The Fountain–Discounted in June 2023 on Kindle

The Fountain: and six more fantasy and sci-fi stories

eBook Cover of The Fountain short story collection

The Fountain came out in June 2017–it’s about time we did some temporary price cuts; for seven days.

Here’s the deals:

The countdowns are all at PDT time

  • Just $.99–from June 2nd, at 8am to 4pm on the 5th.
  • From 4pm on the 5th to 12am on the 9th it’s $1.99.
  • Regular price of $2.99 returns on the rest of the day.

Four and Five star ratings–here’s three of eleven reviews:

Nicholas C. Rossis had these crisp remarks:

5.0 out of 5 stars The Twilight Zone meets Philip K. Dick

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 16, 2017

Verified Purchase

I wonder if The Fountain’s stories should be labeled speculative or science fiction, as they remind me more of Twilight Zone and less of Philip K. Dick. Maybe that’s the best definition of them; the common ground between these works. Whichever it is, I enjoyed them and their twists. Maberry writes in a clear way that immerses the reader into the story. He has a gift for creating easily identifiable characters who feel familiar after just a few lines. All in all, a fine collection for those who enjoy their short stories with a twist.


Wesley H. Higaki said:

4.0 out of 5 stars Clever set of short stories

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 14, 2017

Verified Purchase

The Fountain is a collection of six science fiction and fantasy short stories by John Maberry. I like the simple, whimsical style of these stories. Each is a clever story that ends with abrupt, but clever, plot twists. The characters are realistic and interesting; their interactions are believable. [the rest of the review was omitted; it describes each story]

June gave these short zingers:
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories with surprises

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 11, 2017

If you love stories with a surprise at the end, you will love these. Some are ironic, some cautionary, and some funny. A delight for the gray matter. Perhaps my favorite was Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder. I laughed the hardest at that one. I received an advance review copy at no cost or obligation.

Here’s the author’s description: Among Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks, read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.


When You’re Strange

When You’re Strange, A repost

Don’t you love the Doors? But this isn’t about music, except for one more passing reference. Ray Stevens would be aghast. The song lyrics might as well be, “Everyone is strange in their own way.”

For decades now, my wife has said I’m strange. I welcome the epithet as an amusing truth. “Why Be Normal?” the buttons and stickers ask. Just so. There is a time and place for eccentricity and normality. Earning a living may require a modicum of the latter—depending on the work one does. It certainly did for the day job from which I retired some time ago. But let’s get back to strange.

We had met before at one Buddhist activity or another. Attending that Halloween party quickly took us to a level of intimacy neither of us had expected. A familiarity that only a few years later led to marriage. The marriage faced a life-or-death challenge initially, but that’s another story. That story is a central part of the memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland. This post is a teensy weensy memory about our strange beginning.

We’re both into sci-fi. That inspired our costumes for the party. She came as an alien. Her hair had an unnatural shade, with face and exposed flesh covered in matching silver. An alternating black and silver diagonally striped lame knit covered her torso. I came as Gully Foyle, Alfred Bester’s protagonist from The Stars My Destination. I couldn’t quite master the tiger face tattoo, so I just lettered my forehead “Nomad” in black grease paint. You’ll have to read the book to understand. I added a long maroon caftan and a walking stick to complete the image.

We danced together, and we danced alone. I twirled around my head-high staff to the thrilled amusement of another partygoer. Thirty is a great time to indulge and flaunt one’s strangeness. It’s never left me. It manifests in many other ways these days. What’s life without loosening the strictures of normalcy? Lighten up. Have fun! She and I did, mixing our facial paint that Halloween night.

I miss those Halloween trick-or-treaters at our suburban home in Virginia. My faces were much scarier than those of the kids who came for candy. Alas, the seclusion of our dream home in New Mexico means we see no children on that October night. But there are other ways to bring out the strange. Perhaps a topic for another day.

Weather Station

Tired of forecasts, Harley bought a desktop weather station.

Like every morning, Harley checked the meteorological conditions on his phone app. Thirty degrees—with a chance of snow. His weather station on the counter disagreed on the temp. It said 40 degrees. His hilltop home was 15 miles from the airport that supplied the info on his phone. The display showed current wind speed, gusts, and direction. Plus rain—rate, total by day, week, month and year. Atmospheric pressure, sun/moon and a lot more.

What he didn’t get was a manual. Like most products these days, you gotta download it from a website. When he did, the site urged him to join the network of home weather station users. Upload his data for the benefit of the group. Despite the privacy issues (they said no names, etc.—but of course a GPS location had to be logged) he thought seriously about it. The plus was that he could press a button on the panel to get current weather all around the world. Nothing like a dose of envious reality that he could be somewhere much warmer and sunnier—if he could afford the ticket.

Actually, the company also had an affiliate link to a travel agency that could hook you up with a ticket to wherever. Supposedly at a discount. Sounded good. Go from the snow and cold to a sunny clime with temps in the 70s or 80s. Plus the prospect of short-term rental vacation housing. What’s not to like! He checked out the offers—all sorts of ways, without success. But they were new—very new. So, not much data out there. It was a trial offer—six months for free. Then a monthly fee of $10 or an annual charge of $99. Pricey if he didn’t use it. If he didn’t like it, he could cancel. He was in.

Places in the 80s. Beachfront in Dubai. Tahiti. Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. All seemed a little too rich for his blood. Profitable for the travel agency affiliate—with a kickback to the station supplier.

Soon, the temps dropped at his house, just like the desktop device said. The snow fell too. Ok, time to find a warm and sunny get away. He pressed the weather scan button. Instead of locations, it displayed the weather first. Find what you liked and then select it. That’s when it all began.

The Dubai site looked good. Harley clicked the link. But no booking air or a room popped up on the screen. Instead, he immediately found himself on a pink sand beach. Odd shells, like none he’d ever seen before. Waves of lavender water washed ashore, carrying fragrant flowers amidst unknown flotsam. What the hell! Where am I and how did I get here? This can’t be Dubai. 

Yes, this will  be continued in an upcoming story–a little later.

Snippets Cut from Cold Cloth

Mashups–Did them before; let’s do them again.

(Mashups–a bit of this and that; often includes snippets from Waiting for Westmoreland [tenth edition] along with other memoir material, AND thoughts or perspectives on writing, thematic observations, etc.)

Snippets cut from cold cloth. Allusions and associations. So Cold in China, a Leo Kottke song title. Cold Shot, Stevie Ray Vaughan song title. Can’t include lyrics without permissions. But here’s the thing, if you read them, you’ll understand. Lyrics—time-bound or generational—can limit popularity. Universality works better; most songs get that. The same goes for written works. Idioms can limit an audience—unless you’re writing historical fiction or nonfiction. Obscure allusions can be trouble too—although critics of literary works absolutely love them.

Densely packed allusions fill Gravity’s Rainbow. It’s the doorstop fruitcake cliché in print. Kill the metaphor. Her rum-soaked fruitcake is soft and moist, and rich in its varied flavors. Fruitcakes are not all doorstops—nor are all award-winning books, I imagine. I tried reading Gravity’s Rainbow three times. If it takes hours of research, no thanks. To be great is to be misunderstood; to be misunderstood doesn’t make something great. That’s a faulty syllogism. Critics and savants unite!

It’s icy cold in Slaughterhouse Five for Billy Pilgrim. Ordinary folks can comprehend being unstuck in time. No National Book Award, still a classic in the top 100 novels. “So it goes,” a simple motif for death. Someday, maybe I’ll use Dean Koontz character names as villains—payback on behalf of Vonnegut for Koontz making Kurt’s hero names villains in his own books. Kurt wrote circles around Dean.

Self-publish. Thankfully, I don’t need to make money writing. So why spend it on agents et al. OK, I did pop for a nice cover from a 99 Designs participant–see the Tenth Edition of Waiting for Westmoreland. Some editing too. Can’t do it all. I’d like to throw in some allusions—not as many as Pynchon. Motifs free of clichés. Some symbols, metaphors and similes. I don’t need more help beyond what college and work have taught me—along with some adult ed, resource books, websites from others, etc. Plus some critique groups with other writers—what works or needs a new direction.

Cold? It’s not cold here in Silver. Nordic blood runs through my veins. I played hockey outdoors in Minneapolis, with temps in the 20s. Moving back and forth in the crease, as a goalie, for hours. Shoveling snow in Virginia, progressively removing a hat and coat and more. Finally, leaving just a tee-shirt. I don’t find fires delightful—stinky, with ash to clean up.

I want to be a writer that plies the Golden Mean. Like Goldilocks: not too big and not too small; not too hot and not too cold. Avoiding time and generation-bound slang in favor of more diverse and lasting idiom, metaphor and simile broadening an audience. Sci-fi was my childhood goal. After Vietnam, the memoir had to come first. Short stories and novels. Sci-fi, mystery/suspense/thrillers. Let’s throw in a nonfiction travel or a financial planning book, too. Nine more books by 2030, including a sequel (sort of) to Waiting for Westmoreland in 2027. The time travel story comes when it’s ready—maybe sooner than I thought. I need more writing chops and research for that one—or so I used to believe.

Humility? OK, maybe a little lacking. Kottke has it—self deprecating about his voice. I met him decades ago at a Minneapolis booking agency. Herbie Hancock has it too—along with earnest sincerity. I did morning Gongyo at 7 AM at L’Enfant Plaza for a week with Herbie, Tina Turner, Patrick Duffy. A Buddhist event on October 9th, 1982 in DC, on the mall. I was a driver—for Herbie and his wife Gigi, among other tasks. Missed the show, featuring them all. I believe Tina made the cause for her successful comeback 18 months later with What’s Love Got to Do With It. Buster Williams, the guy who introduced Herbie to Buddhism, is a little pushy. Talked to him at Blues Alley, a DC jazz club. He chided me for not staying with my legal practice. He backed off after I explained it to him.

There was that January in Minneapolis, where it only got above zero one day. I was cold, then. Especially when I had to change a tire, one next to the curb. It was eight degrees. A fire might have been welcome then. She still says I wanted to retire to Minnesota. Not true. I like seasons, but the one here is fine. Better than Northern Virginia—not so hot or humid and less snow.

There’s a series among those nine books. Struggled with the genre and the characters. Then I came up with Buddhist fiction. There’s Christian fiction. Why not Buddhist? Encourage those who are practitioners or bring along the newbies. So yes, I could do the Buddhist fiction—avoiding name-dropping or mentioning being Herbie’s driver back when.

I just have to come in from the cold, when it drops in.

Review of The Necromancer’s Daughter

The Necromancer's DaughterThe Necromancer’s Daughter by D. Wallace Peach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A rereading fleshed out the conflicts and the connections among Aster, the adopted daughter of necromancer Barus (a crippled man), Joreh, the eventual romantic interest (son of an evil vicar and torn by Aster’s “healing,” and his father’s obdurate objections to it). An excellent worldbuilding exercise with dragons amidst various human and semi? humans in disparate regions. I loved the descriptions and similes that filled out character evolution and internal/external disputes eventually resolved. Lots of death and magic to bring people back to life through necromancy.  I’ll have to read more of the author’s works!

View all my reviews

The Beatles—1965 in Metropolitan Stadium, Minneapolis

I’m not a kid anymore–music and events

So, I’m going to begin a new series–concerts and other events from long ago.

This reminiscence is tame. Others may be a little more intriguing–or risqué.

Metropolitan Stadium is long gone. It’s where the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings played decades past. Open air was fine for baseball. More than a little cold for December football. Like snowmobile suit cold.

On to the Beatles

Centerfield bleachers for me. Second base for the Fab Four. Every time Ringo shook his head, the girls screamed. No surprise. They did that at a showing of A Hard Day’s Night at a Times Square, NYC theater. I lived in Kendall Park, New Jersey at the time. Not sure how many trips I made to Manhattan. I lived with my brother after my mother passed away in 1963. He commuted to a corporate job in Manhattan. I know I went there for New Year’s Eve in 1964. Saw more cops than I’d ever seen in my life (well, hey—I was 17 years old). Windows boarded up; cops in groups of three to five every 15-20 feet in Times Square.

That’s probably not the movie trip. More likely, that happened in the spring of ’65. That’s when I bought six bottles of wine and a fifth of rotgut gin from a liquor store on 42d street. The legal age for booze was 18 in NYC then; I was old enough. All the kids from Connecticut and New Jersey went there and stocked up. Those states didn’t much care for the situation. Eventually, the law changed, I think.

Back to the Beatles. They sounded good to me—but then that’s the first live concert I’d ever been to. That came after high school graduation and my move back to Minnesota. I don’t remember anything they sang now, but a Wikipedia list included 12 songs. Among them were:

  • I Feel Fine
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Help

The storyline from a Minnesota website said the set lasted only 35 minutes. Tickets were $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50. I’m sure mine were the cheapest in Centerfield Bleachers—HEY, how about that inflation! A web calculator said the $3.50 would be $33 today—NO WAY for any professional group! The Times Square movie was double the concert price! Does anybody suppose Ticketmaster has anything to do with prices way beyond inflation? What about college tuition?

Yet I also saw the Twins play the Dodgers in the World Series that year at the same price range! Tickets were cheap in ’65. Sandy Koufax is the only Dodger name I recall. For the Twins, his opposite was Camilo Pascual. Harmon Killebrew (AKA, “The Beerslayer”), Tony Oliva, Earl Battey, and more were playing for the Twins in the one game I went to.

Groundhog Day—The Movie and Buddhism

Before we get to that–Saturday April 29 through Monday May 1st, are the last FREE days to download Jumped by a Deadly Cholla on Amazon. Sample here.

Groundhog Day is truly one of our favorite movies. 

Let me explain.

We don’t watch it every year, but we did this February. For those of you (must be a few) who haven’t seen the 1993 film, Phil Connors, a Pittsburgh TV meteorologist, once again must cover the annual prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog in the eponymous town. Supposedly, if Phil (the groundhog, not Connors) sees his shadow on February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter.

In simple terms, Connors, played by Bill Murray (another of our favorites), is a jerk. It’s beneath him to do this gig again. He expects to ascend to a national spot soon. He looks down on the cameraman and his producer, played by Andie MacDowell. Spoiler alert—six more weeks of winter are coming, beginning with a blizzard that will force the three to stay in Punxsutawney overnight. A snowstorm that Connors was certain would miss the town.

The following day starts the déjà vu that has made the movie title a meme that more than echoes the French phrase. The bedside radio awakens Connors with the same Sonny and Cher song and byplay between two announcers. It’s Groundhog Day again and again, for days on end. For a while, Connors remains a jerk. He goes through a manipulative phase, depression, and more.

Ultimately, he becomes a kinder, compassionate man. The transformation illustrates what we Buddhists call “human revolution.” It’s a core principle of the Soka Gakkai—a Buddhist lay organization with 12 million members in 192 countries and territories. The phrase means changing one’s character for the better. It happens through engaging the Buddha nature we all have within. Compare Connors to George Bailey’s best version in It’s a Wonderful Life. Neither made their revolution of character through Buddhism. My wife and I have been members for forty-plus years, with excellent results—too many to relate here.

In real life (IRL for younger readers), Bill Murray reportedly is a jerk on movie sets—like some characters he played but eventually changed for the better. Consider the protagonists he portrayed in Groundhog Day and Scrooged. But it’s the illustration of human revolution that we cherish. Instead of blaming one’s circumstances or life on their the work or home environment (or birth, family, etc.), the Buddhist accepts that causes one made currently or in the past that produce misfortune (negative karma).

When we watched the Blu-ray this year, we viewed the bonus features for the first time. In one, Harold Ramis reported receiving countless letters from Buddhists about how much it reflected their practice—likewise, Jesuits and people of other faiths. A spiritual film, they all said. That wasn’t part of the script; it just turned out that way.

Jumped by a Deadly Cholla

I’m back! Yes, I’ve been gone a long time.

The prostate cancer treatment hasn’t been that troublesome, but it slowed the writing process. No surgery, no chemicals—just external radiation five days in October and five in December. Plus quarterly hormone injections. We won’t go into the details or side effects, but my energy and clarity still is lacking. I’m back at the local fitness center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That helps the muscle aches and the vigor.

I’m back here now, because the book is finally done! It’s shorter and less complicated—no verse, no memoir. The collection is all speculative fiction from flash through short and all the way to a novelette. All but one once were blog posts,  but they bear only a resemblance to the original. All were edited, most substantially, and some changed from paragraphs to thousands of words. The work totals a little more than 30, 000 words.

For all my friends and fellow writers/bloggers, you can definitely expect any missing reviews of your books ASAP, and comments on your posts coming regularly again–starting this week.

It’s available NOWon Amazon Kindle. ASIN: B0C382VJ73 

Check this link to see samples (even if you’re not in the US maybe you can see it)

FREE days: April 26 & 27 plus April29-May 1 (12 am PDT to 11:59 PDT)

IF you’re on Kindle Unlimited–the book is free all the time–until I go off Kindle Select.

Jumped by a Deadly Cholla, plus ten more speculative fiction stories

Cactus roots draw microbes from a meteorite—Lois nearly dies. One of eleven stories in a diverse collection of speculative fiction. A potpourri of fantasy and SF. Humor and horror. Supernatural and time-travel. Quick reads from flash fiction through short works, but a novelette too. Like twists? Find them here.

Jack hears the Dog Star’s Bark; an invite from the sun goddess of Sirius—a funny story. The Wishing Bellevil reminiscent of The Monkey’s Paw.  A sentient (alien) shrub offers gene modification tools in Climate Crisis Changes Humans. Werewolves—good ones and bad, in Dog Is my Copilot.

The stories:

  1. The Star Catcher–keeping them from escaping
  2. Fencing the Sky–A scam
  3. Vampire Bodhisattva–The guilt becomes too great
  4. The Leap–Demonic forces invading his mind–or were they
  5. I Think, Therefore I When–A visit with time traveling Derek
  6. Harry and Sarah—a Dark Job–expanded from a prior post
  7. The Wishing Bell—Never in a blog post
  8. Beware That Jumping Cholla—Greatly expanded from the blog
  9. Dog Star’s Bark—Substantially developed; a longer story from a previous post (funny)
  10. A Climate Crisis Changes Humans—A paragraph grows to nearly 4,000 words (a sentient alien shrub)
  11. Dog Is My Copilot— from a paragraph to a novelette

Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva”–Things to Come

Whenever I hear it, the song sends me over the 3rd Avenue bridge in 1973 Minneapolis. Music can trigger place memories. “California Dreamin” puts me in Columbus, Georgia, walking past a music store playing the Mamas and the Papas tune. A weekend pass from nearby Ft. Benning, took me there–as does the song.

But I digress. Back to “Bodhisattva.” I didn’t know then, that Donald Fagen was the singer. We were seniors in a journalism class at South Brunswick High. Just 126 students graduated in 1965 from the tiny New Jersey school. Fagen went on to Bard College, where he met Walter Becker in 1967. I was learning to repair army radios then. The draft got me; not Fagen or Becker. But I got my college degree December ’73, and my first encounter with bodhisattvas.

I encountered a real live one in Northern Virginia in 1975. I was waiting for Liz, my second wife, on a bench in Springfield  mall. I had begun law school at Georgetown in ‘74. Bored and bummed a bit by how hard that first year was, I listened for twenty minutes about Buddhism. Introducing others to the Buddhist practice, is an essential task of a bodhisattva. The person told me I could be absolutely happy. I could also be the best at whatever life I chose to live. I could even become a buddha. I wouldn’t have to get rid of my place in town either. I was invited to a meeting to learn more. But it was in Springfield, and we lived far around the Beltway in Maryland.

In the literary sense, one might say that hearing that song two years before was foreshadowing. Too bad that thought escaped my attention in either the first or 10th anniversary edition of Waiting for Westmoreland. That, as you can read more about in the link at the top of the page, is all about the path from Vietnam to enlightenment.

Two more years passed before another bodhisattva appeared. A snippet of that meeting follows. I haven’t posted this excerpt here before, but it’s apropos of this piece. The choice that got me moving forward with hope and determination in life, no matter what obstacles might appear.

I attended a party. It was like most parties. People were standing around with a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other, holding forth inanely on topics of little or no consequence. The more intoxicated they got, the more animated (but no more meaningful) the conversation became. Borrrrrinnng. It was Lorna’s party. She was a legal secretary, at the law firm where I clerked. . . How could I turn down free food and booze? It was fortunate that I did. I met Lisa there, a member of Lorna’s carpool. They all commuted from Virginia to the K Street business district in DC.

Amidst the dull peoplescape of the party, Lisa sparkled like a mirrored ball above a dance floor. Who is that person? Why is she so alive, so different from the rest? I had to talk to her. I asked what it was about her that accounted for her obviously higher state of being than the rest of the partygoers. She explained that she was a Buddhist and she chanted.

“Oh, what do you chant—Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?” I asked.

“Yes! How did you know that?”

“Somebody told me about it two years ago at Springfield Mall. They invited me to a meeting but I didn’t go. When you said you were a Buddhist and chanted, it just popped into my head.”

“Do you remember who it was?”


“Well, they planted a seed. Once you hear it, you never forget it.”

Forty-five years since that encounter with Lisa, I have been diligently and consistently practicing Nichiren Buddhism with great results. You’ll perhaps note I haven’t been posting much lately. Lots of stuff in the way. Read more about that here on the Views from Eagle Peak blog. A fun anniversary trip and the challenge of prostate cancer not getting me down–just soaking up time.

I am determined to post more, as often as I can, as treatment begins.

On the Road to Xuan Loc

Now and again, one should be offering excerpts from their published works.

Waiting for Westmoreland is a memoir that describes how Vietnam became an essential path to my enlightenment–and true happiness.

The excerpt below doesn’t really speak to that theme, but it provides a historical perspective on the time and place. It also illustrates the corruption and loss of innocence a 20th century Candide experienced in that war.

It’s all true, so far as I recall the episodes. For more on what the book is really about, click this link. There you will also find how to get the tenth anniversary edition (2017) of the book in paperback or digital (Kindle, iTunes, eBook–from various sources).

It was crazy, volunteering to ride shotgun on a 5-ton truck hauling a load of 105-mm howitzer shells. Sure, the trucks ran with the windshield down and no top so you could scramble out faster if the truck caught a round from the VC—but how likely is it that you could get far enough away, if at all, if the ammo got hit? But when you’re 20 years old and bored, what the hell. Besides, sex and drugs (if not rock and roll) was readily available in Xuan Loc. Unlike the guys fighting in Iraq 35-40 years later, nobody was complaining about a lack of armor for the vehicles; we were all too crazy to care. Many guys didn’t bother to wear the heavy and hot flak vests (very inferior to those in use today), of which there weren’t always enough to go around anyway.

For the guys from Service Battery, driving the trucks hauling ammo was part of their regular duties, which may have explained why they were so wild. They always ran a jeep escort in front of the ammo truck, providing a couple extra guns in case of problems. On one run to Xuan Loc, I watched the driver and passenger in the jeep passing a pint of whisky back and forth. As I said before, the guys in the Service Battery were mostly boozers, not dopers. The driver of the ammo truck squawked on the radio that he wanted a swig. So the jeep driver slowed down, closing to within 15 feet of the truck. Then his passenger flipped the bottle up in the air and back over the jeep, where it hung briefly in mid-air—allowing the ammo truck driver to move the truck under it. He caught it with one hand. It would have made a great slo-mo in some movie.

After dropping the ammo to C battery, we stopped in town for short-times and dope. Marijuana could be had at low prices (even at a private’s low wages) in 1967 Vietnam. Five dollars scored a bag of dope the size of those pre-shredded salads now sold in the produce section at the supermarket. Or you could pay two dollars for 20 joints repackaged in a regular cigarette pack. I don’t know why, but they were always Paxtons. The original menthol cigarettes came in a crush proof pack. It was difficult, nearly impossible, to tell a pack of 20 joints from a pack of regular cigarettes. Somebody had to have carefully unsealed the cellophane at the bottom, pulled out the pack and removed the 20 cigarettes. Then they had to have gently massaged out the tobacco below the filter tips, before restuffing the former cigarettes with marijuana and twisting the ends shut. Then all 20 joints were put back in the pack, the top foil replaced, the pack slid back into the cellophane and the cellophane resealed. It must have taken a great deal of patience to be so meticulous. Why did they go to the trouble? I don’t know who did the work, the kids who sold the packs, saying, “You buy pot, GI?”—or someone older, but it was always quality work.