The Stories

Murder Cabin: The Background and The Tease

And so it was that we recently traveled to Pecos, New Mexico. (The beloved faithful readers of this blog are fully aware of such an adventure, as I have babbled about it for several posts now, to the point that I’m sure some of you are all “so you can drive a car and read a map, we’ve got it, move on”.) I knew in advance that I wouldn’t know many of the folks slated to jointly arrive at our destination, but I trusted our Beatific Hostess had carefully tossed her salad of invitations.

We ended up at a lovely family vacation enclave (not my family enclave, we don’t have that kind of coinage just lying around) high in the mountains (still don’t know the name of the mountains, I should probably look that up someday). This beautiful and serene private resort, that my family does not own, goes by the name of “Hidden Valley Ranch”. (I am totally not making that up, even though I often make things up at Bonnywood. I realize that my veracity is always in question. Such is the curse of spending far too much time in my head and not actually socializing with real human beings.)

At said ranch, we were forced to socialize, Well, at least I was. (My partner can talk to anybody about anything at any time. It’s a superpower that I don’t have. Instead, I generally hover in the background, take voluminous mental notes, contemplate how said notes can be transformed into whimsical blog posts about nothing, and pray for the availability of alcohol.)

Hidden Valley Ranch did not disappoint with the octane fluids. They had copious crates of the Devil’s Juice, begging for plunder. I felt it my duty as an American to support the law of supply and demand. Within mere seconds, I was best friends with everyone in that hidden valley. We laughed, we cried, we braided each other’s hair and pinky-swore that our newly-minted relationships were rock solid and would never die.

Shortly after the bonding ceremonies, which may or may not have involved peyote (it was New Mexico, folks, things happen), certain questions started wafting my way.

“So, you’re a writer?”

“What do you write about?”

“Are you going to write about us?”

Me: “Actually, I hadn’t really…”

“Wait, aren’t the two of you staying in that one cabin way the hell away from everybody else?”

“We probably couldn’t hear you scream. Aren’t you worried about getting killed?”

“Does it get cold enough at night to preserve your bodies for the crime scene investigation?”

Me, getting a little bit desperate due to all the pressure: “Well, I suppose I could write a murder mystery…”

“Oh my God! That would be perfect. Who will you kill first?”

“Don’t kill the cook first, we need to eat and nobody else knows how to work the coffee pot.”

“Am I wearing the right outfit for a murder mystery? Hang on, let me run back to my own cabin that isn’t in the Death Zone and change into something more meaningful. I’m so excited!”

This all happened on the first day.

As the week progressed, the momentum built until, despite my hesitations, knowing that I am a Procrastinator Extraordinaire, the planets aligned, and it was cemented that I would write an entire book about a crazed serial killer picking off the wanton croutons of the Hidden Valley Ranch salad. I quietly wept inside and plucked another bottle of vodka out of those copious crates in the storage facility behind the main lodge.

So, yes, dear reader, I have a murder mystery to write. This means that, over the coming months, you will be subjected to ludicrous and questionable snippets from yet another book that I haven’t finished. In other words, same as it ever was.



47 replies »

    • Wait a minute. You know the whereabouts of the missing crate of lettuce? Hmm. Me thinks you might know a thing or two about the impending carnage at the ranch. And I thought you were such a nice person… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’d just tell them they all must have been smoking/drinking/laughing too much because you, as a fine upstanding exmple of goodness, don’t remember anything about any murder mystery writing – so there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I have ever laughed my way through a murder but I can see it coming. Can you please throw in some Chinese spies for a twist?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hah! You know you can’t resist a challenge, and whether it’s a fact that they egged you on to write a murder mystery, or you just made it up that they did, because you know you were contemplating it as soon as you arrived, and now you have to do it. Bring it on! Your spin on a murder mystery book will be epic! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do writers take on writing assignments? Do writers often say “that sounds like a good idea” and file it away for – future followup? Or not? Perhaps you could go the direction of the Pink Panther – a comedic murder mystery? Oh dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would happily take on writing assignments if anyone bothered to ask me to do so. Since that doesn’t happen, I have plenty of good ideas wasting away in the dusty innards of my laptop. But yes, the murder will be comedic, at least on the surface…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on how enjoyable the rice pudding is on Day Three. You can learn a lot about the true intentions of a cook if you carefully study how they present the third course of a meal..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Were there any ‘dark and stormy nights’ during your sabbatical to the Hidden Salad o’ Ranch ? Because that is one of the most unrated starting lines for mysteries IMHO. Now you know, given the peyote element – fictional or not – you can claim that you thought it was merely a drug induced vision and you have no real life recollection of your pinky sworn alliance….or the book. But I say, hey! Go for it. It IS October and November looms large and we all know what NOVEMBER brings… the whole NaMo or whatever the hell they call it, I can never remember because why schedule a novel writing binge in NOVEMBER? One is busy trying to find their really good roasting pan and hoping that platter they binge bought is big enough to hold a big roasted bird, who may or may not be stuffed. And the poor and/or organized in the crowd are thriftily planning their *C which must not be mentioned to ME until after Dec 1st” gifts and activities. It’s really a hugely busy time. I’d get cracking..

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are completely right. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to undertake this writing adventure at this time of year. Of course, it won’t take long for my compatriots at the vacation compound to realize that I can take a very long time to follow through with my commitments. They are already asking (via an email group that I stupidly assented to join) when the book is going to be ready for publication. They clearly do not know me or the publication process. But everyone was such a hoot during our stay, and the camaraderie has a burnished glow that I relish, so I will have to do SOMETHING to appease these folks, even if it comes in the form of me having them murdered one by one in the New Mexican hinterlands. Oh, the things one must do in the name of literary artistry… 😉


  6. What are you talking about? You would find inspiration to write a story from a grocery list. Being exposed to a motley crew for a week at a secluded location and it’s no surprise you have a story brewing!! Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

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