Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all . . .
So sang Frank Sinatra, though there were rumors to the contrary about the lifestyle of Old Blue Eyes.
It's definitely true for me, however. I've been a teetotaler since I took a sip of the nasty wine our landlord made in the cellar when I was a kid. They say there's some good stuff out there now, but it's just as well I don't taste it. What if I end up liking it and consuming alcohol the way I do Sees scotchmallows (why doesn't Sees have tasting rooms?) or hazelnut gelato? You'd be holding my hair back every night while I … never mind.
What does thrill me, besides my hubby, The Cable Guy?
Sometimes just a little arithmetic will do it. Like when my table companions let me calculate the tip or someone asks me to multiply 36 x 11. (There's a trick for multiplying quickly by 11 at the end of The Square Root of Murder. I'll bet you can hardly wait!)
I knew that the life of my new college math teacher protagonist, Professor Sophie Knowles, might not seem as exciting as that of skillet-wielding Stella Hardesty, for example, so I gave her a medevac pilot, ice-climbing boyfriend. Bruce sleeps in his EMS jumpsuit and answers to the call of the Batphone night after night. For some people, that's more thrilling than advanced calculus. Go figure.
I slipped out of ThrillerFest in New York earlier this month and visited the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle. Walked right into a thrilling exhibit of dioramas like this wrecked 1950s beauty parlor. Dystopias thrill me, especially in miniature form—the perfect combination of dark reality and a little bit of distance since nothing's big enough to hurt you.
I try to have four thrilling moments before lunch.
Here's what happened today:
1. I solved this exciting riddle: Tom's mother has three children. One is named April, one is named May. What is the third one named?
2. I read this thrilling quote from Alexander Calder, whose birthday is today, July 22: "I paint with shapes." It makes me think I can paint with words. Wow! Big thrill.
3. I got a kick out of these lyrics, rendered by Johnny Cash on the XM country channel in my car: "I've been flushed from the bathroom of your heart; up the elevator of your future I've been shafted."
4. I read the thrilling opening line of "Hexes and Hemlines," by Juliet Blackwell: "It didn't take a witch to figure out something was very, very wrong on the thirteenth floor of the Doppler Building."
I'm done for the day and it's only 10 in the morning! What's my biggest kick overall? Those wonderful readers, women and men we meet at conferences or book signings or on Facebook. Especially the followers of Pens Fatales: I get a kick out of you!
Camille Minichino is the author of three mystery series, beginning with her Periodic Table Mysteries. Her akas are Margaret Grace (The Miniature Mysteries) and Ada Madison (The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries). The first chapter of "The Square Root of Murder," (a July 2011 release) is on her website: http://www.minichino.com.