The Ticket

Debra Coleman Jeter

Published by Firefly Southern Fiction
ISBN 10: 1941103863 / ISBN 13: 9781941103869
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Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp(s). Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis:

"Jeter's novel considers the problems that might follow a sudden windfall."~ Publishers Weekly

Tray Dunaway, an ordinary teenager from a poor Southern family, longs to become part of the popular clique at school. Her mother, Evelyn, lies in bed most days with her bipolar tendency toward extreme highs or desperate lows. Meanwhile, Tray's grandmother Ginny, still grieving over the loss of her husband, would love to move out and find a place of her own. Maybe even a bit of romance to replace the loss she feels. But given the sorry state of the family's finances that's not possible.

Then the Dunaways' luck changes. Or so it seems.

Tray's father drives a down-and-out friend of the family, Pee Wee Johnson, to Hazard, Illinois, so Johnson can buy lottery tickets. As a gesture of thanks, Johnson gives a ticket to Tray's father. And what do you know? The Dunaways' are suddenly rich.

When Johnson demands his cut of the winnings, Tray's dad refuses. As Evelyn's illness spirals toward madness, Johnson threatens the family. Out of time, Tray makes one poor decision after another until what initially seemed like a stroke of good fortune quickly becomes a dangerous game of life and death for the Dunaways.

4 Stars!"One would be hard-pressed not to root for the likable protagonist and hope that her story eventually ends with a happy ending." ~RT Book Reviews

From the Author: In recent weeks it seems that a new sex scandal hits the news almost daily. Far too often the victims remain silent for many years before coming forward. This can result in sexual predators repeating their actions again and again. In The Ticket, my protagonist experiences her own "Me Too Moment" and must decide whether to tell anyone. As I write this note (December, 2017), this headline was in today's news:
 
#MeToo Movement Is Person Of The Year, 'Time' Says
 
Please do not think everything that happens to my main character is bleak. It's not.  I invite you to read as Tray struggles with her own uncomfortable situation. Perhaps as you read, you will think of other young women who have faced this and other challenging confrontations and encourage them to speak out. ~ Debra Jeter

# # # 
There's no sign of the fat man or Pee Wee when we arrive. For a time, we play hard. Lori is not hitting well today, but my shots are better than ever--maybe the last few days away from the courts have actually helped my game. As always, Lori is a good sport and laughs at her own wild shots. For a second, I wish I had someone better to play with, but I shrug off that thought as disloyal, a road I've already been down once--and that's once too often.

"I've got to go to the bathroom," Lori says after a time. "Want to come?"

The nearest restroom is at the gas station on the corner and I don't need to go yet. "No, I'll just stay and practice against the backboard till you get back."

While I'm waiting, the sky darkens. I glance up, hoping the rain will hold off until we finish playing. I hit a ball too hard; it soars over the board and behind the fence. I mutter under my breath at my lack of control and go to retrieve the ball. When I return, the fat man is there.

"How ya doing today?" he asks with a broad smile. His teeth are very straight, almost too perfect. Probably dentures.

"I'm fine."

"What you need is a basket of balls. Like I have." He indicates his own basket. "So you won't have to spend all your time chasing after them."

I glance longingly at the full basket.

"Look, I've got another basket full in my car. I'm more than happy to give it to you."

"Oh, no, I couldn't."

"Really. I was going to throw them away. They're getting kind of flat, you know, but they're better than nothing." He motions me to follow as he moves off in the direction of his car. He pauses for me to catch up, but I hesitate. "My car is just over here. Follow me and I'll get you those balls."

I take a step or two, then waver. He motions again. "Come on. You won't believe what a difference it'll make in your game."

Seduced by the dual vision of a full bucket of balls and an improved game, I follow the man to a two-door dirt-colored Chevrolet. "I know they're here somewhere," he says, opening the door on the driver's side. "Look in the back floorboard, and I'll check the trunk."

A voice inside me that's wiser than I am says there's something not quite right here. I vacillate, wanting to run and find Lori but unsure, not wanting to be rude, and still lusting for the balls. Probably, almost certainly, the man is just trying to be nice, after all, and I'm being silly and paranoid. Too many "don't talk to strangers" lectures from Dad and Gram have gotten into my head and left me confused about my own judgment.

As soon as I lean in, I know I've made the wrong choice.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Ticket
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: VERY GOOD

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