A Murder of Crows

The basic story for the museum mystery event “A Murder of Crows” was laid out here: Wow! What a Story! So there’s no reason for me to tell the tale again except to say a stolen peace pipe was supposed to be cleansed to prevent an eventual World War; instead, the Crows ended up dead, the pipe disappeared, and fourteen years later, World War I began.

Major Players:

Mrs. Lottie Gardner: When Circuit Judge Ewell suggested that Lottie build a hotel, she hesitated, not wanting to pay high interest rates. But Judge Ewell promised to find her low interest rates, she built the hotel, and lived happily ever after. Until the Murder of the Crows, that is.

Abigail Crow: When Abigail woke up dead, she found that her husband had disappeared and now she’s wandering the Gardner House looking for him so they can be together once again.

Circuit Judge Ewell: He has traveled extensively through the region and stayed at the Gardner House many times, but because he was instrumental in getting the hotel built, he wouldn’t have done anything to jeopardize his favorite hotel. Or would he?

Sheriff The sheriff is used to cowboy hijinks, crimes of passion (both anger and love), and drunken brawls, so when the Crows are so senselessly murdered, he is at a loss, though he is determined to get his man. Or woman.

Bright Raven: Bright Raven could be a suspect, but since she was planning on cleansing the sacred pipe in the interests of world peace, how likely is it that she would murder innocent people?

Major Suspects:

Jennie Wren: Jennie is a chambermaid who wasn’t assigned to clean Room Number 5, so the sheriff is mystified to find her fingerprint in the room. Jennie claims the woman who was supposed to clean the room said it was haunted even before Abigail was killed, so Jennie changed places with her. Is this the truth or did Jennie do the dastardly deed? But as far as anyone knows, Jennie has never been out of town.

Nell Starling: A reporter from Pueblo, Nell is in town to write about the races and any other events of interest, but could that simply be an excuse to come to town and commit the murders? But there is no indication she has ever been in town before, and no record of her staying at the Gardner House.

Selina Heron: A gypsy fortuneteller and self-proclaimed seer, Selina promises to find out who killed the Crows. She says the cards will tell her or perhaps Abigail herself will come to her in a vision. But is this just a lie to keep people from looking at her more closely? After all, as a gypsy, she does travel all over. Yet she denies ever staying at the hotel because she can always camp down by the river with the rest of her people.

Professor Crane: A well-known medicine man and purveyor of snake oil, the professor has been in town and stayed at the Gardner House many times. He had plenty of opportunity to meet with the mysterious traveler who had passed on the sacred pipe, and plenty of opportunities to hide the pipe in the hotel. He didn’t show up in town until after the Crows checked in, so perhaps he tried to reclaim the pipe anyway. He denies being the killer, but can he be trusted to tell the truth? After all, he is, at heart, a snake oil salesman.

Thomas Finch: A Sherlock Holmes wannabe, Thomas is in town detecting whatever he can in an effort to make a name for himself as a master detective. He thought there would be plenty of nefarious behavior at the races, though he didn’t manage to detect any, so the murders seemed a lucky break for him. Unless, of course, he did the deed to give himself a high-profile case.

Clarence Hawk: Clarence appears to be a simple beet digger, though he has traveled some—at least 25 miles to the nearest town—and he has enough book learning and native intelligence to be able to know what he had (if in fact, he did have the sacred pipe before it was hidden). But would he kill? He’s not telling.

Karen Kingfisher: This candy shop lady is more than she seems. She’s an avid student of tribal lore, so if a sacred pipe had come her way, she would have done anything to keep it in her possession, maybe even kill. But as far as anyone knows, she’s never been out of town since she stays close in case of a candy emergency.

Minor Suspects:

Although the sheriff has pinpointed a few major suspects, he’s the first one to admit anyone could have committed the crime, even the most unlikely folks, such as the preacher, the school marm, and even his own deputy, so he intends to interview as many people as he can. Including you.

***

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:

History

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

Family Lore

I’m reading a book about Roosevelt’s Island in New York. It was named Roosevelt’s Island in 1973. Before that, it was Welfare Island. And before that, it was Blackwell’s Island. Although it has a sad and appalling history as a place to house the unwanted — criminals, sick people, mentally ill folks, people who were lost and didn’t speak enough English to explain where they wanted to go — I have a personal interest because a woman who might be my great-grandmother was once incarcerated there.

According to family lore, our family comes by its insanity naturally — we inherited it. My great-grandfather was a scientist and inventor. He worked with Edison and other renowned scientists of the day, perhaps even Tesla. He invented the postmarking machine and foolishly sold the patent to get funds to invent a subway sweeper that never caught on. The people who supposedly did him a favor by buying the patent, became very rich because that postmarking machine was used continuously until the digital age made it obsolete. This otherwise intelligent man — my grandfather — had been married twice. One wife he threw down the stairs. The other he consigned to the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

The asylum was supposed to be a state-of-the-art facility, with patients classified as to their illness, rather than all thrown in together, the violent and harmless alike. The Asylum was also supposed to be moral, treating the patients like humans rather than like depraved animals. This humane mental institution never materialized. Instead, the asylum was a dreadful place that journalist Nellie Bly described as a “human rat trap.” Even worse, since convicts from the nearby penitentiary were used as guards and attendants, the patients were “abandoned to the tender mercies of thieves and prostitutes.”

No one knows which of my great-grandfather’s wives is my great-grandmother, but even if she weren’t the one committed (especially since there’s a chance he had her committed for his own reasons rather than her mental state), the insanity could come from dear old great-grandfather himself because there seems to be a portion of insanity in incarcerating one woman and tossing another down the stairs

His son, an embezzler who never quite measured up to his father, went to prison for a while and died an alcoholic at 96.

My father kept himself on a tight rein to keep from turning into his father, which was an imbalance of a different sort, and caused all sorts of problems, especially with his oldest children.

My older brother seemed to have inherited all the family craziness — he was a brilliant inventor and electronic genius at the age of twelve, and then he succumbed to the same devils that had tormented his progenitors.

For all I know, I might have inherited some of these problems, but I have more of the Polish placidity of my mother’s family than the German genius and volatility of my father’s family. And besides, it seems to be a sort of insanity that is passed down from father to son.

Not that any of this makes any difference. All those people are gone now, and nothing can change anything that happened, but I do sometimes think of my great-grandfather and his wives and wonder what happened to the poor woman who was sent to Blackwell’s Island.

***

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.

Murder Mystery Proposal

I submitted a proposal to the museum today for the murder mystery they’ve planned for the end of October.

The first mystery I created was based on a Clue game, so all the character’s names were colors. Various comments and suggestions from people gave me the idea of bird names. The victims could be a couple surnamed “Crow,” and the event could be called “A Murder of Crows.” Not everyone knows that a group of crows is not a flock but a murder, but that shouldn’t make any difference to the game.

Crows have nothing in particular to do with this area, though this part of Colorado is a good site for birding. (Except when it comes to me. Out of the 400 species that have been sighted, I’ve seen only a dozen or so.) Because of a lack any historical connection to crows, my proposal was just a first draft to get things going. Still, the museum director seemed to like the idea.

One of the characters could be a woman reporter, whose name could be Brenda Starling or more probably, Nellie Starling since Brenda Starr wasn’t created until the forties and Nellie Bly was active during the historical time of this event.

I’d also like one of the victims to be a ghost, roaming around looking for either her husband, their killer, or both.

And there’s a local medicine man who would make a good huckster.

My job is done for a while. The next steps need to come from other people, such as signing up people to play various characters and finding out noteworthy local events from that time. And I need help figuring out the visual clues, though I have a hunch that will be left to me.

I did have visual clues the first time, such as a photo of a man with a saloon girl he claimed never to have met, but since the museum is rather large for such a small town, I think clues like that got lost. This time, I figure we can put a silhouette of a crow by any clue, photographic or otherwise, to give people a hint.

I’d like to use fingerprints somehow. It’s possible I could just put a photo of a fingerprint by the crime scene and then simply tell people who it belonged to, though the person would deny committing the crime. Another possibility is to give all the characters a photo of a fingerprint they can hand out so people can check who the fingerprint belongs to, but the logistics of doing that seem a bit too complicated.

What makes this sort of game hard to create is that it has to be enigmatic yet logical, as do all mysteries. It also needs to be convoluted yet easy enough to solve so that even kids can play.

Until the museum folks gather some of the information I need, I don’t really have to do anything else to put it all together. Except think, of course. It always helps me to play out various scenarios in my head before I lay them out on a page.

A big thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for this project. It certainly makes it easy for me to come up with a proposal when all I have to do is collate other people’s ideas!

***

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

Odd Thoughts

Today is following the pattern of my previous two or three Mondays. I got up, did my knee exercises, made my bed, folded my quota of origami cranes, dealt two cards for a simple tarot reading, checked a few things on the computer, then drove to the mechanic’s shop.

As on the previous Mondays, I talked to the mechanic for a few minutes, then drove away. He’s dealing with some post-Bob issues, and even all these months later, isn’t back to his normal healthy self. He’s been closed the past week, and even though he’s way behind in his work, he planned to work on my car today. I didn’t want to put more pressure on him, so I made an appointment for next Monday instead.

The problem is one of the brake cylinders. Three were replaced, but the VW parts place sent the wrong part in the right box, so that fourth cylinder has to be replaced as well as — perhaps — the master cylinder. Because my brakes seem to work for the light driving I do — a few miles out and back on the four-lane highway outside of town — I can wait a while longer.

I did have an odd thought as I was driving that road — it was once part of the Santa Fe Trail, and it occurred to me that the brief journey I took today would have been an arduous, all-day trek for those folks. (Well, I did say it was an odd thought, not a deep thought.)

Once back in town, I went to the library and got a few extra books than I normally do because I wasn’t on foot. (Luckily, being a loyal and constant patron has its privileges, so they don’t hold me to the normal limit.)

And then, as I have done after coming home from a library visit ever since I was a child, I immediately grabbed a book and plopped down to read.

In the book I chose, the crime scene investigators used a CrimeScope — some sort of blue light — to check for fibers and stains, of which there were a lot. Afterward, they used Luminol to check for blood.

That’s when another odd thought popped up. I wondered what we would see if someone checked for those things in my house. After all, it’s almost one-hundred years old, and has probably seen a lot of living and maybe even some dying.

Except for purposes of this blog, I put the thought out of my mind. I don’t want to know where the invisible stains are, and I definitely don’t want to know what they are, especially since one over-night visitor claimed to have seen a ghost in my guest bedroom/office.

Which leads me to another odd thought. Why do people who think they see a ghost think they are seeing ghosts rather than that they are hallucinating? I mean, if I saw a ghost in my house, I wouldn’t get scared and think to myself, “Oh, no. A ghost.” I’d get scared and think, “What the heck is wrong with me?”

That’s enough odd thoughts for the day, though who knows. The day isn’t even half over, so there is plenty of room for more odd thoughts.

***

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

Does Anyone Ever Win a War?

In the book I am currently reading, two of the characters are talking about wars generally as well as World War II specifically. About the latter, one fellow says with great satisfaction, “We won that one.” The other responded, “So they say.”

Which makes me wonder: does anyone ever win a war? I know what we are supposed to believe, that yes, wars are won, but when you count up all the losses, can even a significant victory be considered a victory?

Which then led me to remember those times when soldiers killed innocent people. In a war, is anyone innocent? Is anyone guilty? Aren’t the soldiers innocent, too, at least those who were drafted? You force a kid to fight, you arm him or her, send her into battle when perhaps all the kid wants to do is sit and read or play football or watch movies, and then the leaders of the countries — the only ones who should bear the guilt of war — sit back and play a war game with real people. So, from that stand point, aren’t the draftees innocent, too?

It always irritates me when people say humans are a war-loving lot, because the truth is, most of us abhor violence and wars and being forced to do what we don’t want to do. When the draft was instigated in WWI, many of the draftees simply ignored the notices. The war had nothing to do with them or with protecting their families, their counties, their states, and they had more important things to do, such as raising crops or raising a family or perhaps even raising Cain in a localized manner. To force these kids to do their duty, the government took action and went after the slackers. Even those who registered as conscientious objectors were thrown into prison, where some died of the privations and harsh discipline

Sometimes, those who didn’t want to go to war were coerced to register by the women who, of course, didn’t have to go to war and who believed the romantic ideal of war that was being propagated.

I never considered those who enlisted as innocent, especially in recent years, because they should have known what they were getting into, but considering the ongoing propaganda, the lies that were told to get folks to enlist (that they can choose their assignments, they can learn the trade they want, that it’s simply a job opportunity, that that it’s primarily a way to earn their way into an educational system), and even the court involvement (being given a choice of jail or the military) I don’t even know any more about the innocence or guilt of the enlistees.

As for our natural human propensity for killing: In WWII, the kill rate was low, with many of the soldiers firing wildly on purpose, or not firing at all, so the war-mongering leaders set out to fix that. The simplest and least intrusive way was simply to switch the classic round target with the silhouette of a person, but some people were also subjected to various war games (the origin of video games) and by the time Vietnam came around, the kill rate was high, and the number of people refusing to shoot was low.

So who here is innocent? Who is guilty? Who won?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t imagine anyone does.

***

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.

Too Much Time Alone?

The book I am currently reading is about a computer genius, which makes me wonder: what did computer geniuses do before computers? Were those the folks back in prehistoric times who notched rocks to tally up goods or time or simply as the development of mathematical thought? Or were these the folks the village idiots, unable to do anything practical because the tools of their trade had not yet been developed? Or perhaps these are the folks in insane asylums, banging their heads against the walls because they have no other way of processing the codes they can see inside their minds?

Or did our brains evolve along with the computer? Since obviously there was no need for computer geniuses until the computer was invented, did the universe or natural selection or whatever it is that decides these things, keep our brain development in line with our tool development?

Can you tell I am spending too much time alone? With no other stimulation than the books I read, the computer game I play, or interacting with people via this blog, I am pretty much left to my own devices, which means wondering about foolish things.

It could be worse, though. I talked to an acquaintance today who was off work for two months battling The Bob.

I’m always hesitant to wish for things because whoever it is or whatever it is that grants our wished is utterly diabolical. A couple of months ago, this person wished he had more time at home with his wife, and do I need to tell you what happened? Yep, both got sick, so they got to spend a lot of time together.

They’re both mostly doing okay now, which is nice because others I know didn’t survive.

Since I no longer follow any news source, my only news comes in the form of sporadic gossip, so I don’t know the truth of this or not, but supposedly, they are expecting The Bob to be around and causing havoc for the next seven years.

Ouch.

I do have hermit tendencies, but seven years of mostly being isolated? At the end of that time, the questions spinning around my head probably won’t be anywhere near as cogent as the ones plaguing me now.

But who knows — by then, I might even have come up with a few answers.

***

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

Saying “No” to Outrage

In a cold war spy novel I am currently reading, I came across the sentence, “Outrage is a luxury available only in the West.” It was meant to explain the stolidity of the Russian workers, and I might not have even noticed the sentence if not for all the outrage that is so prevalent. Outrage in the USA is growing, and was most especially noticeable during the last presidency. Too many people thought they were the only ones who knew the truth, were the only ones who knew the best thing for the country. It didn’t matter what side of the line they were on, they were outraged at the folks on the other side for being liars, cheaters, racists, communists, sexist, for not caring enough about the poor, not caring enough about the economy, and on and on and on.

Outrage has been called a drug, one we really can get addicted to because it makes us feel smarter than other people, more in the know, more powerful. When outraged folk make comments, in their mind, it’s not opinion, it’s fact, even though the comment is no such thing — no matter how widespread, an opinion is just that — what something assumes is the truth.

Even worse are the outraged folks who do “research,” which means they read an article or two on the internet that solidifies their opinion.

Worst of all, of course, are those who try to ruin other people’s lives and careers because those other people deserve it for not agreeing with the current party line. And the person who did the ruining gets to feel puffed up and self-righteous when all they are is ignorant and arrogant.

Still, whatever the truth of the assertion that outrage is a luxury available only in the West, and however dangerous outrage is, outrage does seem to be one of the last freedoms we have.

Over the years, our freedoms have gradually been eroded in the name of safety. (Which is why I wrapped the story of Bob, The Right Hand of God around the theme of freedom vs safety. How much freedom we’re willing to give up for safety, and how much safety we’re willing to give up for freedom.)

Until outrage came along, the mainstay of freedom was the ability to say “no,” which is basically a power of the powerless, but gradually, that freedom is being taken away. For example, at the moment, it’s a choice whether one gets the current vaccine, though some people want to make it mandatory. In other words, saying “no” is no longer always possible. We’re so used to going along with the flow, doing what we’re told, that most of us no longer even think to say “no,” even when it is possible.

So what’s left is outrage. A luxury, perhaps. A freedom still.

Personally, I have no interest in being outraged about anything, which is why, except to see if someone left me a comment, I no longer spend any time on Facebook, watching the news, reading novels based on current policies, or anything that might draw me into the outrage culture.

It’s simply not worth it.

Luckily, I still have the freedom to say, “no.”

***

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?

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Cold War Spy Story

I’m reading a spy novel from the early eighties. Back then, the story would have been straight from the news and a real nail biter. Many decades later, I would have thought it would be more of a curiosity than a compelling novel. After all, there was that whole glasnost and perestroika thing in the late eighties, which should have relegated all these old cold war era book obsolete, but here we are, once again, in a competition with the Russians.

And so this old book is, for the second time, straight from the news.

I’m still rather mystified by the whole thing. I mean, there we were in the nineties and aughts, one big happy family, with only the middle eastern terrorists spiking our Kool-Aid. Makes me wonder what the heck is really going on now.

To be honest, the cold war conflict wasn’t much of a war. Oh, we were told it was, and the newspapers did their job of riling up folks, but behind it all, if you dig deep enough, you can find western countries (most notably the USA), parceling out technology to both sides. Apparently, Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex” was too complex to willingly let go of all the power they’d garnered during WWII and then Korea. And so they kept us frantic about the possibility of a wide-scale nuclear conflict. (Nu-clee-ar, not nuc-u-lar!) [If you’re curious, Anthony C. Sutton, a British-American economist, historian, professor, and writer, was one of the incredibly knowledgeable researchers who tended to find out the truth of such matters.]

Still, the cold war hostilities did come to an end for whatever reason. Probably because nuclear power became old hat. Other means of annihilation are so much more efficient. Just think what would happen if some erstwhile favored country didn’t like the USA’s new economics policy that tried to even out the trade deficit, and instead of unleashing their nuclear weapons in a great show of force, they gradually let out a lethal bio-weapon that killed off the old and feeble rather than the young and healthy as the old way of war did. A lot of people would become causalities of a war they didn’t even know was being so stealthily fought.

Of course, that could never happen to such news savvy people as we are.

And anyway, we are back to the old days where Russia is once again the enemy. I have no idea what happened to glasnost and perestroika. Apparently, I was so busy reading about the past, I neglected to keep up with the present, so it came as a shock to find that Russia is once again up to their old anti-American spy tricks. (Or perhaps being put up to their old tricks?)

The end of the movie Blast from the Past was supposed to be humorous, with good old Christopher Walken unable to believe the truth that the Russians were no longer the enemy. Knowing how wily they were, he immediately began planning a new bomb shelter to protect his family from them. And what do you know — the ending of the movie turns out to be less than simply humorous and a lot more prescient.

***

If you haven’t yet read A Spark of Heavenly Fire, my novel of a quarantine that predated this pandemic by more than ten years, you can read the first chapter online here: http://patbertram.com/A_Spark_of_Heavenly_Fire.html

Buy it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024FB5H6/

Download the first 30% free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1842

Yang and Yanger

When I was young, I thought the world would be a different place when women began to run things. Oh, my — what was I thinking?

Looking back, I suppose I was thinking that the women who would achieve leadership would bring feminine attributes to the position, a mother earth (or earth mother) who sees all, gently ushers us to peace and prosperity, shows us the way to kindness and caring, displays wisdom and understanding and especially creativity — an outflowing of life-giving forces that take us where we need to be.

Instead, what we have are a whole slew of Lucrezia Borgias and Lizzie Bordens. Women who will do anything to achieve their ends (their ends, not our ends), to do what is best for them (best for them, not best for us). Women who, it seems, will bludgeon us with their power and if that doesn’t work, they’ll bring out the axes. (I’m probably maligning Lucrezia and Lizzie for the sake of parallelism, but they were the first names that come to mind for examples of women who are seen as more vicious than men.)

I know the consensus is that women have to be more ruthless than men (unless you were a supreme court judge, then you needed to be simply ruth), stronger and more aggressive to get ahead, but if this is the case, then what do we need women in power for? We already have men playing those games. Instead of the balance of yin and yang, we now have yang and yanger. This doesn’t bode well for a well-rounded world, which, in fact, isn’t round but is an oblate spheroid or oblate ellipsoid, but you get my point.

Their point, the point of those in power, that is, has nothing to do with a well-rounded society at peace with itself and the world. It has everything to do with . . .

I had to stop here and think. What is the point of those in power? What are they trying to gain? More power for themselves, of course, as well as a ton of money, but other than that, I haven’t a clue. All I know is that both men and women are struggling for a power that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with making us or our lives better.

It’s disappointing to me (the me that was once young and idealistic) that women are settling for so little. I thought we were better than that.

Apparently not.

***

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