sisters to even talk about them. The timing of this insult was crucial, so she would wait until everyone was gathered to sing “Happy Birthday.” Bill or Kenny would pull her aside to explain how inappropriate her behavior was. Nancy would then fling herself prostrate across the bar … just in time to be captured in the photo of the birthday boy or girl blowing out the candles. It was a time-honored Durmer tradition.
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