They meet on a deserted road as Angel, a damsel in distress, and he a shaggy blond Knight in shiny wrestling tights. Neither realize they both now work at the scandal scarred Damon High School. Angel Fleming Prescott is hired as interim principal at a school so wild teachers moonlight as exotic dancers on weekends. She's determined to bring both students and teachers under control. Little does she realize the Shakespeare quoting English teacher, Jake McCort, tranforms into The Demonator on television wrestling on weekends. Jake is a giant of a man with giant promises to keep that require money. He balks at Fleming's rule of no moonlighting. They begin a grudge match between two very determined people who discover along the way, achievements are empty without love.
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
After overhearing two large, economy size dads talking at a baseball game that they might loose their jobs if the school board found out they were wrestling over summer break, the idea for Moonlight Madness was born. It didn't take much for the former high school teacher in a small town to imagine just what would happen if romance was added to the situation. Denise hopes the readers have as much fun reading about The Demonator and his Angel as she had writing about them.
"Two headstrong people can make anything happen especially when they both have the same goals. MOONLIGHT MADNESS, a tale of how a second job saved a career, is a reminder that illiteracy is a problem that can be corrected if only there were more people like Fleming and Jacob around. Although I felt the name 'Fleming' was inappropriate and detracted from the main plot, the story of Jacob and Angel is easy to read and enjoyable. Beyond that, it promotes literacy. What more can you ask for?"Brenda Ramsbacher -- Just Views
"I'm going to kill Lynnie." That was the only solution Fleming Prescot could conjure in her state of mind.
It wouldn't be the first time her friend had involved her in a harebrained scheme gone sour. And as usual, Fleming ignored common sense and went right along with the plan.
After driving fifty miles on the causeway for the mentally insane, also known as interstate 55, her head throbbed in exact rhythm with the honking cars. She wondered if she'd somehow been trapped on the set of a new meteor-destroys-the-world movie. All because Lynnie discovered a new restaurant.
With one hand, Fleming wrestled hair pins that locked silver blonde tresses primly in a bun. She shook her head and tried to enjoy the feeling of her hair hanging free around her shoulders. If she could just relax, she might stop the headache before it turned into a three-day killer migraine. It had been years since that had happened, but she couldn't afford to waste any time in the week before she started her new job.
That's why she agreed to join Lynnie. It was sort of like the prisoner's last meal before execution. Lynnie hadn't changed. Just like when they were children, she promised, "Don't worry it will be fun."
Fleming should have known the evening was doomed when she tried to leave the high school parking lot that afternoon. It was like bumper cars at an amusement park, only she wasn't amused -- especially since it was the faculty parking lot. Students and teachers vied for right of way like they were escaping a prison camp.
It served as a visual aid to remind Fleming of all she needed to accomplish at Damon, aka "Demon" high. Her official title was "Interim Principal." Sacrificial Lamb might have been a better one. It was no accident the school board only considered candidates for the job with no family ties to the area. It was much easier to blame all that would go wrong on an outsider.
She was hired just to keep the school out of the news and out of trouble until the end of the year, not quite four months work. Fleming's goal was to bring some order to a chaotic, scandal ridden high school. If she could, she would be a viable candidate for administrator of a proposed center for reading enhancement.
Fleming found the Interstate exit, clearly marked and near a giant billboard advertising blackened Cajun cooking right next to an old burned out building, just as Lynnie promised. Lynnie loved the absurd.
She often reminded Fleming how their childhood friendship was the ultimate absurdity. Tall even in elementary school, Fleming did look an unlikely candidate to be tiny Lynnie's best friend. Even more paradox was Lynnie's foster home background compared to Fleming's prosperous family. Their diversity united to cause bedlam that probably still haunted a few teacher's memories.
Supposedly the restaurant was just a few miles from the exit. Lynnie loved never-heard-of places and sometimes found some truly fine eateries, but Fleming was beginning to fear this wouldn't be one. Anything so far from civilization was doomed. And it generally involved some man if Lynnie was "intrigued."
Fleming's stomach growled. It was a wonder it wasn't in knots. She'd been too nervous to eat much at the luncheon meeting with some of the school board officers. She wasn't one to worry about which utensil to use at formal occasions, but she didn't know which knife to use to cut the tension among the board members.
She'd assumed they would be relieved. Fleming's past may have had its troubles, but she'd never been involved in a scandal -- not counting the one in fourth grade with Lynnie. Besides, no one could ever prove who sabotaged the school restrooms anyway.
No, the Delacort county school board welcoming committee was definitely nervous about something. Fleming was just paranoid enough to think they were nervous about her. It might be her age. She was young for a principal, high school or otherwise. No school board would be thrilled about discovering their principal had been functionally illiterate when she started high school.
Fleming spent the afternoon pouring over faculty files for what seemed like the umpteenth time. She wanted to be familiar with everything and make no mistakes. The records were out of date, inadequate, and difficult to read -- or at least she hoped it was the files and not her.
Even after all she had accomplished, completing college and graduate school, Fleming still felt inadequate when it came to reading. It was a skill only a non-reader could respect with such mystic awe. Fleming could read now, but she'd never entirely lost her fear of making mistakes. She'd never drawn as much pleasure from it as she did old movies on the late, late show -- her escape from worries.
She hoped Lynnie's directions, given to the school secretary temp, were accurate. If they were, the Friday evening might be salvaged. Lynnie warned the place was a little off the beaten track, but she didn't mention the track hadn't been made yet. The country made the movie setting for Deliverance seem urban.
Thankfully, the pain behind her eye eased once her car left the interstate. Fleming played one of her favorite CD and lowered the car windows. It was sheer heaven enjoying the breeze and listening to the music.
Her brother Max had given her the red sports car as a graduation present from college. He declared it her reward for the Prescots never believing enough in her. On evenings like this, Fleming hoped she'd thanked him enough. She'd never be able to afford such a luxury otherwise.
Fleming soon lost track of the time, the odometer, and almost the speed. She zipped through a stop sign almost loosing control of her car when she tried to obey.
That's when she realized she had come too far without passing anything that resembled a restaurant, let alone civilization. The stop sign seemed a macabre joke. She only heard the silence of no traffic around her, punctuated with a faint thud from the car's engine. Scenes from the movies Cujo and Macon County Line flashed through her mind.
The thud was followed by an all too familiar grinding noise. "Please car" she groaned aloud. "Not now, I can't afford you to break down now, and certainly not here."
The car didn't listen. Fleming tried to find a place to turn around on the road. The grinding worsened. She finally surrendered and pulled the now hated vehicle off the road. Just past the shoulder, the ground disappeared into nowhere. The "road" that the stop sign halted traffic for was barely more than a pig path.
Fleming turned off the engine. The silence roared. She made another death threat against her childhood friend -- and meant it. She tried to recall anything she might have passed after leaving the interstate. She'd been so caught up with the school problems and then trying to relax she hadn't paid attention.
All the rules of the road books said to sit still and wait for help. That was fine and dandy on a busy highway or a road that actually went somewhere, but Fleming knew she may as well have been in the heart of the Amazon. Not one car had passed her. As for houses -- she hadn't seen anything that even resembled a path leading to a native shack.
With no street lights and huge tress on either side of the highway, Fleming felt the approaching darkness like an illness taking hold of her body. All the horror stories of women stranded on the road scratched at her memory.
She cursed her brother Max for buying her a stupid sports car that only attracted unwanted attention and too many breakdowns. He should have purchased a lifetime membership in an auto club for her. She should have purchased a car phone or even a citizen band radio.
Finally bright lights gleamed in her rear view mirror. The height indicated it must be a truck. Judging by her surroundings, Fleming reasoned it was truck driving country. Scenes from one too many sleep-overs with B-bomb movies lighted before her. As the truck approached, she questioned whether she would let anyone help her if they did offer.
It was one of those big ones on monster wheels. It slowed to go around her. Fear triggered shudders down her spine when one man turned around and looked again. All Fleming could see were two big men. The man who turned to look had long shaggy hair topped by a hat.
The truck stopped in the middle of the road and started to back up. Fleming's stomach twisted and threatened to escape without her. She'd never felt so helpless, not even as a child struggling in a classroom.
Don't unlock the car or open the windows she reminded herself. That's what all the safety classes said. When she saw the shaggy haired man get out, she had the sinking feeling that mere steel and glass would not stop him. He was twice as big as her little car and darn near as big as the truck.
With hat in hand, he leaned over, his straggly hair hiding his face.
"Are you out of gas?" he asked.
There was a lightning scar across his cheek that almost glowed and he wore an eye patch. Fleming closed her eyes and swallowed. An urge to laugh almost overcame her. He looked like a crash car dummy with hair. A huge, giant economy sized crash car dummy.
She shook her head, too scared to speak. She wished suddenly she had kept her hair trapped in the prim old maid school teacher's bun. With the dark night surrounding her she felt like every other victim in a Freddy Kruger movie.
"Do you have a flat?" he called out. He didn't offer to try to get in or get her to roll down the window. Fleming shook her head, her tongue still paralyzed from fear.
The guy stood up, his chest size stretching like a gladiator in Ben Hur driving a chariot. He motioned toward the hood for her to pop it open. She shook her head and clutched the steering wheel like it was a shield. He shook his head again then put on his straw hat. It looked like something straight out of the Land of Oz. Lynnie would have loved it -- Ben Hur wearing the Scarecrow's hat.
She finally gathered the courage to call to him. "Could you just phone for a tow truck, please?"
Fleming cringed after she spoke. The magic word "please" never stopped Godzilla in the movies. Up, close he was darn near as big as the monster -- or at least what she imagined the monster to be.
Godzilla took a deep breath and rubbed the back of his neck. Fleming was impressed by his biceps until she thought of what arms like that could do to a person. He walked over to the truck and talked to the driver. The driver shook his head and drove on. This left Fleming, her car, and Godzilla -- alone.
He bent down to talk through her window. "My friend is going to call a tow truck. I'm going to wait with you until help comes."
"Great," Fleming grumbled to herself. "He's gone to get the motorcycle gang from Calhoun county while I sit here" She rubbed her temples telling the headache to go away.
"Or is it Macon county?" she asked herself. It was bad enough she had a tendency to compare life to movies -- now she was confusing movie comparisons with life. At least with a movie you could turn it off or leave the theater. This time she was stuck.
The monster man leaned against her car with his arms crossed. His biceps bulged as if his skin were one size too small, from under the torn out sleeve of his chambray shirt. Fleming couldn't figure out whether he was staking his territory or actually being a gentleman. Considering his ragged clothes and straw hat, she couldn't quite believe he was Sir Galahad from Camelot.
Godzilla Galahad finally left the car and started walking around. Fleming decided a man his size probably needed a lot of room to move. She knew she was going to feel awfully embarrassed if he turned out to be a helpful citizen, but who could blame her for being afraid when he was dressed like an escapee of some awful chain saw slasher movie.
Fleming lost sight of him and really didn't care. When she saw more headlights in her rearview mirror her hopes rose. "Please let it be a tow truck!" she prayed aloud.
If it was a wrecker, it was speeding pretty fast, even for a deserted road. By the time Fleming realized it wasn't a white charger to the rescue, it passed her, then screamed to a stop, doing a fishtail in the road. The tires squealed as it raced back in reverse to her immobile car.
The catcalls began. These were definitely not Robin Hoods, they weren't even Robin and the Seven Hoods. More like a midnight motorcycle gang movie in a truck, judging by their yells.
"Look at the Blonde Babe with the wheels!"
"Wouldn't I like to...."
Fleming was spared the obscenity by everyone's laughter, which didn't make her feel any better. Fear washed over her like a wave at the beach over driftwood. Her neck craned over the steering wheel to see if her gargantuan scarecrow were around.
"Godzilla where are you?" she asked aloud. Her throat felt as gritty as if the wave of fear had dumped sand there. Suddenly the giant Galahad looked pretty good -- or would have if she could see him.
Two of the new truckers from hell got out and stuck their faces right against the car glass. One made disgusting kissing noises while the other practiced his obscenities again. Fleming vaguely wondered if she was to grade him for his presentation.
She knew all too well it was a performance of sorts, a performance among peers to see who had the most courage to terrorize. Fleming cursed her psychology courses that gave her too much insight on unacceptable social behavior. The fear that threatened to paralyze her was instinctive among all women, whether educated or illiterate.
"Hey! The rest of you come out and take a look at this blonde babe," one yelled back to his companions in the truck. Another began rocking the car back and forth, laughing like a child with a new toy.
Fleming clutched the steering wheel and tried to think what she could do, if anything, to escape her tormentors. She tried again to start the car. This time the grinding sounded like a buzz saw aimed at her heart.
Two more guys jumped from the truck. They surrounded her like Indians around one pitiful wagon.
"Where'd you get those wheels Pretty Lady?" one called out.
"Do you have some sweet sugar daddy up Memphis way?" another taunted.
"Sure she does, she's just out lookin' for a good time."
"Well, we aim to please."
Fleming screamed when one of them started pounding on the back window with his fist. The alarm Max insisted on installing went off suddenly like a band without a conductor. An alarm that no one but she and the mob could hear.
They got bolder with their words and gestures. At any moment one would dare the other to break the glass. The only defense weapon she had in her grasp was a rolled up newspaper she'd not had time to read that morning. She didn't think that would deter them.
The fear and the blaring alarm threatened to destroy what was left of Fleming's mind. She fumbled while trying to turn off the alarm, wishing she could turn off the whole nightmare like a bad movie.
A yell worse than the Hound of the Baskervilles shattered the air. Fleming wasn't sure the screams of fear came from her or her captors.
For a split second her tormentors quit rocking her car and looked at each other. Then there was another roar and an explosion of rock pounded the hood of the truck. It was followed by a thud of metal that sounded like a car crash. Godzilla or something worse, had jumped from nowhere on their truck's hood.
His hat and clothes had disappeared. He now wore fluorescent swirled tights with a Spandex tank top -- a perfect display for massive pecs. His arms were gargantuan, every muscle outlined by his clenched fists. His muscled legs were twice the size of his arms.
As frightening as his size was, it was his contorted face with the glowing scar that really terrorized Fleming. He looked more demon than man.
In a fairly graceful move for someone so big, he leaped from the hood of truck to the cab roof. From there he bellowed his best Incredible Hulk imitation, scaring Fleming and her assailants. He jumped back to the hood. The sound of dented metal echoed into the night.
Three of the guys who had rocked her car started to run down the road. Godzilla roared again and jumped to the ground, still big and impressive. He walked with Frankenstein slowness toward Fleming's car and she could have sworn he grew with each approaching step.
Two other attackers, who must have been paralyzed with fear themselves, finally screamed and raced for the pick-up, well around the monster. They jumped inside the truck, taking only time to lock their doors. They sped off, barely slowing enough for their friends to jump into the bed bed.
Fleming would have laughed if she hadn't already started to cry.
He knelt beside her car, his face no longer contorted. The scar was the only remnant of the monster he'd portrayed moments before.
"Can you turn your alarm off?" He called through the window.
Fleming nodded and finally found the master switch that eluded her earlier. The silence only made the memory of what the boys had said louder.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
She barely managed to nod. Even through the glass she could hear the softened drawl of a southern gentleman, not a character of a creature feature. Fleming felt hot then cold as her body started shaking. The car that had offered so little protection, now suffocated her. She opened the door breathing the night air like she'd been underwater too long.
He held his hand to her as gallant as King Arthur and Fleming felt as shamefaced as the unfaithful Guinevere. When she placed her hand in his, she pledged her trust to her new protector with more sincerity than any knight of the round table did its king.
Fleming was not petite. Her feet were unladylike elevens, necessary for holding up someone five foot ten. But resting her hand in his, she felt as delicate as a baby bird.
She wanted to gather some dignity around her like a robe but instead she burst into sobs and buried her face in his chest. His arms wrapped around her, strong and protective.
He carefully pushed her away from him and tried to push strands of her hair away from her face. "Are you all right? Physically, I mean."
Fleming sniffled and shuddered when she breathed like a child. She managed to answer, "Yes. They just scared me."
He pulled her once more in his arms and this time Fleming reveled in the feeling of a man so much bigger than herself.
In high school, few boys attempted to court so tall a girl, but as she got older, men of all sizes asked her on dates. She always told herself what was inside the person was important and never dwelled too much on a man's height. Right now, the giant economy sized male felt very nice.
"They scared the Jehosaphat out of me, too," he said.
Fleming enjoyed the rumbling from his chest. It was like a low motor of a well tuned car. Correction told herself. A well tuned semi described him more adequately.
Lights came again and the giant stiffened. He pushed Fleming toward her car and turned to face the oncoming headlights like a modern day gladiator. His shoulders sagged in relief when he recognized the truck as the one he'd arrived in.
He walked out to meet his friend who jumped from the truck.
"Is she all right?" he asked, but the words didn't register in Fleming's mind.
He walked toward her car with Godzilla and she could have sworn he was even bigger than her new friend. His face was scored with rows of glittering, blood red sequins.
He was dressed in tights -- black tights. Almost as black as the void that surrounded Fleming's mind as she fainted.