Short Story / Writers / Writing

Blue Zone (part two) by Michael C. Keith

Table of Contents

Part One

Max Calberry, owner of the Dalby Motel, calculated there were at least a dozen reporters staying at his place. The sudden burst of business pleased him and other business owners in the town that also had enjoyed a financial windfall.

“Got no rooms left. Two reservations called in just this morning. Raking it in,” boasted Max to his cousin, Howell Burns, a local realtor.

“I’ve been getting inquiries from all over the country about houses for sale. People think we got the Fountain of Youth here in Dalby,” declared Howell.

“I dunno . . . not so sure this is such a good thing,” mulled Carl Lester, the town sheriff.

“Why’s that?” asked Max.

“More people, more crime.”

“Yeah, but more people, more money, and we could use an influx of cash in the town coffers. All kinds of work needs to be done around here,” observed Howell.

“I hear you, but with fortune comes folly, they say,” said Lester.

“Not always. This can be good for everybody. Property values are bound to rise. Yours too, Carl.”

“We’re all getting near retirement. Think of how much more we might get for our houses. Get the heck out of this climate. Move to Florida. Be able to buy cheap down there,” added Max.

At this point in the conversation, Harlan entered the Keystone Café and joined the group of regulars.

“Hey, Harlan, we’re all gonna get rich,” spouted Max.

“How’s that, Max?”

“By selling our piece of the Fountain of Youth.”


“Howey says our property is going to be worth a bundle because of all the hoopla about the town’s ancient elders,” offered Max. “Could sell the motel for a heap and retire in luxury where it never snows.”

“Don’t think anyone would get my mom to sell out.”

“Well, Harlan, no disrespect intended, but how much longer is she going to be around at 104? You clearly got good genes, so when she goes to her reward, you can live high on the hog,” said Howell, raising his cup of coffee to his lips.

“No disrespect taken, but I’m not high on living high on the hog. Just be happy to stay put here in Dalby and give any money from my mom’s house to my grandkids. She’d like that. Already suggested it.”

Howell’s cellphone rang, and he excused himself from the table. In a couple minutes he returned, all smiles.

“Just sold the old Lambert place for top dollar to some retired folks in Minnesota. They’re convinced that this town will assure them longevity. They said they believe there’s something in the soil or water here that helps people live so long. I got to go to draw up the papers. I’m telling you guys, this is a good thing.”

* * *

Michael C. Keith is the author of four story collections and an acclaimed memoir.  To learn more, click on his website


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