Joe forced himself to look to his left, past Wade, and there she was, sitting where Mort should have been sitting right now. She'd gotten her usual ten votes in the election, but there was no else who'd got any, because Mort, his friend, was dead.

He hated it.

"Go ahead, Patsy."

"Mrs. Brown?"

"Yes. Of course."

"Mr. Esterhouse?"

"Yes."

"Eliza?"

He didn't want to hear her even speak. What right did she, of all people, have to be here voting on this, of all things?

"I vote no."

Silence, again.

"Keep going," Joe said.

"Mr. Harris?"

"Yes."

"Mr. McCoy?"

"Yes."

"Four in favor, one opposed," Patsy said.

"Motion carries," Joe said. "Any other business?"

He waited just long enough for it to be a wait. "This meeting is adjourned." He stood and walked to his right, behind Randy and Louise.

"Joe?" That was Minnie Walker. The one other person in the audience. "Thank you.  Mort would appreciate it."

"The least we could do."

"I hope that letter doesn't cause any trouble. I'd have brought it before but I kept forgetting."

"It doesn't make a difference," he said.

He tried to leave the room before anyone would say anything else, but Wade Harris was talking to Louise. He tried not to hear it but he did.

"Mort would have voted for the road," Wade was saying. "Bad luck he died right when he did."

Excerpted from:  Road to Nowhere by Paul Robertson.  Copyright © 2008; ISBN 9780764203251 Published by Bethany House Publishers.  Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.