SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured over the next  fourteen days is “Shining a Light on Crime”. This is Part 8 of 14.

Roxane went to the County Registrar’s office to fill out a request for a copy of her marriage certificate. Before she could even do that though, she had to take the time to get a sworn notarized statement, which meant an additional expense of money and time. That meant one more thing to hide from Lou and her parents.


Once Roxane got what she needed, she went to the County Registrar’s office to try and get an in-person copy of her marriage certificate.


“Spell that name again, please?”


“It’s just like you see it on my license.”


“I meant your husband’s name.”


“Oh. His last name is C-A-R-L-T-O-N. Carlton. First name Lou.”


“And Lou’s not short for anything?”


“Not that I know of.”


The older woman assisting Roxane peered over her granny glasses at her.


“He’s your husband and you don’t even know what his name is? Maybe that’s why nothing’s coming up in the computer. Either his name on the certificate is not what you think it is, or the two of you never had a marriage license. When did the two of you come in and file for one, anyway? That might help.”


“Lou took care of all that.”


The woman behind the counter adjusted her glasses indignantly.


“Ha! Honey, you got to come in together to file for a marriage license, to sign it and all that. If he says he took care of all that for you, then you’re likely not married at all. I’m not sure who married you or what paper you signed, but it wouldn’t fit the laws of this this county. Are you following what I’m telling you.”


“I do,” Roxane said soberly.


“Well, you should have looked into what the rules were before you got in a relationship with this fellow. And speaking of the rules, we’re still going to take your payment for processing fee.”


The woman behind the counter waved Roxane away.


“Next!” she boomed. “I don’t have all day here.”


Roxane left disheartened for her children, but not terribly surprised by the answer. Now she needed to figure out why Lou Carlton Lytene pretended to marry her, if he and Zella really were still married, and most of all if her parents knew the truth behind everything going on.


As much as she hated it, Roxane realized she’d need to confront them next.


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