If you hear someone say “I was thinking about how to commit the murder as I was leaving home,” let’s hope you’re listening to a mystery writer on a panel at Murder in the Magic City in Birmingham, AL, or Murder on the Menu in Wetumpka, AL. That’s exactly what I was doing at the Wetumpka Civic Center when I reached down in my purse with every intention of buying this guy’s book. To my surprise, my wallet wasn’t there. Then I remembered I’d left it in the microwave.
Like Lucy, I’ve “got some ‘splain'” to do.
My friend and fellow writer, Susan Tanner, and I had driven up to Birmingham to attend Murder in the Magic City with a lot of other talented writers, a good number of which were members of The Cat Women Collective. As with any gathering of writers, there was a fair amount of adult beverage consumed. Not that I’m making any excuses, mind you.
On Saturday we had a wonderful time talking our craft and characters to a great gathering of readers at the Homewood Library. When we returned to our hotel we were informed that there would be barbecue in the meeting room Margaret Fenton had arranged for us to use to congregate and smooze. I decided I didn’t want to lug my purse around all evening so I left it in the room.
In my lifetime I’ve traveled quite a bit so you might say I’m a seasoned traveler. I wasn’t about to leave all my valuables sitting in my purse in my room while I was elsewhere enjoying myself. My dilemma? What to do with my wallet. There was no safe in the room so naturally I cast about for a good place to stash my cash. Et voila, the microwave. I’m a writer, accustomed to hiding dead bodies, so it seemed perfectly logical.
The problem with being a writer, particularly one sweating a deadline, is that our mind tends wander to thoughts of red herrings, choices of poison, and body parts. Make of that what you will. Since I was on this excursion in the face of a looming deadline and a woefully low word count, I let my mind turn to Babs, the first ex-wife of the dead wife’s dead husband. I know, I know, that’s confusing but you’ll just have to read the book.
I left the merry makers telling tall tales and whopping lies and went up to my room in my own little literary fog of lies. I had to get Babs on the page, never sparing a thought to the wallet in the microwave.
The next day, the writers caravanned down to Wetumpka for Murder on the Menu, another excellent event to help fund the library. It was then, after a delightful lunch and mingling with a lovely group of true book people, that I sat listening to this panel of professional liars and remembered the wallet.
When I called the hotel to explain the situation, the woman manning the desk almost choked. They immediately sent someone up to my room and recovered the lonely wallet. Not only did I have to tell my friend that we would be adding almost three hours drive time to our trip home, I had to walk into the lobby of the hotel where, I kid you not, the entire staff was awaiting my arrival. Apparently leaving your wallet in the microwave isn’t as common as I would have thought.
So, if you were traveling by air Sunday evening or early Monday and the person in the seat next to you started snorting with laughter for no apparent reason, she or he was probably a writer returning home from Birmingham. Without doubt I shall have to listen to the admonition to check the microwave anytime I’m traveling with my writing friends. What can I say, my job is to entertain and I take it seriously.