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Free Kindle Nation Shorts — May 10, 2012: An Excerpt from THE HIDING PLACE OF THUNDER by Keith Remer

Today’s 10,200-word Free Kindle Nation Short lands you in
Pushamataha County, Oklahoma. A black teen and his white girl friend have
disappeared.
After an altercation with white ruffians, a Choctaw Indian turns
up missing as well. It’s not a good time for a Jewish boy from Boston to spend
time in this place
The mystical warnings of a Choctaw holy man are ignored until it’s
too late to save citizens from the terror of good intentions gone awry.

by Keith Remer
4.9 Stars  –
26 Reviews
 Text-to-Speech and
Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up: 
Terrible things are happening in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma. A
black teen and his white girl friend have disappeared. After an altercation
with white ruffians, a Choctaw Indian turns up missing as well. It’s not a
good time for a Jewish boy from Boston to spend time in this place where it
seems minorities are suddenly unwelcome.
Sheriff Burl Hansen has his hands full even before fate forces
him to bond with the boy from Boston. Hansen, though, will not heed the
mystical warnings of a Choctaw holy man until it’s too late to save citizens
from the terror of good intentions gone awry.
In a Godly community where honorable men have strayed, only a
force beyond human comprehension can intervene from The Hiding Place of
Thunder.
From the reviewers:
“No writer has grabbed my attention since I read my first
John Grisham novel. If The Hiding Place of Thunder is an example of Keith
Remer’s novels to come, America and the world have discovered a great new
author. I am hooked, and a Remer fan for life.” -Steve Bender, producer,
director and author, 68 at 40 Retrospective and If I Can Dream
“Keith Remer is truly one of the most gifted storytellers
of our time. The Hiding Place of Thunder is a haunting and provocative
masterpiece, which leaves the reader no choice but to keep turning its pages.
It’s one of those books that will keep you thinking about it long after
you’ve finished reading it.” -Stacy D. Shelton, author, Me, the Crazy
Woman and Breast Cancer
Keith Remer knows his craft and weaves compelling stories taken
from real life. His novels present those kinds of reflective moments we need
to take pause with in our own lives. He has inspired and taught me. -Chris
Querry, author, Alat Farad, Eden’s Keys, and A Love Made Real, reviewer,
Myshelf.com

An Excerpt from
The Hiding Place of Thunder
By
Keith Remer
Copyright © 2012
by Keith Remer and published here with his permission
“YOU CALLED IN
TROUBLE,
AND I RESCUED YOU;
I ANSWERED YOU IN
THE HIDING PLACE OF
THUNDER…”
 

Psalm 81:7
ONE
      “Put
the bat down, Herman, and stop calling me a son of a bitch.”

“This here is my bat, and you are standing on my land. So don’t go tellin’
me what to do, Burl. Besides, if I was to put this here baseball bat down, it’d
be kind of hard to knock yer head off with it…You goofy son of a bitch!”

Burl Hansen leaned back against the fender of his car and crossed two beefy
arms over a barrel chest. “Herman, don’t make me come over there and take
that damn thing away from you.”

Herman Grambs puckered his crusty lips and deposited a glob of thick black tobacco
juice between Hansen’s cowboy boots. “Some says you the biggest and
baddest son of a bitch in this county Burl. But you ain’t near big enough or
bad enough to take away my bat!”

Hansen unfolded his arms and pointed a thick index finger at the feisty little
welfare recipient. “It’s hard to make me angry Herman, but you’re about to
do it. You got about three seconds to throw that…”

A sudden beeping sound from within his car interrupted Hansen’s threat. 

“What is that noise?” Grambs piped.

“It’s my cell phone,” Hansen grumbled as he pushed away from the
car’s fender. “You don’t move. I gotta see who’s calling.”

“I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Hell, I live here…you son of a bitch!”

Hansen grabbed the phone, pushed the talk button and barked, “This is
Burl.”

“Hi, honey.”

Hansen grimaced at the sound of his wife’s voice. She seemed to have a knack
for calling at the most inconvenient times.

“Who is it?” Grambs asked.

“It’s my wife.”

Grambs cupped a hand around one side of his mouth and hollered, “Howdy,
Vicki!”

“Herman Grambs says ‘Hello,'” Hansen relayed, then grumbled back to
Grambs, “Vicki says ‘Hi.'”

Turning his attention back to his wife, Hansen asked in his typically gruff
manner, “Whatcha need, Vicki?”

“Do you know what a bar mitzvah is?” The sweet voice
sounded distressed.

“A what?” Hansen countered.

“A bar mitzvah. I just watched one on T.V. It was on the Discovery
Channel.”

“A bar mitzvah? Yeah, yeah, it’s some kind of Jewish ceremony,”
Hansen said, doing nothing to conceal his agitation. Before Vicki gained a
chance to respond, Burl covered the phone with his hand and hissed at Grambs,
“You better throw that bat down!”

“You better kiss my ass!” Grambs hissed back.

“It’s a ceremony,” Vicki continued, “performed when a Jewish boy
turns thirteen that…”

“Oh, hell, not this again!” Hansen bellowed, and immediately wished
he hadn’t. Vicki hung up without another word. Despite his renowned terse
disposition, Burl Hansen didn’t relish hurting his darling wife’s feelings. He
felt really rotten, and feeling rotten did nothing to improve his already
tweaked temperament. 

Hansen crammed the small phone into the rear pocket of his jeans and stomped
around to the back of his car. He popped the trunk and pulled out a
twelve-gauge pump shotgun, violently jerked the slide forward and back to
chamber a shell and whirled to level the barrel at Herman Grambs’ midsection.

“Drop that bat Herman, or I’m going to drop you.”

The bat hit the ground and both of Grambs’ hands went high into the air over
his head. “Goddammit Burl,” he whined, “I used to like you back
when we was in high school.”

“Everybody liked me back in high school Herman. I was a star
linebacker.”

“Yeah, you was a hell of a football player and a real nice feller, too.
Now that you’re the county sheriff though, you’ve become a sure enough
asshole!”

“Is that right? Well let me tell you something Herman. I liked you a whole
lot better before you started exposing yourself to young girls!”

“Young?” Herman squealed. “Hell Burl, she was fifteen if she was
a day!”

At the moment, Hansen needed no more than a simple spark to ignite his anger.
Vicki’s feelings were hurt, and the mere mentioning of a bar mitzvah had
turned Hansen’s thoughts to a fourteen-year-old boy way back east in Boston,
Massachusetts. Anytime and every time Hansen thought about this boy, his mood
darkened.

“Herman, I want you to get in the car, and I want you to shut up. If I
have to listen to one more word from your hillbilly mouth, I’ll probably pull
out your nasty tongue and beat you to death with it.”

Herman Grambs never seemed real smart, but he now proved to be no idiot. He
crawled into the car and managed to keep his mouth shut.
****
       Darrell Baker prepared to
cross the street in front of the Pushmataha County Courthouse when Sheriff
Hansen pulled up in his cruiser. Newly implanted in the town of Antlers,
Oklahoma, the high school junior knew few adults other than his teachers, but
he knew of the sheriff. Although Burl Hansen presently served as a small time
cop in a God-forsaken land of hicks and rednecks, he’d once been phenomenally
famous in Darrell’s home town of Chicago, Illinois. 

Darrell’s grandparents lived in this out-back country nearly all their lives.
Long before Darrell wound up here with his next of kin, he’d known Antlers to
be Burl Hansen’s home town and where the famed hero chose to return after he
retired from the National Football League.

This once awesome linebacker and a few other standouts from the Chicago Bears
had attracted Darrell Baker to football. Universities across the nation already
vied for Darrell’s tremendous passing arm. His grandparents and others assured
him the recent tragic change in his life and the subsequent move to this
backwoods dive would not hamper his lifelong dream of being a professional
quarterback. Darrell only hoped in the next four to five years, there would be
a greater presence of African-American quarterbacks in the professional ranks.

Because Hansen pulled his car into a parking space just feet away from him,
Darrell stopped in his tracks. He’d never been this close to a sports legend.
Darrell measured six-three and weighed two hundred and ten pounds. However, the
man unfolding from the driver’s seat of the muddy cruiser made him feel small.
Darrell guessed Hansen to be at least six-six and real close to three hundred
pounds. The former Bear sported a significant belly, but the rest of him still
looked capable of running down quarterbacks and crushing them at will.
****
  
Once he’d performed the arduous task of getting out from beneath the steering
wheel, Hansen adjusted the ball cap on his head and tucked his flannel shirt
into his jeans. Preoccupied with a boy in Boston he’d never even laid eyes on,
Hansen failed to notice the young man standing on the curb just a few feet
away.

“You’re Burl Hansen.”

The sheriff’s hand grasped the rear door handle to let Herman Grambs out of the
back seat. Instead, he dropped his hand and turned to face the big teenager.
“Yeah, I am. Who are you?”

“My name is Darrell Baker. I’m from Chicago, and I grew up watching you
play football.”
The athletic looking young
black kid named Baker set off bells in Hansen’s mind. Then he remembered.
“You’re Teddy and Martha Hallum’s grandson.”

“That’s me,” the boy nodded.

Hansen offered Darrell his right hand. “I heard what happened to your
mama. I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” Darrell replied as he shook hands with Hansen.

“I also hear you are one heck of a quarterback.”

“I do what I can,” Darrell grinned.

“That’s what they say. I’m anxious to watch you play. When I got a few
spare minutes, we need to sit down and swap game stories.”

“Cool,” Darrell nodded, his grin widening.

Hansen turned back to the rear door of his car wondering if the boy in Boston
possessed any athletic abilities.
****
       Darrell
Baker stepped out of the way as Sheriff Hansen opened the passenger’s door. The
man in the back with the tangled mess of thinning hair and scraggly beard did
not look at all happy. But neither did Hansen.

“Come on Herman, I don’t have all day,” the sheriff barked.

“Don’t rush me, you son of a bitch. I’m a by-god tax-payin’ citizen and I
pay your goddamned salary! So you got just as long as I want to take to
get…”

Hansen grabbed his prisoner by the scruff of the neck to interrupt the
declaration and jerk him from the back seat. The sheriff took several steps
before lowering the man enough so his feet touched the ground.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, my neck! You have done broke my fuckin’ neck!” the
stained and crusty man bellowed.

The sheriff maintained his grip, shaking the much smaller man like a rag doll.
“Shut up, you ignorant bastard or I will break your neck, both your arms
and your legs, too! Just shut the hell up!”

“Okay! Okay!” the prisoner managed through chattering teeth.

As Hansen shoved his captive in the direction of the courthouse, the man’s eyes
made contact with Darrell. “What the hell you lookin’ at, tar baby?”

Darrell thought the entire state of Oklahoma would be flat and bare, but he was
wrong. The Kiamichi Mountains, with thick forests of pines, surrounded the
southeastern county of Pushmataha. He heard the state referred to as the
Heartland and the Bible Belt. He thought the people from such a place would be
less hateful, hostile, and color conscious than the people of Chicago, but he
was wrong about that, too.

“He’s looking at an idiot, Herman,” Sheriff Hansen said before
kicking the man in the butt with the side of his boot. “Now get your ass
moving.”

The grungy man in Hansen’s custody had been the first person in Antlers ever to
verbally assault Darrell. He wasn’t, however, the first racist the newcomer
encountered. Mannerisms, looks, and subtle attitudes of some classmates had
Darrell believing that Antlers High housed more than its fair share of bigots.
It didn’t help that Darrell was one of only six blacks in the junior class of
ninety-eight students. Still, the majority seemed to have no problems with him
being a minority. Most had been cordial, and one in particular had been
downright friendly. Darrell’s reaction to this particular person had no doubt
prompted most of the racist attitudes.

Shelly Rafell had gorgeous blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She introduced
herself to Darrell during the second hour of his first Monday in the new
school. Her approach had been blatantly flirtatious, and what started as
friendly banter culminated in a date the following Friday. At Antlers’ one and
only movie theater, Darrell Baker and Shelly Rafell kissed and cuddled. Later,
in Shelly’s new Camaro, Darrell went where other boys had quite obviously
already been. Darrell and Shelly’s hand-holding the next week at school raised
more than one set of eyebrows.

The fact that some didn’t approve of the relationship didn’t bother Darrell one
little bit. He approved of it very much, and no matter what anybody else said
or thought about it, Darrell intended to take just as long as Shelly agreed to
give.

Darrell didn’t move from his place on the curb until his hero and the cracker
disappeared into the courthouse. Then he set out on his after school trek home.
Darrell didn’t intend to walk much longer. Having to walk in his old
neighborhood in inner-city Chicago was one thing. Practically everybody there
walked or took the subway. Walking in Antlers, though, proved altogether
another thing. No self-respecting high school junior in Antlers walked anywhere.
They drove. As soon as Granddaddy finished teaching him how, Darrell would be
driving as well.

In less than ten minutes, Darrell made it to the outskirts of town. With only a
few blocks left between him and his grandparents’ place, a white car pulled
alongside and slowed to a near stop. Darrell stooped to peer into the front
passenger window and immediately felt relieved to find an attractive red-head
smiling at him.

“You wouldn’t by any chance be our new football star now would you?”
The woman’s smile broadened as she brought the late model Ford to a complete
stop.

Darrell stepped up to the car and leaned in for a closer look. The contrast
between the woman’s very white skin and her long red hair appealed to him. The
tight and very short skirt riding high on bare, shapely legs practically took
his breath away. “I’m Darrell Baker, and I do play a little
football.”

“You are a tease, Darrell Baker. The word around town is you play a lot of
football, and play it very well.”

Darrell shrugged his broad shoulders and offered his best smile. A large set of
very dark sunglasses covered much of the woman’s pretty face, making it hard to
determine her age. If Darrell had to guess, though, he would put the woman in
her early thirties. Her smile really turned him on. 

“Word gets around fast in this place,” Darrell chuckled.

“Oh honey, you got that right,” she giggled, “and if the word
was to ever get out that I saw our new football hero walking and didn’t offer
him a ride, well, I’d probably be thrown out of the football booster club! You
climb in this car, Darrell Baker, and let me give you a ride,” she said,
patting the seat beside her.

Darrell didn’t argue and wasted no time squeezing in next to her.

“My goodness, you are such a huge young man,” the woman cooed as she
blatantly scanned every inch of his body. “Your arms are as big around as
my legs,” she exclaimed before leaning toward Darrell to pat his left
bicep. “and hard as a rock!”

Her blouse gaped as she leaned, and Darrell zeroed in on more than a fair
amount of cleavage. Only after nearly swallowing his tongue did he manage to
mumble, “I work out quite a bit.”

“I guess you do,” the woman sighed, as her hand went from patting to
caressing his arm. “Tell me, Darrell Baker,” she continued as she
picked up his left hand and placed it on her cream-colored thigh, “have
you got time for a little ride before I take you wherever it is you’re
going?”

“Uh, yeah, sure, I got some time.”

The woman slammed the Ford into gear and gunned away from the curb as Darrell
stroked her soft thigh. Being on foot in Antlers, Oklahoma, wasn’t such a bad
thing after all.
****
       “Oh, by
the way, my name is Shannon,” the woman in the red wig lied.

The Baker boy moved his hand only a few inches under her hiked up skirt and
started working to get a finger into her panties. “Nice to meet you,
Shannon,” the teen beamed.

Knowing she had several miles to drive, Shannon spread her legs just enough to
keep the boy occupied, then she pushed down harder on the gas pedal.

It became quickly apparent that Baker wasn’t going to be content just probing
and poking around her panties. When he started trying to work the undergarments
down her thighs, she faked a giggle. “I do like what you got in mind,
Darrell, but not while I’m flying down the road at seventy miles an hour. You
just wait ’til we get stopped and I’ll help you get those panties out of the
way!”

“I hear that,” Baker grinned as he moved his hands from beneath her
skirt to the buttons of her blouse.

Before he could free her breast for the whole passing world to see, the woman
hiding behind the sunglasses thought of something that might slow him down.
“Tell me, Darrell, why in the world would anyone leave a big, glamorous
city like Chicago to come to our little wide spot in the road?”

It worked. Baker let go of the buttons and straightened in his seat. “Oh,
uh, well, I stayed there with my mama, and she, uh, died.”

The woman acted surprised and faked a look of pity. “Oh, no, honey! That’s
terrible. How did she die?”

“Cancer,” Darrell sighed, turning his head to look out the window.

Realizing how quickly the memory of the loss extinguished the boy’s burning
desire, the woman fought back a smile. She now only needed to keep Baker’s mind
on his dead mother and off her tits just a couple of more miles. She didn’t
want the black bastard pawing at her when she parked the car under the dense
clump of trees next to the Kiamichi River.