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Black Eyed Susan

Elizabeth Leiknes

240 pages
Bancroft Press

My name is Susan Spector. I have one black eye, and one blue eye. I am colorblind. I experience synesthesia. My blood type is AB negative. I was born on a leap year. Do I sound like a freak yet? Oh yeah, and I'm dying of stage four lung cancer. My diagnosis prompted me to review my life to that point. I had spent the past decades of my life wandering, not really living. I couldn't die yet. There was so much more I wanted to do. I'd never been to a nudist resort. I'd never slept with a stranger. I'd never gone to Vegas. It was the luckiest place on Earth. I figured I would try my luck there, since I'd run out of it in California.

On my way to Vegas, I had an accidental hit-and-run, which would follow me throughout the next two weeks. Once I got to Vegas, I drowned my woes in alcohol at the nearest bar. I met an exotic dancer named Calliope, who quickly became my friend. After getting drunk and spending the night at the house of a guy dressed like George Washington, an idea occurred to both Calliope and me. We created a bucket list, and decided to go on a spontaneous road trip. I didn't want to die young and boring. I needed to live fast first. When we made it to Utah, we encountered a drunk, out-of-work actor dressed as a knight. Will Hudson was his name. We took him back to his house at his boss' request, and spent the night there with him. While I did not appreciate his pompous and sleazy attitude, Calliope kept an open mind. He decided to join us on our road trip, since he had nothing left to lose.

What happens next? Maybe I fall in love, like everyone expects. Maybe I find out I'm actually adopted. Maybe I find out that my father is a murderer. Maybe a couple of henchmen find me and I die during the second week of the road trip. You'll just have to find out for yourself, because I'm quite the storyteller.

Author Bio
Elizabeth Leiknes spent her childhood obsessed with tornadoes, rainbows, and what might be on the other side. She wrote Black-Eyed Susan while listening to the musical stylings of Donna Summer, Bruce Springsteen, and the Willie Nelson album "The Rainbow Connection." She has a secret soundtrack running in her head 24-7, and her bucket list includes traveling cross-country using random songs on the radio to guide the way. This would be really cool if she didn't have a full-time job. And two kids. And a husband. And a mortgage. And horrible map reading skills. Like her protagonist, she can't decide if she's dreamer or just plain ambivalent. Or whatever. Elizabeth is the author of two other published novels, The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns and The Understory, and teaches English near Lake Tahoe.