DIAMONDS, LOVE, AND UFOS…
When struggling artist/shoe clerk Caddy Keyhoe stumbles across what may be a lost and untraceable diamond, her first reaction is down-to-earth: Maybe I can sell it. But how odd to be finding it in the gutter now, after last night’s dream of a UFO scattering bright gemstones. Research via Google leads her to the website of melancholy Alec Rix, semi-failed writer and newly-minted UFO authority—courtesy of his published interview with octogenarian Hatchell T. Beckham Sr., retired from farming and strangely eager to discredit the new crop circle on the Beckham property. The crop circle perpetrated by a neighborhood hoaxer. Or by those blazing diamond-shaped UFOs that just about everybody in Hopkins, South Carolina—except old Hatch—claims to have seen…?
As Caddy’s art career takes a magical turn for the stratosphere, Alec’s friendship with Hatch deepens through the old farmer’s tale of his long-lost family. Could there be a book in this? the blocked author has to wonder. But when pursuit of the story sends him blundering into radiant Caddy on the biggest night of her life, priorities immediately change. Because what can it really mean, to “follow a star”? And what does Hawaii have to do with it?
A feet-on-the-ground story with its head in the clouds, Diamonds In The Sky reports from the Unknown with quiet wit, endearing characters, and the speculation that love just might be forever—even if not all diamonds are.
That UFO in my dream last night looked a whole lot like a big flying diamond, Caddy remembers now, staring down into the gutter at her radiant discovery. Not like a saucer at all. Circe would’ve laughed. She’d say, “You’re sure enough my true daughter, kiddo! We can’t even manage to dream conventionally!”
Childbirth had been the briefest blip on Circe Keyhoe’s rollicking downward spiral of infantile boyfriends and hard drugs that passed during the Vietnam era for an avant garde lifestyle. Caddy has few memories of her that don’t involve strange clothes, stoned hilarity, and missing underwear.
She was an artist— or artists’ model— or at least a one-time Belhaven College art history major thirsting for Life with a capital L. So as soon as accidental offspring Cadmium Red Light could be born, then named with artistic flair and dumped off onto grandparents in Hattiesburg, Circe immediately resumed quaffing in more bohemian capitals.
What had never been satisfactorily explained to Caddy was what capitalized-Life had to do with an early D-for-Death on the back of a Harley outside Santa Fe, Circe’s final hurtle into indignity, freckled arms wrapped around a drugged biker when they both became airborne. Her corpse had come to rest among cacti.
Various charcoal drawings had been left behind, lumpy nudes of both sexes. It was hard to say whether Circe had had any talent or not. Because did it take skill to make the human body look like a sock stuffed with doorknobs? Caddy, at age nine, could already do much the same thing.
What might have impressed her was if Circe had sketched her humans to look human.
“Do you think that could’ve been my real dad?” Caddy had quizzed Roofie and Pop immediately after Circe’s death. They were actually her grandparents, she’d understood that by now. Circe had been her biological mother but Caddy felt little daughterly love for her. A very infrequent visitor, Circe had always been just… Circe.
“That motorcycle rider? Honey— Caddy— he was a great bigol’ fat red-headed man, you’re just a little brown sparrow,” Pop told her.
“Cissy never stays with anybody for real long, ain’t I always said that? So no, honey, this was just one more pore fool she took up with, is my guess.” And Pop went out into the back yard to grow his okra and wave at the freight trains.
Caddy regarded his backside. “Now I’ll never know who my daddy was.”
Roofie hugged her. “Well, sugar, not right now. But maybe Cissy wrote his name down somewhere and we’ll find it among her things. Someday soon.”
“And Caddy— sugar— you’re too little to be dwelling on all this. Let me just get washed up, and I’m going to fix us some supper…” she said while twisting that beautiful ring of hers, the one with the big blue stone, encircling Roofie’s finger along with a wedding band like twin embraces.
Caddy felt little sorrow over Circe’s death, mainly frustration. She’d been waiting and waiting for Circe to tell her about her real father, and Circe hadn’t done it.
Too late now.
M. A. Harper drew pictures all during her childhood and was pretty good at it, but none of them seemed complete without a caption. When she went to Tulane University to study art, her professors praised her technical ability but labeled her an “illustrator”. Wrong. She was really a novelist. Her books have been named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program as well as the BookSense ’76 list, and she’s the author of the online FAINT GLOW BLOG as well.