Monthly Archives: March 2021

WINGSPREAD Ezine for March, 2021


“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

March, 2021                                James P. Hurd    

Please forward or share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.

Contents

  • New story: Jeff Landry: Serial Killer
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Writer’s Corner

*********************

 New story: Jeff Landry: Serial Killer

One of my most interesting students was Jeff Landry. He was the one who threatened to kill me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was teaching anthropological theory at Bethel University—10 students, all in their early twenties. All except Jeff Landry who was in his early thirties.

The first day Jeff walked in, he took a seat in the back and slouched down in his chair with his motorcycle-booted feet splayed out in front of him. Hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. Black, disheveled hair hanging down over dark glasses. Looked as if he was running security for the mafia. Like a person whose anger boiled just below the surface. Intimidation behind dark glasses. . . . To read more, click here:   https://jimhurd.com/2021/03/23/jeff-landry-serial-killer/

(*Please leave a comment on the website. Thanks.)

New puzzler for March:

A chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half. 

The question is very simple: How long will it take two chickens to lay thirty-two eggs?

Answer to February’s Puzzler:

Recall you had a series of numbers:

Two, nine, seven, nine, 12—That series of numbers represents the number seven.

Three, five, zero—That group of numbers equals two.

So how would you write the number 10? That’s the question.

———————————————-

Bill, Eldon, and Sam all submitted very creative answers! (Some of them were correct. 😊)

All we’re doing is substituting each of the numbers—the 2, 9, 7, 9, 12—for the letters of the word “seven.” So above, 2 equals s, 9 equals e, 7 equals v, and so forth.

In the second set, 3, 5, 0 equals “t, w, o.”

So “ten” would be: t=3, e=9, and n=12, giving 3, 9, 12.

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  

How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  https://jimhurd.com/home/  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying: http://www.pinterest.com/hurd1149/wingspread-of-faith-and-flying/

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Writers’ Corner

Word of the Month: Denouement:

This is the outcome; how things worked out. In Sherlock Holmes, for example, we learn who the bad guy was, what happened to the characters, and the motive of the crime—this is the denouement.

Tip of the month: Not only should your novel have a plot arc; every chapter should have a plot arc—rising tension, crisis, denouement. Readers want something to happen, something about to happen, tension that drive the story forward.

You’re right: the world is really a scary place!  Just look at these headlines:

  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
    (See if that works any better than a fair trial!)  
  • War Dims Hope for Peace
    (I can see where it might have that effect!)
     
  • If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile  
    (Ya think?)  
  • Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures  
    (Who would have thought!) 
  • Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain;  Police Suspect Homicide  
    (They may be on to something!)  
  •   Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges 
    (You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?)
  • Man Struck By Lightning:  Faces Battery Charge
    (Ouch!)
  • New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
    (Weren’t they fat enough?)  
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks  
    (Do they taste like chicken?)
  • Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half  
    (Chainsaw Massacre all over again!)

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title)

Sean loses his father, his best girlfriend, his life dream, and finally, his faith. But how can he be a good atheist, especially when he’s stuck at Torrey Bible Institute? He can’t see it, but grace is coming. . . .

Subscribe free to this Ezine   Click here https://jimhurd.com/home/  to subscribe to this WINGSPREAD ezine, sent direct to your email inbox, every month. You will receive a free article for subscribing. Please share this URL with interested friends, “like” it on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, etc.

If you wish to unsubscribe from this Wingspread Ezine, send an email to hurd@usfamily.net and put in the subject line: “unsubscribe.” (I won’t feel bad, promise!) Thanks.

Jeff Landry, Serial Killer

One of my most interesting students was Jeff Landry, the one who threatened to kill me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was teaching anthropological theory at Bethel University—10 students, all in their early twenties. All except Jeff Landry who was in his early thirties.

The first day Jeff walked in, he took a seat in the back and slouched down in his chair with his motorcycle-booted feet splayed out in front of him. Hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. Black, disheveled hair hanging down over dark glasses. Looked as if he was running security for the mafia. Like a person whose anger boiled just below the surface. Intimidation behind dark glasses.

An older student often enlivens a class. Jeff was like this. He didn’t talk much, didn’t fraternize with the other students. But he asked questions, good questions. He showed himself a skeptic—never smiling as he offered humorless critiques of my ideas. And he had this strange interest in the motivation of serial killers. He said he wanted to do a sociology major, which we did not offer at the time. I advised him, “Take the sociocultural major and take lots of sociology classes.”

One day he told me, “Dr. Hurd, we’ve gotta talk about Postmodernism.” My heart sank. Not only did I not want to teach Postmodernism; I knew almost nothing about it. But I grudgingly prepped a lecture on the subject.

After he graduated, Jeff pursued a Ph.D. in sociology. His thesis topic: serial killers—their methods and motivations. Completely focused. Over the years, he would email me. I was puzzled why he kept up a correspondence with me, but I tried to give him helpful suggestions for his graduate studies.

He had some run-ins with his instructors and finally stalled when he had to write his Ph.D. thesis because he kept clashing with his thesis adviser.

I was sitting at my office computer late one night when I received a short email from him: “I can show you how to strangle a man with a piece of piano wire.”

My spine chilled. Jeff was like this—straight, direct, and he apparently still had this obsession with serial killers.

I emailed my colleague, Harley Schreck. He said he’d also received an email from Jeff Landry which read: “I can show you how to strangle James Hurd with a piano wire.”

I freaked, and called Bethel security. They told me to call the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff came out. I was surprised he did not seem panicked. Maybe people called in death threats every day, I thought. “Look,” he said, “contact Jeff and ask him to explain his email to you.” Then he disappeared out into the night.

But I was afraid to contact Jeff. I couldn’t concentrate on writing my lecture, so I gave up, and decided to head home. Walking out in the dark toward my car, I was looking to the left and right. How do you protect yourself against a vague threat, I wondered? I had considered asking security to accompany me, but reasoned that only women did that. I walked a little faster, trying to stay under the lights that illuminated the parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my car. I checked the back seat, checked under the car, then got in and drove home.

The next day I told Harley about the sheriff. He said, “Oh, Jim; I’m really sorry! Landry never sent me an email; it was a joke!” Harley was like that. Random jokes. He was really apologetic.

In later years, my study of Postmodernism transformed my thinking about theory and even about understanding the Bible. Jeff was the one who pushed me into it.

So, that was the day I survived Jeff Landry’s threat to kill me.