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Tennessee Plates

186 pages2 hours


In ’68, the hot smoke and cold eyes of ‘Nam stalked Elvin Suggs. Now, it’s a blonde in a tight dress—and, he doesn’t want to run. Suggs is no stranger to heartache. Years have passed since the Hubble brothers murdered Cherie, his ex-wife. When he receives an offer on his Memphis home, Elvin decides it’s time to confront his poignant past. With his Airedale, Vanna, beside him, he leaves St. Louis. Thirty minutes outside of Memphis, he passes a silver Caddy with Tennessee plates, by the side of the road. He decides to stop, and meets Shelby Swain.
Shelby is working at a St. Louis nightclub when her ex-husband, Myles Lamour informs her that sleazy Ronald “Jupe” Jupiter, solicited his defense in a murder charge. When she returns to the Galaxy Apartments, managed by parolee, Nester Arseneaux, she discovers her look-alike friend, Claire Ireland, dead in her living room. Shelby decides to run from St. Louis. When she stole enough cash from Arturo’s safe to start a new life, she killed Arturo’s brother, Hector, and ran, first to Reno, then to Chicago, and finally, St. Louis. She decides to hide out at her Mama’s trailer in Memphis. That’s when the Caddy broke down—and Elvin showed up.

Di Redding and Cobra Glynes, Suggs’ business partners, smell trouble all the way from St. Louis. When he tells them that he has met a “blonde angel” and is reconsidering the sale of his home, they decide to go to Memphis. Meanwhile, Elvin is falling in love with Shelby.

At one time, Jupiter, Nester, Eduardo and Santy were former inmates in a Texas prison. One night, outside The Lounge by Maurice, Jupiter runs into Eduardo and Santos. They bribe the owner, Maurice, for Shelby’s forwarding address. Jupe has regrets when he sees the paltry payofff, and visits Myles LaMour to explain the situation. Eduardo and Santy drive to Memphis, and spot Shelby and Elvin on Beale Street, where she applied for a job as a country singer at the Heartbreak Hideaway. They chase them through the crowd, but lose them—this time. Fortunately, Di and Cobra also spotted Elvin and Shelby. They convene at Elvin’s house. Without warning, Shelby grabs the keys to Elvin’s car and takes off, dropping her cell phone on the way. The recorded message divulges her aliases. Elvin, Cobra and Di go to the trailer court to wait for Shelby; but, Shelby is headed for the Scotland Yard Motel to meet Jupe, before she returns to the El Dorado Trailer Court. When she does, a shoot out ensues. Elvin shoots Santy. Arturo becomes impatient for Eduardo to return Shelby to him, and flies to Memphis.

Shelby leaves the El Dorado Trailer Court to perform at the Heartbreak Hideaway. Elvin, Di and Cobra are in the audience.The show ends, and she runs backstage, where Eduardo and Arturo wait for her in the darkness. Arturo aims for Elvin, but Elvin’s trigger finger is faster. He shoots Arturo. Elvin searches for Shelby in her dressing room, but she is gone. He discovers a pink clutch purse that contains a Tennessee driver’s license that belongs to Shelby Swain. The other two licenses, like Shelby, are gone. Elvin realizes he fell in love with a woman he never knew. He sells his home in Memphis.

Elvin, Di and Cobra return to St. Louis. The Jeopardy championship is on television, and they watch as Nester wins the grand prize. He decides to donate a portion to military veterans, so they can enjoy a chance to do something they always wanted to do. Elvin couldn’t agree more!

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