Marooned in an Oregon trailer park, Josie Wallgood thinks she's discovered a way to hit it big as a psychic headliner. While barely making rent money as a fortune-teller spinning tales for the gullible, a trusting heiress hires her to exorcise the spirit of her father Max who was killed in action during the Korean War. Josie teams up with Cain Reeves, a washed-out minor league catcher, and hatches a plot to bilk her client out of the family fortune. But something seems to be going wrong...
Josie munched on a slice of pepperoni, patrolling the porch with a pensive frown. She looked up at the cotton-wool clouds squatting over the strawberry fields. Raindrops were strung along the clothesline, popping like corn as they hit the hood of her stranded Ford Pinto. This was the fifth straight day of rain in a gloomy, sodden spring that so far had not lived up to the promise of the budding lilacs eavesdropping by the front steps.
Rain made mud; mud made ruts, and ruts made rivulets in the county road meandering through the pudding-soft patch where her Nashua hunched in the mire. The aluminum trailer shimmered in the drizzle, moldering beneath a giant oak in the Jewel Grove Trailer Park. Water dripped from the tar-paper roof to the ramshackle porch and splattered against the door she had swung wide open. A steady stream gushed from the downspout and splashed like Multnomah Falls at her feet. This was a sky flood. Every March the lush Willamette Valley soaked up the deluge and percolated the excess in a mushy soup, leaving an islet in the muck where her trailer wallowed.
Josie took a look at it all – dripping and hissing like a busted steam boiler. The whole scene was as depressing as her funky mood. Oh, well, she sighed listlessly, arching her back while both hands cinched her waist. It was home, and it suited her just fine. Didn’t matter much what the rainy weather brought. More mud on her boots, her doorstep and in the trailer didn’t bother her. Wading through puddles the size of eastern seaboard states to wash her clothes was a drag, but she was used to it. The laundry could wait anyway. Till hell froze over if necessary. Josie never was much for housekeeping. Waste of time really. She had better things to occupy her talents – important things. Like predicting destiny and toying with fate. Dirty clothes could pile up to the ceiling. The grimy floors could buckle, warp and fucking fall apart for all she cared. It didn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things, did it?
Her ruminations were disturbed by the rattle of a loose tailpipe and the clatter of an old Dodge coughing up the county road. Josie squinted to get a better view of the liverish blob splashing through the puddles. She knew that car. It was Roger’s. This was going to be a lucrative day. Roger always had a gullible ear and an empty head for business. Just what the situation called for given that the Pinto sinking in the muck outside her door had no battery and needed a muffler. Roger was just who Josie wanted to see sloshing toward her homestead: a sucker with cash in his pocket.