Laetitia and her group started the day by going to the Whitestone Hill Battlefield State Historic Site and then moved on to the Fort Ransom State Historic Site, where they had a picnic lunch and did a little hiking. Both sites are in southern North Dakota. They then moved on to Forbes, North Dakota to spend the evening. Forbes is a border town between North and South Dakota.
It had been quite a few days since an aspiring novelist had joined one of Laetitia’s tours. For no particular reason, she thought the central office at Mind’s Eye Tours was likely responsible for this, but there was really no evidence that they had anything to do with it. Just as she was beginning to believe that her days as a reluctant critic were behind her, a novelist wannabe named Walt showed up, manuscript in hand. At least his wasn’t a western or one from the hard-boiled detective school. It began:
“You would think that a day that began in a drugstore check-out line with the clerk bellowing, ‘Price check on hemorrhoid suppositories’ couldn’t get any worse, but the events that followed that afternoon and evening would’ve made Ishmael’s final encounter with Moby Dick seem like a trip to Disneyland.”
In the yard next to where Laetitia and Walt were standing, a man was holding a stick up in the air while his dog leaped for it. Every once in a while, the dog got the stick and ran off with it. The man knew better than to chase the dog. He just waited patiently until the dog came back with the stick to resume the game.
Laetitia held out the manuscript to return it to Walt. Just then, the dog spied it and thought he was being invited to a new game. Like lightning, he made a dash and a leap, grabbed the manuscript, and ran down the street with Walt in hot pursuit. Laetitia saw no more of Walt that evening. He must have decided to leave the tour. The dog came back without the manuscript. While they were waiting for Walt and the dog to return, the dog owner told Laetitia about a woman whose neighbors waited eagerly for her to decorate for Christmas each year.
The display by a lady from Forbes
Of her simply magnificent orbs
For the public to see
On her fine Christmas tree
Each neighbor’s attention absorbs.