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You almost messed up those pretty boots. He pointed at a fresh pile of fragrant poop, steaming in the brisk air inches from my suede boots. Still holding my arm, he steered me over uneven ground to a clear path.

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His baritone sent vibrations rippling through my body. He smiled. Vegetables are optional; meat, mandatory. Uh, oh. I always gave relatives and friends a free pass on good- natured kidding. But a stranger? Back away. Paint was most definitely a member of that tribe.

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Paint released me, then raised his hand to brush a wayward curl from my forehead. His flirting seemed to be congenital. Anyway, welcome to the Carolina foothills. Time to pour some white lightning. Paint zoomed off like a Clemson running back, hurtling toward the screams—human, not goat.

Urban Dictionary: bone to pick

I managed to stay within a few yards of him, slipping and sliding as my suede boots unwittingly smooshed a doggie deposit. I reached the barn, panting, with a stitch in my right side. I stopped to catch my breath. I braced my palm against the weathered barn siding. Harpooned by a jagged splinter. Blood oozed from the sensitive pad below my right thumb. I stared at the inch-plus spear. Paint had kept running. He was no longer in sight. The screams stopped. An accident? A heart attack? I hustled around the corner of the barn. I recognized Jenny, a rambunctious five-year-old from a nearby farm.

Her mother knelt beside her, stroking her hair. Was the flush brought on by some danger—a goat butting her daughter, a snake slithering near the little girl? I walked closer.

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Then I saw it. A skull poked through the red clay. Soil had tinted the bone an absurd pink. I gasped. The sizeable cranium looked human. I spotted the grave digger, or should I say re-digger. Tiny cloven hoof marks led to and from the excavation. Tell-tale red mud dappled her dainty twitching snout. A man squatted beside Tammy, speaking to the swine in soothing, almost musical tones.

Pigs were dang smart and sensitive. Aunt Eva told me it was easy to hurt their feelings. Tammy snorted, lowered her head, and squeezed her eyes shut.

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The pig-whisperer gave the swine a final scratch and stood, freeing gangly limbs from his pretzel-like crouch. Mud caked the cuffs and knees of his khaki pants. The mother shepherded her little girl away from the disturbing scene, and Paint knelt to examine the skeletal remains. Animal or human? Had to have been buried a good while.

If a settler dug this grave, it was mighty shallow. Mom, Dad, and Aunt Eva joined the group eyeballing the skull. Eva looked peaked, almost ill. I felt a slight panic at the shift in her normally jolly appearance. I thought of my aunts as forces of nature.

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Finding a corpse on her property the same day she bid her twin goodbye had hit her hard. Dad cocked his head. Or maybe a previous farmer buried a loved one and the grave marker got lost. Homestead burials have always been legal in South Carolina. Still are. Howard Hooker. Though he was a professor of horticulture at Clemson University by day, he was an aspiring murder mystery author by night.

So far, a dense patch of kudzu in a deep ravine topped his picks. Good thing Dad confined his commentary to family outings. Mom whipped out her smartphone. Dad nodded. Mom rolled her eyes. Too busy with the real thing. An animal here unearthed a skull. Should we call the sheriff? Mom nodded and made occasional I-get-it noises while she clamped the cell to her ear. Better yet, could they wait until after four? A minute later, Mom murmured her thanks and pocketed her cell.

Andy stood. We can stack them to cordon off the area.

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No needless chitchat. They appeared to be best buds. This skeleton is old news. Not our worry. I feel it in my own bones. Jed Watson? The man Eva married in college? The man who vanished a few years later? That dirtbag ran off forty years back. Eva straightened. You know darn well any skeleton unearthed on my property would have something to do with that nasty worm. Nobody wished that sorry excuse for a man dead more than me.

Authorities may have ruled Jed dead, but I always figured that no-good varmint was still alive five states over, most likely beating the stuffing out of some other poor woman. Dad liked to tell family tales, including ones about long- dead scoundrels. Curiosity made me eager to ask a whole passel of none-of-my- business questions, though I felt some justification about poking my nose here.

Was Dad truly worried the sheriff might suspect Eva? I was dying to play twenty questions. I smiled at my aunt. Eva, you like that apple pie flavor, right? Better than standing like mannequins in a receiving line. She looked haunted, lost in memory. A very bad memory.

Bones To Pick

I hurried to the small tent where Magic Moonshine dispensed free libations. My high school social studies teacher urged us to appreciate foreign customs and cultures. I smiled at Miss Sugarmouth. The top four buttons of her blouse were undone. The way her bosoms oozed over the top, I seriously doubted those buttons had ever met their respective buttonholes.

No mystery why Paint hired her. Probably too weighed down with mascara. Suck it up. No time for minor surgery. The latter would probably be the most probable outcome. Now, to pick a bone, on the other hand is a long and laborious job. First you need to crack the bone in order to get to the delicious marrow inside. Therefore, a bone to pick is a matter or issue that is expected to require considerable discussion or argument. I really felt at home and would like to recommend to all students who want to learn English properly to come to Bloomsbury. Latest Idiom List of Idioms.

Idiom Have a bone to pick with someone. Meaning To want to talk to someone about something annoying that they have done. Origin Imagine two dogs and one bone. Did you or did you not borrow my favourite jumper without asking? Please type your full name.

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