The wizard who lives in the pine cabin next to the tumble-down on Old Smoky Road contemplates the amber bottom of his tumbler and says: The aleph that will complete your story is one of three marbles, two of which are compelling decoys. One marble is under the stone hearth of the fireplace in the fallen down house. Its location in the eye socket of the skull of the third (and heretofore missing) robber may cause you to mistake it for a glass eye, but don’t be fooled. If you press the glass against your eye and squint hard enough to hold it in place, leer around the room, then pluck the glass away, wave your hand and make the marble eye disappear, you may briefly hold other people’s attention with your grotesque misdirection, then a little longer as everyone searches for the marble. But, in the end, when it is discovered in the teakettle as soon as the water boils, you’ll all know this was just the magician’s glass, and not an aleph. (more…)


There‚Äôs a ruined old three room house on Old Smokey Rd in ZigZag that dates back to about 1920, with a buckled roof and the one drunken wall held up by a river rock chimney. That place was the hideout and last stand of three bank robbers who on one afternoon in 1936 robbed the Gresham Farmer’s Trust, Sandy Savings and Loan, and the Zigzag Mountain Store, leaving three dead (including one child opening his first savings account in Sandy–my great Aunt’s younger brother Douglas Price). The FBI riddled the house with bullets, collapsing supporting structures and reportedly killing all three criminals (although only two bodies were recovered, neither the alleged ringleader). I have the news clipping in a trunk of my grandfather’s things.