Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

The Reporter and the Marmot

View from Mount Rushmore

View from Mount Rushmore with the Badlands barely distinguishable in this early evening light as the most distant strip on the horizon. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Yes, I’ve chosen a title for the next book … subject to change, of course.

As promised yesterday, here is the lead section of “The Reporter and the Marmot”:

“Absolutely amazing. This is exactly what I hoped to see. The mountains go on forever.”

“Not hardly. The Black Hills take up a relatively small area. Look on the horizon there. See a narrow brown strip?”

“Yes. What is it?”

“That’s the Badlands we drove through this morning.”

“You’re kidding. Listen, I so appreciate you bringing me to this ridge while everyone else is eating lunch.”

“No problem. Move over here and look off to the right.”

The tourist followed directions and moved closer to the edge of the cliff. His momentum never came quite to a complete stop. Just as he was bending his left knee and leaning over it to maximize his view, he received a firm shove, one hand on his left shoulder and another above his right kidney.

There really wasn’t much of a scream; it was more of a gasp, followed by a slight cry when the victim first made contact with rocks below.

Now alone on the cliff, the other man quickly looked around, as he had done mere seconds earlier, reaffirming nobody was there to challenge his version of the terrible mishap that just occurred. He carefully moved to a safer spot and peered over the edge. There was no movement to the body. At least two limbs were at unnatural angles and there was blood around the head.

“Oh, my,” he said, his hands following nervous tracks to nowhere. “Help. Help me. There’s been a horrible accident.”

He continued yelling as he quickly worked his way down the path to the parking area and the rest of the tour group.

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