Malls Near and Far

A couple of friends are currently living in Bangkok. She’s Thai by birth, and he’s from various places in the USA, and somehow they ended up here in this town, where I met them. Now that she has end-stage cancer, she wanted to go home where she was most comfortable, so I haven’t seen them in months. I do hear from them periodically, however, partly because I am looking after their house and partly so he can touch base with his home country. At least that’s my theory.

She’s mostly housebound now, which works okay over there, since they have restaurants and food carts spread throughout the city, rather than clustered in specific areas as in this country. Even better, all those food outlets deliver.

What really caught my attention in the last email they sent were the photos of a mall they visited — a real treat for them since she hasn’t been able to get out except to doctors and hospitals.

The mall they went to is huge. Make that HUGE. The 26th largest mall in the world. 300+ stores. Parking for 5,000 vehicles. There are more people working in that mall than live in this entire town. And when you add in visitors, there are probably more people in that place on a given day than in the entire southeastern quadrant of Colorado.

When I stayed with my father, there was a mall I visited occasionally, and that only had 114 stores. Combine that with the mall closest to where Jeff and I lived in western Colorado, which had only 100 stores, and you’d still come up short.

I can no longer conceive of so many stores in one place. In this town, I’d bet there are only a couple of dozen stores all told, and that includes thrift stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and pot shops.

The last time I was in a real mall was many years ago when I lived in Denver — Cinderella City. It was something special back then, the first mall west of the Mississippi and supposedly the biggest mall under one roof. With 250 stores, it still falls short of the mall in Bangkok. It’s gone now — it seems as if it made history again at its end because it was one of the first malls to go obsolete.

(I’d forgotten, but I once had a store in Cinderella City, not on the main floor, but in the “Alley” where there were a bunch of boutiques. A friend and I sold clothes we designed as well as various hand-crafted gifts. My main claim to fame was a macramé pinafore with a halter-style top that I made, envisioning it as something to slip on over other clothes to dress them up, but a stripper bought it to use in her act. How did I forget that? Maybe because even though it makes a great story, it was merely a blip in my life.)

I’m sure there are many malls within a couple of hours from here in the major cities along the front range, but I have no real desire to visit any of them. I don’t particularly like to window shop and I certainly don’t need — or want — to buy anything. (I look at the images of all those container ships off the coast of the USA waiting to be unloaded, and I wonder what they could possibly contain that people want in such quantities. Almost anything I need is in this country already. And if it’s not, I probably could do without it.)

Still, it’s interesting to think of such places and imagine a different world from the one in which I live.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

Global Catastrophe

I recently came across another of those ubiquitous articles about what we can do to stop climate catastrophe. Those articles always amuse me because some of their suggestions are the same sort of things Americans were told to do in the depression, in the world wars, in the early days of the population explosion. In fact, they are the very things I have been doing my whole life, such as reducing food waste (what food waste? I have no food waste) and reducing water usage.

Other things, though, are about spending money. Lots of money. The article stressed weather-proofing one’s house, which is a good idea because it reduces energy bills. It also said to invest in energy-efficient appliances, but if you keep your use of appliances to a minimum, there’s no need to buy new appliances especially since the old ones are going to clog landfills. Same with vehicles. There’s no need to invest in an energy-efficient or expensive electric vehicle if you simply drive less. (In the past fifty years, I’ve driven fewer than 200,000 miles. Still way too much, but almost nothing compared to most people.) They conveniently forget to mention that the batteries on electric cars wear out and that they pose a hazard when they are dumped.

One thing they never, ever say anymore is to have fewer children. Back when I was child-bearing age, not having children was supposed to be good for the world and the environment to reduce the toll of overpopulation, a philosophy I adhered to. Unfortunately, most of those believers suddenly changed their minds when their biological clocks started ticking, so there was a bit of baby boom when those women who had put off having kids ended up having kids at the same time as the younger generation.

I know a woman my age who has 65 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. If she had not had any children, there would be 65 fewer people on the earth to contribute to any sort of global catastrophe. There would also be 65 fewer people to buy all those energy efficient appliances and electric vehicles, which is probably why the whole zero population growth movement died decades ago.

I suppose I should be less amused by the whole global warming thing, and I might be if it weren’t for the fact that the same panic mode has been touted my whole life while the subject of that panic has changed. And if there weren’t so much emphasis on spending money and making rich people richer. 

In thinking about all this, I considered writing a book about some catastrophe outside of our control that was about to descend on us, such as sun emissions or comets or aliens or whatever, and the whole climate change scenario was to keep us peons focused on our guilt while the power brokers raked in the cash until the catastrophe came so near that they couldn’t hide it any more.

And then it dawned on me. I already wrote that book — Light Bringer. In the novel, the problems Earth is facing has to do with a tenth planet in our solar system, one with such a huge elliptical orbit that it returns to affect Earth every 3,600 years, as was explained in this brief excerpt:

Philip made a harsh sound that might have been laughter. “In the fifties and sixties, stories of alien encounters were about saving the earth from nuclear weapons. In the seventies, eighties, and nineties, they were about saving the earth from global warming. Today they’re about creating a one world government, warning us that if we don’t have a unified global agenda, we don’t get to join the galactic federation.”

“Those are nothing more than systems of myth that each generation accepts,” Teodora said. “What we are dealing with here is a real problem. There is a tenth planet in our solar system, and it is close enough that it is already having adverse affects on the earth. Besides the growing severity of all types of storms, during the twentieth century there has been an escalating number of major earthquakes of unexplained origin. The global warming you mentioned is also being caused by the nearing planet, and during the coming years things are going to get worse.”

It could be true. Who knows.

My Changing Identity

Before I bought my house, I rented a room in a house. There were three of us — the owner, another tenant, and me. Sounds so Judge Judyish, doesn’t it? Though truly, my only problem was the owner’s careworker who used up one of my favorite spice mixes. But that was minor. And none of this introduction has anything to do with what I plan to write about except to explain why I watched certain movies.

A television and basic programming came with the room rent, but I didn’t watch until the last few months when it occurred to me that I might never have television programming again. (I actually have two televisions, one hooked up to a DVD player and one hooked up to a VCR, but I don’t have programming and I don’t watch any of the movies I’ve stockpiled.) Anyway, that Christmas, I watched Hallmark movies galore. In fact, I watched so many, I was able to tell when the next twist would come. (For example, twenty minutes before the finish, the couple had a huge misunderstanding, and then, five minutes before the end, they finally found out the truth and made up.)

One of the big drivers of such movies is that because of the main character’s problems or her parent’s problems, she has to leave her power job and adopted big city behind and move back to her hometown.

It always seemed such a contrived plot, especially since once she was there, her values suddenly changed, going from a power player to a more laid-back lifestyle. I didn’t have that experience moving here because I’ve always been something of a small-town person even though I grew up in Denver. Back then, though, there wasn’t so much driving every which way — we all more or less lived in our parishes and congregations in our own discrete neighborhoods. Each move I made as an adult took me to smaller towns, except, of course, when I went to look after my father in California, and even that conglomerate of three linked towns had a small-town feel, mostly, I think, because again, I mostly lived in one particular neighborhood, the only one close to the desert.

What I am discovering, however, that despite my feeling at home in this small town, the movie scenario, while trite, it isn’t all that contrived. I noticed that when I moved into a place of my own — a very nice place, probably nicer than I had any right to expect — my sense of self began to change. I was no longer one step away from being homeless but instead was fully homed. My habits changed and I became more of a neatnik than I ever imagined. (Well, except for my office. I still have piles of paper on my desk, heaped blanket and pillows on my daybed, and an empty cup on the bedside table.) I also became houseproud — proud that this house belongs to me as well as being proud of the way it looks and the way I keep it up.

I’ve settled into that version of me — the houseproud one — and now it looks as if I will have to rethink who I am based on the looks of the grounds the house sits on. I’m more of a dirt and weeds with a few scraggly flowers kind of person. And now . . . well, now I’m not. I’m the proud owner of an — almost — landscaped property with reddish paths meandering through brilliant green grass and skirting around bushes that are still too small to be noticeable. But one day those bushes will grow up, the wildflower sections will bloom, and I will live in a showplace.

This all seems so . . . not me. And yet, obviously, it is.

I just need to get my head around that.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Fishing Peers

November elections are coming up, and mail-in ballots are being sent out. Locally, the city wants to raise the sales tax to fund recreational activities and improvements throughout town, as laid out in this photo of that part of the ballot:

Sounds good, especially the construction of new recreation amenities. Parks. Bike Paths. Bike Parks. Fishing Peers.

Wait. What? Fishing peers?

Does this mean that if the bill passes, the city will provide fishing buddies to anyone who wants one? Since they are going to construct the fishing peers, that must mean robots of some kind. Sounds very avante garde for this area of the country, but I suppose even rural areas need to get with the times.

There are no fishing holes in town, at least not that I am aware of, so perhaps the fishing experience will be an inland excursion of some sort, just our fishing peers and us hanging around, holding a fishing rod, and hoping for some flying fish to waltz on by.

Or not.

Since a shooting range might also be part of the package, it’s possible we and our fishing peers might be shooting fish in a barrel.

What can I say: It’s government. You never quite know what you’re going to end up with when you “cast” your vote.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Peace and Plenty For All

In the book I just finished reading, the trillionaire hero was using his resources to find vaccines for the common cold as well as coronaviruses that exist now and will exist in the future. He’s also trying to revamp the medical establishment so everyone has equal access to care. And, to top it off, he’s on his way to discovering cheap, renewable energy. All in the hopes of ushering in a golden age of peace and plenty for all.

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of people want him dead, not just those you’d expect like those invested in energy businesses and medical businesses, but politicians and even humanitarians who want only to save the human race. As one such fictional humanitarian said: “People need hardship. They need something to struggle against. Someone to hate and feel superior to. Without these things, they lose their identity and sense of purpose. And they can’t handle it. Without a real enemy, they start turning on each other.”

That made me stop and think. Is it true? Do we need hardship? Struggles? Someone to hate and feel superior to? Are we really so petty that such things define us?

Hardships do change us, and perhaps even make us grow (and grow up), but would we wallow in purposelessness if we don’t experience adversity? I think about my life now, with no great hardships and hopefully, none on the horizon. It sure seems to be a good thing and is exactly the way I like it. I realize grief changed me, but before Jeff died and I became somehow different, I was just fine. If he hadn’t died and I hadn’t endured all those years of grief, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, but I’m not sure it would matter, because I only became this person so I could survive the trauma of his death, my loss, the pain, and my altered circumstances. Either way, I’d still be me with the same core values and a belief in kindness at almost all costs.

Without any trauma in my life, the only real challenge is to find something to write about every day to post on this blog. Other than that, I don’t feel as if my life lacks purpose. To be honest, I don’t think if we all were living in a trauma-less time, anyone would feel as if their life lacked purpose. As humans, we are fully capable of creating our own purpose and meaning. Besides, if we need something to struggle against, we don’t need other people; there is always our baser self which provides plenty of challenge and scope for improvement.

I do think if humans as a species always had an easy time of it, we’d probably still be living in a pre-stone-age society because it was the challenges of daily life that forced people to come up with ever more sophisticated tools. How that particular theory brings us to the age of computers, I don’t know, because there is nothing in our lives — except for our sheer numbers — that require such a mind-boggling tool. Nor does the age of computers in itself bring meaning to our lives. In fact, we bring meaning to computers, as we find novel ways of using the tools. The truth is, tools don’t bring meaning, and tools don’t bring happiness. Societies that manage to live as they always have for thousands of years are as happy or happier than we are. They don’t know — or care — about the “advantages” that a civilized life full of hardships, tools, and people to hate can bring.

I could be wrong in my assessment, but I truly do not see how a golden age could bring about a lack of purpose, with people turning on each other for no reason other than a need to have someone to look down on.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Ghosts Who Write

I got a book from the library written by what I thought was one author but it turned out to be written another author I’ve never heard of. So often, in these days when bestselling authors become brand names, after they are dead, their name lives on in the hands — and mind — of a different writer.

Which leads me to believe that old bestselling authors don’t die, they become ghost writers. (Though “writing ghosts” or “ghosts who write” might be more accurate.)

I got fed up with Sue Grafton and her characters long before she hit the middle of the alphabet, but I must admit I admire her for her stance on letting her series die with her. So Z really was for zero. (That was supposed to be the final book, Z is for Zero, but she never had a chance to start writing it.) Besides, once a new Sue Grafton writer finished with Z, so would the author be finished because there is no letter after Z. Unless, of course, her publishers started inventing new letters so that the series could continue indefinitely. (<~> is for <~>####, perhaps?) Luckily for us, Grafton put an end to that.

But other authors and publishers aren’t so kind. One author (who is still alive, by the way) has written and cowritten an estimated 278 books. (I think only 71 by himself, though such numbers are hard to find.) After he’s gone and each of those co-authors continue the brand, a thousand books — two thousand books — isn’t beyond possibility. According to one estimate, there are 26 new releases from this fellow. Some people only read books with his name on the cover, which is okay because I never do. His less than stellar writing does not appeal to me. What surprises me is that people don’t care about this particular book farm (where he raised books like cattle). They buy his books anyway.

But that’s not what this particular blog was supposed to be about. The whole purpose was to post my silly thought about dead authors being ghost writers.

My writings might continue to be read after I’m gone — after all, blogs are forever, and some of my books are on the Amazon treadmill (as long as people order them, they will be published) — but no one will continue writing in my name except by accident. (Mine is not a common name.)

I’m glad that I won’t be a writing ghost, though I would be just as glad (I think I would, anyway) if my books sold well enough for my name become a household brand.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Walla Walla Walla

Decades ago, I heard an interview with the actor who supposedly came up with “Walla, walla.” Whether he did or not, I don’t really know because the term was used in radio days and I don’t remember if he said anything about radio in the interview. I do remember he specifically mentioned being an extra in a courtroom scene on a television show, where after a Perry-Mason-like pronouncement by the lawyer, the folks in the courtroom were supposed to murmur in approbation and surprise. He said that he said, “Walla, walla, walla, walla,” syllables that are supposed to mimic human speech without actually meaining anything. One reason for the non-word is that actors were paid by the word, and since the syllables weren’t actually words, or at least not assigned words, they didn’t have to be paid as an actor with a speaking part. (As a matter of curiosity, in England, they use the word “rhubarb” for the same purpose.)

What made me remember this interview is that yesterday I watched the news with the friend I get paid to sit with (a great gig if I do say so myself), and all the newscasters talked about for a solid hour (and since it was “breaking news” they didn’t even break for commercials) was a fire. It wasn’t a particularly bad fire — at the time it was only about thirteen acres in a flat rural area, and only one dwelling had burned (the dwelling where the fire started, actually). I realize that it is a terrible and terrifying thing for the people involved, especially those who were under mandatory eviction status as well as those on the ground fighting the fire, but otherwise, it’s not a particularly noteworthy event. And yet, the news people talked and talked and talked, saying the same thing over and over again in various ways, and when the newscasters interviewed the “authorities” (the fire chief and others whose occupations I didn’t catch), those people said the same thing. Then the newscasters took over the microphone again and repeated what the interviewees had said.

At least I think they did. Around about that time, all I heard was, “Walla, walla, walla, walla.”

Because of the walla-walla-ing, I was able to tune out the newscast despite the high volume, and finished reading one of the woman’s Reader’s Digest condensed books published many years ago. (Normally I wouldn’t read such fare, but I can’t get immersed in a “real” book while I am working because I need to keep an eye and ear out for her, even if she is napping in a nearby chair, so the digest versions work well.)

Luckily, I have a day or three off from work to give myself a rest from the walla wallas.

Despite the cavalier tone of this article, I truly do hope the people affected by the fire are lucky too and that they and their property come through the crisis unscathed.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

Pumpkin Seed Saga

When I saw that the local grocery store was now selling pumpkin seeds, I was thrilled. Since I try to keep processed foods to a minimum and don’t eat bagged snacks, I’m always on the lookout for finger foods. I tossed a couple of the packages of pumpkin seeds into my cart. Then, belatedly realizing I hadn’t read the label, I scooped up a bag and read the small print. I was utterly shocked to see that, although the label said they met USDA standards, they actually came from China.

I have a real problem with China imports for various reasons I don’t want to get into here, but so often products of all quality come from China. I discovered that years ago when I tried to find sheets not made in China. Thinking that perhaps I was going too cheap, I went to a boutique linen shop. Their products, too, were made in China.

My solution? To buy only what I absolutely need.

I hadn’t realized how much the Chinese influence had flowed into the food market. I recently found out that at one time (and perhaps to this day) they exported honey that was diluted with a honey-flavored syrup that was so cheap it about destroyed the US honey industry. Dollar stores, too, sell food made in China. I can’t help but think what sort of food is being exported when China is such a huge country with a huge population to feed. Though I suppose the same could be said of the USA.

Although I might be forced to buy China-made goods occasionally, I will never eat China-grown food. Reluctantly (because I really did want those pumpkin seeds even though they looked smaller than the ones I used to get), I put the pumpkin seeds back on the shelf.

The company I buy supplements from has begun to sell pumpkin seeds, so I waited until I needed to place an order, then added the pumpkin seeds to the cart. Although the brand of seeds they sell proudly announced they were an American company selling American products, in the small print in the product information on their website (though not on the package), they admit their pumpkin seeds were grown in China. They hastened to add that they were grown to USA standards, but still, they were not grown on USA soil

Other seeds advertised as American-grown come from Mexico, but that label, though misleading, at least is true. Mexico is part of North America.

I did finally find some pumpkin seeds grown in the USA, and I ordered them. They are five times the cost of the China seeds and about twice the cost of Mexican seeds (apparently, a major factor in the price of pumpkin seeds is the hulling, which is why cheap labor is so important), but as always, you have to pay for having principles and standards.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

Wow! What a Story!

Thanks to suggestions from blog readers and offline friends, I finally wrote the mystery for the museum. I still have to list the characters and their movements and motivations on the fateful night, but for the most part, it’s finished. It sounds like a synopsis for a truly interesting novel. This is what I have so far:


It is late July, 1899, on the cusp of a new century. William McKinley is president of the United States of America. The United States, until now uninterested in expansion, has begun to assert itself and has officially become a world power. The first automobiles appear on the roads and the first traffic fatality will occur in a few weeks. Electricity is beginning to light the country.

Locally, horse racing is an important event, and people come from all over Colorado and Kansas to race and watch and bet. Gypsies camp down by the river. The Gardner House hotel is celebrating its seventh anniversary. Cowboys, as always, let off steam and try to shoot out the oil-lit street lights in front of the hotel.

Regionally, there is unrest among the Cheyenne, both the Northern Cheyenne and the Southern Cheyenne. The Medicine Hat Bundle, which included a ceremonial pipe and a buffalo horn, was the most sacred possession of the Northern Cheyenne, but in the 1870s, after a tribal dispute with the Keeper of the Sacred Medicine Hat Bundle, the pipe disappeared.

And oh, yes — a flock of crows is called a “murder of crows.”

This Story

Despite the rapid growth of southeast Colorado and the diverse people living there, it’s become a fairly safe place to live.

Until the murder of the Crows.

The Crows were drummers (traveling salespeople). John sold men’s haberdashery, and Abigail sold women’s unmentionables. When they arrived at the Gardener House, they found only one room still available because of all the activity in town. Instead of staying in room #3, which they considered lucky, the Crows reluctantly checked into room #5. Things were fine the first night, but on the second night, Abigail wakes to hear someone in the room. She starts to call out, but a figure descends on her like an immense black bird with wings outstretched. She feels terrible pain, then nothing. When she wakes again, she is dead.

The intruder is desperate. Two weeks ago, the intruder met a fellow traveler who was dying. The traveler gave the intruder a bundle containing an old peace pipe, and requested that it be delivered to a Cheyenne woman called Bright Raven in southeastern Colorado no later than midnight on July 28th or the world would burn in a terrible world war. The intruder promised, but during the journey, the intruder sensed the power of the pipe and figured there was money to be made from such an artifact. Because of the ill fortune that followed the intruder after accepting the pipe, the intruder stashed the bundle under the floorboards in the closet of room #5 in the Gardner House where the intruder was staying, until better plans could be made. But the intruder could find no one who would pay big money for an unlucky pipe of dubious origin. Ill fortune continued to follow the intruder. In desperation, remembering the July 28 deadline, the intruder, disguised in a voluminous black cape, returned to the hotel shortly before midnight on that date to retrieve the item.

It was bad luck room #5 was occupied. Bad luck that the woman occupant awoke. Bad luck that when the intruder swooped down on the woman, the knife the intruder had been using to pry up the floorboard in hand, the woman died. Bad luck that the husband awoke. Bad luck that the cowboys chose that very moment to shoot out the street lights. Bad luck that the intruder had to escape without the artifact.

During the investigation that followed the murders, the artifact was retrieved but in the confusion, the sacred pipe disappeared again. Bright Raven never received the pipe, never got to perform the cleansing ritual she’d needed to do to remove the taint.

Exactly fifteen years later, on July 28, 1914, a shot rang out.

And World War I began.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

A Tale of Two Mysteries

I’m supposed to be figuring out a mystery for a “Nite at the Museum” event at the local historical museum, but instead, the bare bones of my next book are poking at me. Not that I know what will happen in that story any more than the I know what will happen at the museum, but I am getting the feel for the story — a woman (Pat!) buys a house years after the death of her husband in an effort to build a new life for herself. As she digs around her yard, cleaning things up, she finds remnants of a previous owner’s life. She gets curious about the woman, and tries to find out what happened to her, but everyone she talks to has a different story. Some think she went to a nursing home in a nearby town. Some think she went to live with a relative in another state. As Pat continues to dig and learns more about the woman’s life, she discovers that the woman was much like her — widowed, alone, elderly, no children, few financial resources, and no one to really care what happened to her. That’s when Pat ramps up her search for woman — because whatever fate the woman met, so might the hapless Pat.

I have no idea if there is a book in these musings or if they are only in my mind to keep me from thinking about what I am supposed to be thinking of — the museum murder.

We have a basic plot for the murder, where the murdered couple (The Crows) were put in a hotel room at the Gardner House that someone else wanted. That someone else had stolen an artifact (or been given it to dispose of it), and hid it in the hotel until the heat was off and now person came back to get the artifact. Why it was necessary to get the pipe that particular night, I haven’t yet figured out, so if you have any ideas, I’d be glad to hear them. Apparently, Mrs. Crow wakes up and sees the thief. The thief swoops down on her, and when she awakes again, she finds herself dead.

What fascinates me about writing is that once a scenario presents itself, research almost always helps bring the story to life. (This has been called the gift of the library gods.)

In this case, research brought me to the Medicine Hat Bundle, which included a ceremonial pipe and a buffalo horn, and was the most sacred possession of the Northern Cheyenne. After a dispute with the Keeper of the Sacred Medicine Hat Bundle, the pipe disappeared until 1908 when a woman named Hattie Gott acquired it from a Southern Cheyenne called Burnt All Over. Hattie Gott donated the artifact to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1911. The significance of the pipe was finally discovered around 1997, and from what I can tell, it’s been returned to the Northern Cheyenne.

So my dilemma for The Murder of Crows is how the pipe wound up here (Southern Cheyenne territory) at the turn of the twentieth century, eight years before it ended up in Oklahoma, why someone hid it in the Gardner House, and why reclaiming it was so urgent as to necessitate killing the occupants of the room where it was hidden.

I suppose it could have been stolen again, either on purpose (knowing what it was), or accidentally (not knowing what it was). I also need to have some idea of what the thief hoped to gain by owning the pipe. Maybe holding it for ransom if the person knew what it was? Or desperate to get rid of it and the bad luck that followed it if the person didn’t know what it was? Although the pipe was supposed to be good luck for the Northern Cheyenne, it brought bad luck to other folk. It’s probable that the pipe was placed in the room previously, and only now has the person found a chance to return to the area to retrieve it.

So confusing!

No wonder it’s easier to think about a novel I might or might not write in some eventless future rather than thinking about a mystery event I have to create in the very near future.

Like before the end of the month. Eek!


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times