SPIRIT LAKE AND ALMONDS

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My novel The Almond People will be out in early 2017. It’s my fifth novel, and my first horror novel. When my first novel was published, people would sometimes call me a writer, and I’d always say, “Pounding one nail doesn’t make you a carpenter.” Now after five novels, I’m at the point where I sometimes think I could call myself a writer. But I learn something knew from every book I write. I’ll finish a book and think, I finally know what I’m doing, then I’ll finish my next book and think, Boy was I stupid when I wrote that last book. It’s like Bud Grant, the long ago coach of the Minnesota Vikings. He never allowed side line heaters for his team, even playing in Minneapolis in an outside stadium in the winter. Once after they’d made the playoffs, he told the team if they won the Super Bowl he would buy sideline heaters, and if they won it again the following year, he’d turn them on. So maybe after the next book I’ll call myself a writer … or maybe the one after that.
Occasionally different groups will ask me to give a talk about writing. (I call them talks because lectures or even presentations would infer I’m a writer, and I know what I’m talking about.) The most common question I get from these groups is: “How much money do you make?” My answer is always the same: “For me writing isn’t about the money”—which is what people who write say when they’re not making a butt-load of money. I like to compare writing to acting. For every Tom Cruise who makes seventeen gazillion dollars per movie, there are a thousand actors playing waiters in movies who have to work as real waiters to make ends meet while they wait for the break that will put them into the Tom Cruise category. That’s me: the guy waiting for the Tom Cruise break—or in my case the James Patterson or Stephen King break. (By the way, people have said I look like Tom Cruise, just a lot older, lighter-colored hair, much bigger nose and not nearly as good-looking, but I’m four inches taller. Eat your heart out Tommie Boy!) Will The Almond People be my Tom Cruise break where I get to fly jets with Goose and yell at Jack Nicholson? ( “I want the truth!!”) I hope so.
The second most common question I get from the groups is: “Where do you get your ideas?” That one is easy. The ideas are all around if you look between the cushions. It comes down to simply asking what if. For instance, I live in northwest Iowa, and I would guess most people living here don’t know the area is  … possessed by an evil, supernatural force! I can see you doubt me. So here we go with the proof and links to prove I’m not just making stuff up:
1. There is a lake twenty miles from where I am sitting right now that the Native Americans would not take fish from or put a canoe in because they believed it was … haunted by an evil spirit! (link)
2. In 1857 a band of Santee Sioux attacked settlers’ cabins in this area killing many men and women. A young girl, Abbie Gardner, was taken captive along with three other women. Abbie said the leader of the band was so cruel  and evil it was as if he was … possessed by the Devil himself!  (link)
3. In the town where I live, there is a cemetery where you can put your car in neutral and a supernatural force … pushes the car uphill! (link)
4. A few miles north of here, just across the border in Minnesota, there is a cemetery where it is said three witches are buried, and the cemetery is … cursed and haunted by the ghosts of the witches! (link)
What if all these things are connected? What if there is an otherworldly reason for them? The reason is the premise for The Almond People. It is set in 1965—quite frankly, because many of the characters are high school students, and I don’t have a clue how high school students think in today’s world. (What is the deal with hair the color of blue raspberry Kool-Aid? I’m not saying it’s wrong, I just don’t understand the thinking enough to write from inside a head covered with Smurf hair.) As with most of my books, The Almond People is set in fictional Cossack County, Iowa where I am the supreme ruler and things exist at my whim and  my subjects do whatever I command. I like this book. I liked writing it. I liked weaving in local lore, and I liked the characters. There’s some humor, some mystery, some scary parts, and my wife said one part brought her to tears. What more could you want from someone who might be a writer after another book or two?
Wings epress is publishing the book. They did my first book and the sequel. At that time they were a fledgling company, and I was a fledgling guy who had written a book. Most of what they published back then was chick-lit. I remember the cover artist was excited because he was finally going to get to do the cover for a murder/mystery. Wings has evolved mightily since those early years. They have updated. They do more marketing, and if you look at their recent releases, they do much more than just chick-lit. (link) They’ve always done a magnificent job of editing. They’re easy to work with and the cover work is outstanding. I’m very much looking forward to working with them again.
I’ll update you more on The Almond People as the release date gets closer.
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MY WIFE THE SORCERESS

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After careful consideration, weighing the scientific facts and doing the mathematical calculations, I have come to the logical conclusion that my wife is … A SORCERESS!!
I know what you’re going to say. “There are no such things as sorceresses. They are just scary myths like werewolves, vampires and Anthony Weiner.”
But spooky things have been happening with my wife that give me goosebumps. Take the other day. My wife was away from home and lost her car keys. This isn’t the spooky part. She loses her car keys at least once a week and her cellphone three or four times a day (I have her in my speed dial as Honey-could-you-call-my-phone-so–I-can-find-it-please?) She’s even lost our landline phone a couple times, and it’s screwed to the wall. But when she found her car keys, they were twenty miles away from where she’d lost them at a place she’d never been, and that is still not the spooky part. The spooky part is—cue the scary music—she knew exactly where the keys were. SORCERESS!!
Since then I have noticed other things I’d overlooked before. Dogs can sense magical powers, and our dog is attuned to my wife’s power. She is very big—the dog not my wife. She is by far the largest Airedale we’ve ever had. The scale groans near triple digits when I lug her onto it, and I groan just as much as the scale, because let’s face it, a hundred pounds weighs a lot more than it did when I was younger. (I have a strong suspicion my wife had something to do with that, too.) She is also the most timid dog we’ve ever had. When my wife takes the dog and me for a walk, little Munchkin dogs the size of barking rats will come screaming from a house with the intention of tearing our dog a new one. When they’re ten feet away, the little canine rodents will hit the brakes and come to a screeching halt leaving skid marks.
“Holy crap! That thing’s a lot bigger than it looked from up there on the porch.”
They’ll streak back to the safety of their house yapping all the way.

What they don’t know is if they continued toward our dog, she would let them chew her leg off and apologize for not bringing salt and pepper to make it tastier.

Our dog has a deep bark. It sounds as if it’s coming from something with three heads that’s guarding the gates of Hell. But if burglars ever broke into our house, the dog would show them where the money is—if we actually had money—as long as they promised not to hurt her.
So this meek dog will be sleeping on the floor of our bedroom when my wife walks in and startles it. The dog wakes up growling and snarling as if it’s going to rip someone a new one, then it suddenly quiets down with embarrassment and slinks off into the basement with its tail between its legs. My wife says the dog was just dreaming it was a tough Rottweiler and woke up before it realized it was a wimpy weeny, marshmallow, but I think my wife possessed it for those few seconds.
Okay, I see you don’t believe me because you have that skeptical look on your face that brings out your crow’s feet and makes you look ten years older, so stop it. I have irrefutable proof.
The other night I’m watching TV and my wife comes in carrying a plate.
“Here,” she said, handing me the plate.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“This is a piece of the fresh peach pie I just made,” she said. “I knew you’d want a piece.”
She was right. I did want a piece, but how did she know? She’d read my mind! SORCERESS!
So I ate the piece of pie so she wouldn’t know I was onto her, then I ate another piece just to be sure she wouldn’t know. But I don’t think it worked. Last night I was taking a shower and I discovered a wart I never had before. She’s turning me into a toad! SORCERESS!
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THE PIANO

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My wife wants a piano. She doesn’t play the piano and neither do I. There are all kinds of musical chromosomes floating around in my DNA. My mother never had a piano lesson in her life, she couldn’t read music, but she could play the piano by ear (mostly polkas, but it still technically counts as music.) My father’s brother overflowed with musical talent. My grandmother said when he was a baby, if someone played a song on the piano and hit a wrong note, he would start crying. When he grew up he got a doctorate in music and was the head of the music department at a major university. I’m not sure where all those chromosomes went, but I have the musical talent of a deaf badger with brain damage.
When I was young my mother made me take piano lessons. At that period in history it was the patriotic duty of all mothers to torture their sons by sending them to piano lessons (I believe it was a law passed by the Truman Administration. It had to do with toughening young boys up for the military. Having to practice Speed Boat until your fingers stiffened and became bloody stumps prepared you for sitting in a foxhole later in life with mortar rounds detonating around you. Either way you felt as if you were going to die. I’m still a firm believer that the piano lessons had more to do with the repeal of the draft than the Vietnam War.)
My two older sisters also took piano lessons, but they could play songs that you could tell were songs. My songs all sounded the same: very long pauses between the wrong notes.
My piano teacher: Okay, you sit here and try to figure out which note comes next. I’m going to run to the store to pick up some things and come back and make us some cookies. If you haven’t figured out which note it is by then, I’ll give you another hint.
After hearing me practice the piano for a month, my mother decided a better use for the money she was spending for my piano lessons would be to throw it out the window of a moving car and hope some poor person found it. I was given a reprieve from taking lessons, and as far as I know Mom never did any time in federal prison for it.
My oldest daughter took piano lessons and was good at it. My son took piano lessons, too, and after a month his teacher suggested we throw the piano lessons’ money out a car window. He inherited the deaf-brain-damaged-badger gene from me. My son also tried to play the trombone. After a week of lessons he would go down to the river and sit for an hour when he was supposed to be taking his lesson. When my wife found out, she was furious. I pretended to be mad too, but what I thought was: That’s my boy.
My grandson plays the trombone, and he’s good at it. He wants to major in music when he goes to college. My oldest daughter, his mother, wants him to major in making-a-boatload-of-money-so-you-don’t-have-to-live-with-your-parents-until-your-forty, and the trombone is the wrong instrument for that. (Tommy Dorsey was the exception.)
How did this post start again …? Okay, I remember. My wife wants a piano. We had a piano at one time. It was an ancient full size upright that weighed eighteen gazillion tons. The floor in our first house would creak under its weight, pleading with me to get the monster off it. I half expected to come home one day to find a giant hole in the floor and the monster in the basement between the furnace and the shelves of canned sauerkraut, completely unharmed of course. You just couldn’t hurt those old giants. When we moved to our new house, we took the monster with us. You can still see the scar from my hernia surgery. After a few years we gave it away to a clueless family that actually wanted it.
When I was growing up the only pianos you ever saw were the big uprights or the grand pianos the schools had. The little spinet pianos hadn’t become popular yet. When I was little I had a friend, Curtis, who had a baby grand piano in his house. Curtis was a few years older than me and a good musician. He played the guitar, piano and coronet. He and his father were on television once on some amateur show playing You Are My Sunshine on their coronets. (It might have been The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, but I doubt it.) I was over at his house once when his parents were gone. He was playing the piano while his cocker spaniel lay on the floor nearby. I had on an old pair of Curtis’ hip boots he had left out, and I was attempting to balance a broom on the palm of my hand. Both of us were smoking cigarettes we had borrowed from his father’s pack on top of the fridge. My cigarette was dangling tough guy like from my lips when the broom started to get away from me. When I moved to catch it, I tripped over the dog which made me drop my cigarette which went down Curtis’ back which made him jump up which knocked over the ashtray with his lit cigarette which went into my hip boots. By the time we were done gyrating and wildly pulling off clothes, I was on the floor in my underwear where the dog had been, Curtis was wearing the hip boots backwards with the broom clenched in his teeth while the dog played the piano—and even without fingers the dog still played better than I ever did.
Anyway, my wife wants to get a piano, and the reason she wants it is because someone wants to give it to her for free. This post was supposed to be about how people will take anything if it’s free or they have a coupon, but it’s a little late for any of that now.
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THE CARDINAL (Sort of a fable)

Northern-Cardinal

I stopped filling my birdfeeder for a few days. There are some younger birds who are at it all the time. It’s the middle of summer and food is easy to find, but they still sit at the feeder slurping up the grub. One bird in particular, a young cardinal, caught my attention. His mother first brought him to the feeder—I never saw a father. He’s been there ever since, hanging out with a few ne’er-do-well blue jays and sparrows. They don’t do anything constructive. They just throw smart aleck comments at the other birds and loiter around annoying the mourning doves and chickadees. One day I’m sure I saw them smoking crack(ed corn).

You don’t expect that kind of behavior from cardinals. They’re some of the good birds … church people. As with all bird parents, the mommy and daddy cardinal expect their little one to grow up to be something… maybe the Pope. (It never happens. No matter how hard they try, they never make it passed cardinal. I think there’s some racism involved.) The other day the mother cardinal stopped by to talk to her offspring.

Mother Cardinal: Reginald, we need to talk.

Sparrow: Reginald? I thought your name was Card Frenzy 5?

Blue Jay: Hey, who’s the sweet little cougar?

Reginald (alias Card Frenzy 5): Whoa. Hey man, that’s my mom you’re talking about.

Blue Jay: Your mom’s a fox, Card.

Reginald: Come on man, give me a break here.

Blue Jay putting a wing around Mother Cardinal: Hey sweet momma, how ‘bout you and me go someplace where we can get better acquainted? You know what they say: “Once you try jay you can’t stay away.”

Mother Cardinal shrugging off his wing: You’re crude and despicable. Didn’t your parents teach you any manners?

Blue Jay smiling: You’re trying to sound mad, but I got you blushing.

Sparrow: She’s a cardinal, Dude. Her face is always red.

Mother Cardinal: Reginald, can I talk to you alone?

Reginald, speaking to the other two birds: Can you guys give us a couple minutes?

Blue Jay smiling: I’m going over to the tree behind you. I’ll be checking out the view from the rear.

The sparrow and blue jay fly off.

Mother Cardinal: How can you hang around with those reprobates?

Reginald: They’re not that bad, and they don’t reprobate that much … well maybe the sparrow does.

Mother Cardinal: Reginald, what are you planning on doing with your life? Your father and I had such high hopes for you.

Reginald: This isn’t about that Pope-thing again is it? Because I don’t ever see it happening.

Mother Cardinal: It’s not that, but you’re wasting your life hanging around this feeder all day. There’s so much more to life than this.

Reginald: You’re the one who showed me the feeder.

Mother Cardinal, suddenly sobbing: I was a young single mother. It was early spring. Food was scarce. That’s what the feeder is for. Emergency situations. You don’t make a living from it!

Reginald: I’m surviving.

Mother Cardinal: But that’s all you’ll ever do is survive. Don’t you want to thrive? There is so much more out there than birdseed. There are bugs, berries, worms, caterpillars and grubs.

Reginald: Other than the berries, that stuff sounds pretty gross.

Mother Cardinal: You can’t depend on man to feed you all your life.

Reginald: Why not? If he’s willing to give me free food, I’m willing to take it.

Mother Cardinal: If you depend on someone, they own you and can control you. What if someday the man says, “No pooping on my car or I won’t fill the feeder.”

Reginald, shrugging: Then I guess I’d stop pooping on his car. I’ve never been into that anyway.”

Mother Cardinal after a gasp: It is the God-given right of every bird to poop on cars, especially freshly-washed ones. And what happens when the man tells you not to do other things if you want fed? Like banging into closed windows or getting into Walmart and flying around in the rafters?

Reginald: He’d never do that. He likes those things as much as we do.

Mother Cardinal gives a frustrated sigh: I’m not going to argue with you. All I ask is you think about your future. Winter is coming.

So I stopped filling the feeder to try and get the young birds out looking for food on their own. Three days later I went out to my pickup and, FILL THE FEEDER, BUTTWIPE, OR ELSE, was written on the hood in bird poop. I filled the feeder. I didn’t want to find out what or else meant.

This post feels something like a fable, but a fable has to have a moral. I’m going with: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you … poop on it instead. Feel free to come up with your own.

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THE GAME

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THE RORSCHACH INKBLOT TEST

My wife walked into the room holding a red outfit in one hand and a blue one in the other hand.
“Which of these should I wear to the Cavanaugh’s?” she asked.
I’ve been playing this game for well over forty years, and I still don’t understand it. When it’s over, I never know if I’ve lost or if it was a tie. I never win. I’ve come to accept that.
It has nothing to do with the dresses. When it comes to fashion, my opinion is the last one my wife would want. Remember, I’m the one who bought her a lavender Velour jogging suit—see BUYING PRESENTS (SORT OF). It doesn’t matter which dress I pick. She’s going to wear the one she wants to wear. It will probably be the pink print or green pants suit that are still hanging in her closet.
Sometimes we play the game with other things such as paint colors or pictures.
My wife: Honey, should we put the picture we got from the kids on the north or west wall of the living room?
Me: I think the light would hit it better on the west wall.
It’s a sure bet the picture will end up in the dining room or maybe downstairs in the TV room or anywhere but the west wall of the living room.
For a time I thought she was asking my opinion so she could find out where the picture wouldn’t look good, some kind of reverse psychology: If I like something, then it has to be wrong. But there are too many places the picture could hang, and she only gives me the chance to eliminate one of them.
Compared to this game the Do-these-jeans-make-my-butt-look-big Game is a breeze. Most first-timers will answer no in that game. “Ha, ha,” I laugh wildly. A common rookie mistake. The problem with no is there are too many variables. Maybe somebody told you a very funny joke a couple days before and remnants of a laugh are still clinging to your face. She’ll think your smirking, or because it’s thee answer, she’ll think you’re being disingenuous—Heaven help you if you hesitate as if you had to think about it before you said no.
The correct answer to the Do-these-jeans-make-my-butt-look-big Game is (If you have a pencil write this down): Only a blind moron would think you have a big butt. I’m surprised you can even keep those jeans from falling down. There’s just nothing there to hold them up. You say it loudly and immediately, and you give that answer even if you’re married to a whale … and I mean an actual whale from SeaWorld.
Unlike the Big Butt Game where you want a fast response, with The Game you need to spend some time contemplating your decision. My wife likes to think I am putting as much thought into my decision as I would in pondering the fate of the free world. What I normally do is try to remember what leftovers are in the fridge that I can eat later on, then after a few minutes I go eeny meeny miney moe and pick one of the dresses. When I know she isn’t going to wear whichever one I pick, it’s hard to get excited about it.
Once when I was young and very stupid, I thought I could avoid playing the game. I jumped out of my chair and started pulling off my shirt. “If we’re going to the Cavanaugh’s, I better get my shower taken,” I shouted. Turns out we weren’t going to the Cavanaugh’s until the following day. Good thing. It gave me a day to find out who the Cavanaugh’s are.
I’ve come to the conclusion that The Game is like the Rorschach inkblot test. My wife is doing some kind of psycho-analysis on me from my choice of dresses or picture locations. She’s probably determined that I’ve gone stark raving mad– It’s possible from playing The Game so much. I’m sure when she gets together with her friends for coffee they review the results of The Game.
Friend Number One: My husband picked the burgundy jumper. Can you believe it? The burgundy jumper.
Everyone laughs.
Friend Number Two: I don’t want to brag, but my husband picked the little black dress.
Friend Number Three: You are so lucky, and I am sooo jealous.

My Wife, speaking in an embarrassed whisper: He picked the west living room wall again.

A gasp goes around the table.
Friend Number Two: I am so sorry for you.

Friend Number One: Wow, I never thought anything would make me glad I have my husband.

Friend Number Three, giving my wife a one-armed hug: Why do you stay with him, Sweetie?
My Wife, wiping a tear from her cheek: I don’t know. I should have left him years ago when he first picked lavender Velour, but I thought I could change him. Now I don’t know what to do. He gets along with my family, the grandkids like him, and he’s fantastic at the Big Butt Game.
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THE GHOST AND MR. ME

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I believe there are things that happen which cannot be explained by worldly means, e.g., how rap and disco became popular, why the Chicago Cubs can’t win a World Series and many things involving politicians. (Where the sock goes when you put it in the clothes dryer and end up with one odd sock when you pair them up, used to be on the list, but I figured out the dryer is actually knitting a new sock from lint in the lint trap. You are not short one sock, but long one sock. You don’t have to thank me. It’s enough knowing I can clarify these things for you.)

I recently finished writing my first horror novel, The Almond People. In writing it I had to get in touch with the supernatural world. The supernatural world is not something you want to be friends with. It’s a lousy house guest. It finishes the peanut butter and leaves the empty jar in the cupboard, leaves the toilet seat up and never replaces the toilet paper roll when it uses the last of it. The worst part is, my wife blames me for all this. I try to tell her it’s our supernatural guest, but she doesn’t listen. Even when she can’t find her phone, which is most of the time, she blames me instead of the supernatural.
Over the course of my lifetime I have had some experiences with the supernatural. Once when I was fifteen, I was walking down to the river with my friend Franny to do some fishing. Somewhere during the walk and switching my rod from hand to hand, a Timex watch I had gotten for Christmas came off my wrist. I didn’t notice it until we were down at the river. Franny and I went back and searched the quarter-mile of pasture we’d walked through for two hours and couldn’t find it. Thirty years later to the day, Franny and I were walking through the same field to go fishing. I looked down at the ground and what did I see? You guessed it. A four-leaf clover! I never find four-leaf clovers. Even when I get down on my hands and knees and search for them I can’t find one, and this time I find one just walking through the pasture. Franny was amazed. The supernatural had to be responsible.
Sometimes the supernatural can be downright scary. Take the other night. I awoke suddenly in the wee hours of the morning, which by itself isn’t unusual. My bladder has become a three-hour alarm clock—they should call it the wee wee hours of the morning. But this time something was different. An icy chill crawled up my spine. I removed my wife’s cold feet from my back and the shiver went away, but still something wasn’t right. In the bedroom a thick white haze hung low to the floor like a fog in a cemetery on a humid night. I made a mental note to tell my wife to turn her aroma mist diffuser down a notch or two.
Suddenly I was gripped by an eerie feeling of foreboding. I knew something scary was going to happen, because it always does in horror novels after you have an eerie feeling of foreboding. I sat up in bed, and looked around. Then … I SAW IT! A creature silently watched me from across the room. It had a ghastly pale face with wild, unblinking eyes that glared at me. Its mouth gaped open. Tufts of stringy hair stood up on its head at severe angles like the snakes on Medusa. It was a monster without a hint of simple intelligence on its subhuman face.
I shook and whimpered in fear. A tear ran down my cheek. I didn’t have to pee anymore. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. We had to get out of the house before it came after us.
“Honey, wake up,” I said shaking my wife. “There’s a horrific beast in the room with us.”
“Does that dog have gas again?” she mumbled and rolled over. “I keep telling you not to feed her table scraps.”
“I’m not talking about the stupid dog! There’s a real monster in the room!”
She rose up on an elbow and looked around. “Where?”
How could she not see it? “Over there,” I said pointing at the hideous creature.
“Where,” she asked again, looking where I was pointing. “Over by the mirror?”
I looked closer at the monster … It was wearing my pajamas.
“Never mind,” I said. “Go back to sleep. You’re dreaming.”
She laid back down. “Am I dreaming the bed’s wet, too?”
“Yes, you are.”
That’s what I hate the most about the supernatural. It can do that shape-shifting thing and suddenly turn itself into a mirror.
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FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY

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Long ago in a different time I worked at a packinghouse to support my wife’s and kids’ addiction to food, clothing and heat. One day a guy I worked with told me he had joined the ‘Possum Club.

I studied him suspiciously. “You, who won’t buy Girl Scout Cookies from my daughter, joined a benevolent organization to raise money for charity?” I asked.

First of all the ‘Possums are not a benevolent organization,” he said. “They’ll let anyone join—I’m a Methodist, and they don’t care—and it’s not about raising money for charity. It’s about beer and poker.”

“Of course. How could I not see that,” I said. It started to make sense.

“It’s like this,” he explained. “After the meetings they stay at the lodge and drink beer and play poker until the wee hours of the morning. I love drinking beer and playing poker. But if I told my wife that I’m going out to drink beer and play poker until after midnight once a week, she’d yell at me for a half-hour and maybe leave me. I can’t have that. Nobody makes a pecan pie like she does.

“So I tell her I’m going out to raise money for poor, homeless, disease-plagued, handicapped orphans in Africa, and she says, ‘Awwwwe,’ and makes me a pecan pie.

“I’ve got it made. Every Wednesday I have pecan pie for dessert then go out and play poker and drink beer, and I’m a hero in my wife’s eyes.”

I had to admit the guy had a racket going. But it doesn’t work for everyone.

One Friday night my wife came into the living room while I was watching TV. She was carrying what looked like a handwritten copy of War and Peace.

“What you got there, Sweetheart?” I asked.

“It’s your honey-do list for this weekend,” she said. “The other half is up on the kitchen table. I’d like you to start with cleaning out the rain gutters first.”

Right away I knew I had to do something quick, so I borrowed a page from my friend at work.

“Oh, I would just love to get right on that,” I said, putting as much disappointment in my voice as I could manage. “The problem is, the Iowa DNR has just put out a notice that Spirit Lake is overpopulated with walleyes. It’s a dire emergency. If they don’t get some of them out, the entire ecosystem could suffer. I was planning on spending the weekend helping to thin down the population.”

I gave her my best disappointed look. I swear I could see pecan pies disappearing in front of my eyes.

“You’re lying,” she said.

“I AM NOT!” I protested, lying loudly. “Do you want our grandkids to grow up never knowing what a walleye looks like because they went extinct?”

Usually the grandkid card got me something, but this time her face looked as if there was a possibility that our grandkids may never see a pecan pie again.

“I’ll give you two reasons why I don’t believe you,” she said. “First: I’ve never heard of there being too many walleyes in a lake; and second, I’ve seen you fish, and your chances of actually catching a walleye and thinning down the population are about the same as if they needed the mermaid population thinned down.”

So I didn’t get to go fishing. On the bright side, by Monday you could see yourself in bottom of our rain gutters.

Just a note, I’m still working on getting my new horror book, The Almond People published. Those of you who like Stephen King books like The Stand will see a lot of similarities in the two books, such as they both have characters, pages and even page numbers.

sticks  In The Lake-WEB  gohpl  cover sm2

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