A Modern Good Samaritan Story

(AKA: Why anybody who says the Blackfoot Nation is nothing but troublemakers is full of shit)

Ever since I first moved to Montana, any time I hear a mention of the Blackfoot Nation, or that someone is driving to Glacier National Park, somebody always says the same thing: “Don’t stop in Browning! You’ll either get robbed or stabbed! The Blackfoot are crazy!” I’ve heard it from non-Natives, I’ve heard it from other Native tribes, and always pretty consistently.

I’ve never really paid it any mind; I usually stop at the Exxon in Browning to get gas, whenever I’m up that way (gas is about 20 cents cheaper there than the other last stop before Marias Pass, East Glacier Park Village, and the Exxon in Browning has a better food selection inside). Every time I’ve stopped, I’ve never had a problem. Most of the people I’ve encountered there have been pretty nice. So I’ve always taken such statements with a grain of salt.

Then, last night happened, and after that, I’ll never pay heed to that stupid rumor again.

A buddy of mine, currently deployed, asked if I could drive up to Kalispell and pick up a parts snowmobile for him. I was driving US Highway 2, between East Glacier and the top of Marias Pass, when an Montana Highway Patrol trooper came cruising up behind me, cherries and berries flashing. I pulled over onto what I thought was the shoulder, only to discover that the highway didn’t actually have a shoulder, instead getting sucked into a dropoff, burying the passenger side of my truck in a deep snowdrift.

Healy is not amused.

The MHP trooper slowed down (which tells me he did see this happen), but didn’t stop. Granted, he was on his way to an accident scene a few miles ahead, involving a big rig that had jackknifed and was blocking a lane of traffic, but come on–when I rolled by the scene of the accident later, there were at least eight patrol cars from three different agencies, a local fire & rescue unit, and three snow plows on scene. Nobody was injured, from what I understand. Most of those folks were already there, and most of the police officers were just sitting inside their cars. You’d think the guy could at least manage a “Hey, don’t worry, we’ll call for someone to help you” before continuing on his way. But I digress.

So I’m stuck, in the middle of nowhere, in -13° weather, with no cell service and several miles from the nearest town. I wasn’t entirely screwed; I had an emergency kit, to include a long length of logger’s chain, provisions, and the truck with still running with a mostly full tank of gas, but being stuck in the middle of the northern Rocky Mountain Range is not exactly an ideal situation. I got out of the my truck and tried to flag someone down for help. Over the next half-hour, I got passed by:

  • Another MHP car,
  • A Glacier County Sheriff’s Deputy,
  • a truck from a nearby fire department, affiliation unknown,
  • a snow plow from the Montana Department of Transportation,
  • and at least five other vehicles.

Waved at all of them. Not a one of them stopped.

You know who did? A man from the Blackfoot Nation.

I didn’t catch his name, but he said he was a principal at the school in Browning; he was on his way to watch a wrestling team meet in Whitefish this weekend. Also a former Marine. Offered to pull me out, no questions asked. Made a bit of small talk afterward, and got back on the road. Nice guy, wish I would have caught his name.

So when somebody tells me that the Blackfoot Nation is full of ne’er do wells and troublemakers in the future, I’m going to raise the point that one of their people stopped to help me out of a jam when not even the local police, fire department, or Department of Transportation would.

Big D-Minus to those other people, but a big A Plus to the school principal with the red F-150. He is a credit to both his students and his people. The Blackfoot are All Right in my book. And I wish that gentleman and his students luck in their wrestling meet this weekend.

Stopped on US 2 a few miles ahead of where I went off the road, about a mile from the accident with the semi (top center of photo). The man who saved my bacon is in the red F-150 in front of me. Note the temperature in the bottom right corner of the photo.

“Space Force: Building The Legacy” Audiobook is now available!

“Space Force: Building The Legacy”, the anthology I took part in last spring (and winner of the 2021 Helicon Award for Best Military Sci-Fi/Fantasy!) is now available as an audiobook via Audible! Narrated by Theo Holland (who did a really good job; the narration of P.A. Piatt’s “Best and Brightest” alone is worth the purchase!).

Link to purchase is here. Give it a listen!

Green Grass and High Tides for December

Proud to say that I’ve been accepted for Wordfire Press’ Unmasked anthology, edited by none other than Kevin J. Anderson and his fine class of students at Western Colorado University.

This makes me happy for two reasons: One, this makes me three for three for anthology submissions this year. And, while my health issues and extenuating circumstances have kept me away from my laptop lately, the fact that I’ve gone from never having been published before to having three stories printed in a year without a single rejection letter is unheard of. So, go me. The second reason I’m excited is because I’ve finally been able to use a character I’ve been kicking around in my head since 2016, yet up until now have not had a good story to use her in. The fact that I’m finally able to do that makes me proud.

I did an interview for Richard Paolinelli’s Superversive Sunday Spotlight that will be aired on January 31st. Richard’s good people, and his Superversive project is one of the greatest things to happen to the writing community since the dawn of the new millennium. Check him out at https://scifiscribe.com/.

Other than that, not much to report, but when I do, I’ll be back here.

November Update

Hi, all, hope everyone’s doing well. (Lord, I really need to give this site some more attention). Here’s more or less the State of the Nation today:

-On the book front: Got picked up for another anthology (link in the Books section). “Divided We Fall: One Possible Future” was a fun (and somewhat prophetic) little thought exercise started by a buddy writing under the pseudonym of Mack Henkel. Decided it was something I could have a little fun with, so I cranked out a story, and here we are. Print and ebook versions are available via Amazon.

In addition, I submitted for yet another anthology (and trying to finish a story for a fourth). The first is being edited by a team of students at Western Colorado University supervised by Kevin J. Anderson (!!!); the second is an anthology for FantaSci and Chris Kennedy Publishing. Fingers crossed on both of those.

-On the photography front: Looks dismal for this year. For a good chunk of this year, I’ve either been sent away from home for work purposes, or put under a restriction of movement (read: basically stuck at my house, except for medical appointments and to grab essentials) because I traveled out of state. As such, my ability to get out has been limited. Hoping that changes sometime soon.

Hope you all are doing well. I’ll update when I have more news to share.

Site is Up! (Somewhat)

Finally figured out how to set up this thing. (It’s about time!)

Planning on updating this site more, now that it’s up and running. At least monthly, at a minimum. The Books section is up; you’ll find any releases of mine or works that I’m in coming out there.

Planning on putting up a photo gallery as well, but I got to finish watermarking the pictures first. And figure out how to get a properly organized photo gallery on here.

Building websites is -hard-, y’all.

“Tech-illogical Difficulties”

Howdy how, everyone! If you’re reading this, you probably discovered my blog through either the Facecult or you recently saw a link to it via one of my published works. Either way, welcome!

Still tweaking some things on the site, and watermarking my photo galleries before uploading them. Should be up soon. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line, either here, via email, or the Facecult. Thanks for visiting!