The World Gets a Little Larger When the Modem Dies

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, March 24, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

(Monte Dutton sketch)

On Tuesday night, I was having a lovely time sitting around in a circle, taking turns with others, playing guitar – most of the others could pick one – and singing while a fearsome storm raged outside. I was in a barn. There were refreshments.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – honest to gosh, my dad called it the 6D Ranch when I was growing up; we even had a brand for our cattle – something in the weather, or the electricity, killed a modem. The dead modem is now in its casket, a cardboard box, ready to be shipped back to its loved ones.

A moment of silence, please. … Amen.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

As the 11 o’clock sportscaster might say, “In an upset,” it wasn’t hard to get AT&T to send me a new modem. No lights came on, let alone, blinked. The patient wasn’t responsive. Resuscitation was futile. A nice lady whose voice I occasionally understood promptly shipped me a new one that is “even better!” and it arrived in the purple and orange of Clemson and FedEx at about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Of course, I couldn’t get it to work, but, rather than take drastic measures, I just let it be until this morning, and, miraculously, all the lights were on, and a click on this trusty Toshiba revealed “Internet Access.” For the past two days, I have maintained contact with the outside world by antiquated means – television and telephone – and used the cell signal to post on social media and check my book sales.

(This blog has not been posted until, presumably, now, because the wi-fi subsequently went out again.)

I know at least one NASCAR reporter who might be able to swing it, but the remainder of my life is too short to try to write more than a graph by pecking away at a phone. I won’t rule it out if I’m pinned down in a thunderstorm, sitting in the parking lot of a high-school football stadium, closing in on deadline and armed with the nervous tension that accompanies such crises.

In a way, it was timely. I just finished a book. I should have the cover design shortly. After cranking all this out, I needed a break, anyway.

There the Lord goes again, working in His mysterious ways.

Last night Gonzaga’s escape over West Virginia was all that managed to command my attention. I mainly read Dashiell Hammett during the other games. NASCAR practice from Fontana, California, begins at 1:30. I expect I’ll watch Baylor play South Carolina tonight.

The new novel is called Lightning in a Bottle. I’ll let you know about it directly.


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My latest novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.


(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).





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