Life is whimsical at times, playing tricks—sometimes innocent and sometimes grim—on all of us. When we’re a little too firm in thinking we’re in control of things, nature has a habit of taking us down a notch, making us realize we’re simply at her mercy.
Anyone who reads my blog more or less regularly knows I am presently writing the fifth novel in my BJ Vinson Mystery Series, a book called Abaddon’s Locusts, which explores the human trafficking problem, specifically sex trafficking. The story features two characters from earlier books that readers tell me are two of their favorites: Gertrude Wardlow, BJ’s elderly, widowed neighbor who is retired from the DEA but still thinks she can take on the bad guys, and Jazz Penrod, the fetching, likeable mixed-blood young gay who helped BJ solve the mystery in The Bisti Business.
Seeking information on the trafficking problem in New Mexico, I turned to a friend of mine to see if she knew anyone who might be willing to help me. B, as we’ll call her here, spends a lot of time volunteering for law enforcement projects. She’s successfully attended the Albuquerque Police Department’s civilian training class, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office class, and, I believe, the FBI’s equivalent. She’s ridden along with officers, been tazed, blown up, and I don’t know what else. She also volunteers at the APD Crime Lab one day weekly.
At any rate, I asked B to tap her resources and find me someone with knowledge of the growing sex trafficking problem in New Mexico. She put me in contact with a detective in the Rio Rancho Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit. This detective, who prefers not to be identified, took considerable time and trouble to provide me with meaningful information. When she said she was looking forward to buying my books, I told her “no way.” I would bring her copies of The Zozobra Incident and The Bisti Business.
When I got ready to deliver the books, I asked B if she wanted to ride along. She agreed, and I went by to pick her up. While she was closing up the house, I took out my Garmin and started entering the address for the RRPD. I’ve often confessed my ineptitude with things electronic and proved it once again when I had trouble entering the street address.
B told me to forget it. We’d take her SUV, a brand new, whoopty-doopty, loaded vehicle that does everything but take a bath for you and fix supper. I threw the Garmin down on the seat and went to crawl up (and I do mean up) into her vehicle. After we were strapped in, she pushed a button and spoke in a loud, clear voice, providing the address we were looking for.
Navigator promptly responded, “Please provide the required information.”
“Navigator, give me 500 Quantum Drive NE in Rio Rancho,” B repeated.
“Please provide the required information.”
“I am, dammit! Give me 500 Upton Drive NE in Rio Rancho.
Navigator became a bit huffy at that outburst. “You must provide the information required.”
Now B is rather stubborn, so we repeated the performance six times before I said we could probably find the address without the help of a GPS unit.
Just before we pulled out of her driveway, I asked if I could try the GPS unit. She agreed and pushed the proper button.
“Navigator, give me the address 500 Quantum Drive NE in Rio Rancho,” I said.
“Proceed south twenty feet and then turn right…”
Please explain to me—and to B, by the way—why a $50,000 automobile won’t recognize her owner’s voice but will take me anywhere I want to go.
That’s it for this week. Feel free to let me know if you have the answer to my question.
The following are some links to me and my writing and to DSP Publications (my publisher):