Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Note About Wolfpine Glen

I decided to start publishing this series online as an experiment—to see if being compelled to write every week would enhance my creativity and my writerly discipline. What I have found is that it doesn’t work well for me. Rather than feeling more creatively inspired, I feel pressured and stressed out. I don’t feel that I have the imaginative breathing room that I would like to really allow the story to grow and develop organically. I also feel that I don’t have the time and space to edit appropriately or roll the story out in a way that will serve the narrative in the long term. However, it has been helpful in jump-starting me into a new project and encouraging me to think about it on a regular basis.

Like most people. I lead a fairly stressful life with little leisure time, in which everything feels accelerated and rushed constantly. I want my writing life to feel relaxed, fun and expansive. Feeling (mostly self-induced) pressure to produce regularly has not enhanced my creative process, but rather has stymied it. It causes me to feel depression rather than joy, and my goal is always to reach for the joy in my creative life. Therefore, regular weekly postings of “Wolfpine Glen” will be suspended for the time being.

“Wolpfine Glen” is sparking in my heart and my imagination, and will re-incarnate in some form in the future. I’m looking forward to getting to know Buzzy and Conrad and Forrest and Clay, and all of the eccentric residents of Wolfpine Glen. I will share regular updates here regarding the progress of the story and how it is developing. In the meantime, I thank you for reading!

Until we meet again,

Kristen McHenry

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Day One at the Brass Pentacle

From: Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Gaaaaahhhh!

Oh, God. I just read the so-called “Owner’s Manual.” I should have not have done that. Apparently, there’s a ghost cat running around, and I’m not allowed to take down this hideous photo of the unfortunately named “Ichy Drumsborough”, (seriously?) and I’m supposed to let some ass named Conrad abuse me because he got ousted from a fake religious order in Scotland. I’m here to run a business, not to preserve numerous sacred cows to appease the irrational masses of Wolfpine Glen. I should have never left Ohio. (What if this means I’m no better than Clay or Forrest? I ran away, just like they did. No. It’s not the same thing. It’s nowhere near the same thing. Right? I was asked to come here.) Sorry to be needy. I know you’re at work. I’ll call you later.

Just one more quick thing. I think it’s a complete waste of time to write things down in a journal, but this Artemis person has a whole entire archive full of journals detailing every single interaction and summarizing “her day” for the last 22 years. I don’t get it. Should I be doing that? Keeping a daily log? I don’t want to keep a daily log. It just seems tedious. And Christ almighty, are their systems out of date. She was still using receipt books and a hand-written ledger. What the hell?? I’m getting this place online pronto and converting everything to Square. This is ridiculous. And I’m not carrying on with her stupid journaling tradition. It’s obsessive and wasteful. Also, this very second, I’m dumping Ghost Cat’s food. He can go somewhere else for his afterlife sustenance. I hate cats.  


The Brass Pentacle Manager’s Log, Day One: Pre-Grand Re-Opening: Voice to Text File

This is the first and only time I’m doing a journal entry, and it’s strictly for security purposes, so I have records of the day’s events in case I need to get a restraining order.

I was pulling all of the tarps off of everything today at approximately 1:35 p.m., when some jerk started pounding on the window and wouldn’t stop. I almost called 911, but I keep a shotgun under my bed and I figured that would be a faster solution than calling the cops in this God-forsaken outback. I went upstairs, got “Saint Rose”, and headed back down to blast me an intruder. When I peeled back the butcher paper from the window, I encountered a bizarrely-dressed man, approximately 6’ 5” in height, glaring at me like a maniac. He was wearing a long gray hooded cape (who the hell wears a cape anymore?), and an aggressively virile stag’s head pendulum made of pewter. He had a wild shock of black hair flying all over his face, high cheekbones,  dark, girly eyes, and a  big pouty mouth with a bow shape. He looked like Edgar Allan Poe on steroids.

I kicked the door open, pointed Saint Rose at his mid-section, and demanded to know what his business was. That’s when he went ballistic on my ass me. He said that Artemis had ripped him off, and that I owed him for a shipment of organic Lemon Balm that he had imported from Dublin from a wholesaler. I told him that the store hadn’t even re-opened yet, and that he was going to have to cool his jets until I had a chance to look at the books.

Then it got personal. He started ranting about how my brother Sean should have been the one picked to take over the store, and that everyone in Wolfpine Glen “knew” I was a loser who couldn’t hold on to my own husband. Based on his thick Scottish accent, I’m guessing this was the famous Conrad Fairbain that Artemis was going on about in her manual. But I didn’t bother asking his name. I fired a shot over his head and told him to get off my property. He relented, but the whole time he kept ranting about how I hadn’t seen the last of him, as though we were trapped in some sort of B-movie Western. Jesus, I need a drink.

I suppose I add should add, just for the record, that when I came back into the store, seven jars of tea and herbal crap were shattered onto the floor. It took an hour to sweep it all up. I’m betting Conrad, if that is his name, has an accomplice. He seems like a vengeful bastard, and I bet he caused a distraction so his buddy could sneak in and destroy my inventory. I’m calling the alarm company tomorrow.

Signing off,
Buzzy Breton
Manager, The Brass Pentacle

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Brass Pentacle Owner’s Operations Manual, By Artemis!

10:13 a.m. from Buzzy

Had the worst night's sleep ever. What the hell is up with this place? Between the wovles howling and the damned crows and god knows what else was out there, I felt like I slept in a zoo. Will txt more later. I meed to make some coffee and do a deep dive into this Operations Manual. Hit the ground running and all of that. Bleh.

The Brass Pentacle Owner’s Operations Manual
By Artemis!

Welcome to the Brass Pentacle! I realize that you’re taking over ownership of the shop in less than ideal circumstances, but nonetheless, I hope that you recognize what an amazing community you’re now a part of. The Brass Pentacle is essential to the local Wiccan/alternative religious community, and in spite of its controversial nature, it remains a neighborhood icon.

I spent a lot of time and effort writing this manual for you to help smooth your transition. I hope that it’s a helpful document. It really was quite a lot of work. No one did the same for me when I took over running the shop for your uncle Alfred twenty-two years ago. I had to learn everything on my own. I had to fight and scramble and struggle to keep this place running and make it profitable, and build a community, and sustain that community. I have been central to the development of not only the shop itself, but the entire spiritual milieu of Wolfpine Glen.

But the Universe has made it clear that it is time for me to let go, and start my new journey as the presiding High Priestess in the Solstice Temple in Holland Hills. I didn’t anticipate leaving so soon, but thanks to my belief in the abundance of the universe, the Go Fund Me raised the money faster than I expected, and I took it as a sign that it was time to move on. 

I did a ritual blessing of the space, and I asked it to embrace the new owner with an open heart.  No one did that for me, either. There was bad energy in here for months when I first started. I think we had a sprite. But you don’t need to worry about any of that. You’re walking into an energetically clean space, thanks to my hard work and vigilance. 

Here are some things you should know:

The Pink Quartz:

There is large slab of pink quartz mounted above top shelf of the tea cabinet. This is a sacred, blessed quartz that was ritually installed by a Native American shaman specifically for the protection of the shop, and it must not be moved or displaced. I don’t care what the fire inspectors say. (It blocks the sprinkler heads, or something.) They only come every few years, so when they show up, just tell them you’ll move it. They never follow up. 

Ichy Drumsborough—Do NOT Remove!

The framed photo of Ichy Drumsborough is not to be removed. The photo was donated by the Drumsborough family back in 1973, and with the caveat that it be displayed in a prominent position in front of the cash wrap area for the life of the business. There is a history here that you don’t understand and that I don’t have time to explain. But the fallout from removing it will be legion. The Drumsborough family is prominent, and their patriarch is a respected physician at Wolfpine Glen General. Need I say more.

Conrad Fairbain:

Don’t let Conrad intimidate you. He’s very opinionated, and also very frustrated that he does not live in Scotland anymore and is no longer head of the Order of the Bards, as he was ousted in a power move by his rival, Jernigan Dean, who, believe me, you will never stop hearing about. He’s bitter, frankly. But that’s his journey. Conrad does a lot of business with the shop, so it’s best to just agree with him about things. Also, he brings his own scale for weighing herbs because he thinks ours is rigged. Don’t cross him on this. His father was your Uncle Alfred’s preceptor at the Seaton School of Esoteric Arts, and there is a history there that you don’t know about, and that I don’t have time to explain.


Please don’t move or empty the bowl of dry cat food from behind the store room door. You can change it out every now and then, but it’s there to make Dustin’s spirit feel at ease. Dustin got killed in a wolf attack back in 1998, but he remains at the Brass Pentacle in energetic form, and he gets restless when his food is taken away. That means inventory loss—Dustin likes to knock things off the shelves when he gets mad. I lost over $2,000 dollars in product because Mimi Etobari threw his dish away in 2013, saying it was unsanitary. All the herbs went everywhere. Mimi is no longer welcome at the Brass Pentacle. I think she was stealing from the till, anyway.  

Door Lock:

Speaking of the store room, the door sometimes slams shut and locks when you’re in there. It’s nothing to get hysterical about. It usually unlocks after ten or fifteen minutes max. Just wait it out. Mother Rosa says it’s the spirit of a sheriff who died in here when this place was a jail next door to the local saloon. She says he misses locking people up. It’s a nuisance, but not worth ending up on the Behavioral Health Unit at Wolfglen General over, like Sadie McKenna did.  


The dried Adder’s Tongue should never be placed in any container other than the jade herb jar with Balthazar’s name carved on it. Don’t test this. There is a history here that you don’t understand and I don’t have time explain. Just trust me on this one, and consider yourself lucky that I’ve taken the time to give you this information. No one did this for me when I took over the shop for your Uncle Alfred twenty-two years ago. I had to learn all of this stuff on my own.


The sixth step leading up to the studio is going rotten and needs to be replaced. Also, the septic tank is on its last legs and the roof needs patching. Ally Soo’s son Mitch comes and does some work around the place when he’s home from college in the summer, but his aura is dirty, and you have to pay him in cash. Also, he brings his boyfriend around, and more than once, I’ve caught them in a compromised position in the old goat barn. 

Lawn Fountain:

You have to keep the fountain clean or it gets calcium deposits. Jana Horowitz’s son is an Aquarius and he likes to throw rocks into it and take his diaper off in there, so you need to be diligent about cleaning it. The fountain rocks are sacred stones and they’re arranged in a very particular order that has been agreed upon by the consensus of this community, and they must maintain that arrangement until which time as the community decides (by consensus) that they can be re-arranged. You have to keep a close eye on it. I would suggest delegating this task to Ida Yard, who is a skilled gemologist and a talented dowser. Also, Ida is a minister and can preside over weddings. She’s married at least 30 couples. She charges $40.00 cash and an eighth of Purple Haze.

Lending Library:

The alcove before you get to the chapel was converted into a lending library back in 1982. Hardly anybody checks books out anymore, which is a shame. If someone does want to check out a book, have them sign out for it in the binder. We gave up on the index cards a long time ago. Just so you know, Conrad Fairbain has $23.76 in overdue fees right now. Good luck getting it out of him.  There’s no budget for buying new books, so what you have is what you have. Also, don’t let Rosie Jean Snyder go in there and tear out pages from “You Can Heal Your Life”.  She needs to check the book out or get her own damn copy.

Lost and Found:

There’s a lost and found box under the till. Jilly Bell would come in and inventory it every now and then but she hasn’t been back since her daughter got pregnant with George Gooch’s baby. George is next in line to take over the Abundance Rising church once Marty Moore steps down, and there is a rumor that the baby is the Enlightened One. Right now, George is in county for indecently exposing himself to a nun, so Jilly has her hands full. If no one claims the items, please donate them to the Healing Paws Cat Massage Clinic on 8th Avenue. They are our designated charity. 

Cash Drops:

Lulu does the cash drops to Vision Bank every Thursday. She can show you the ins and out. She’ll show you the safe and all of that money stuff. Lulu keeps the books and does payroll. Don’t say anything to her about her time in federal prison. She’s reformed now, and just because she has a neck tattoo doesn’t mean that she isn’t trustworthy. Also, she’s aware that she has a limp, so please don’t point it out. Also, it’s just Lulu, no last name, so don’t ask.  

Cady’s Crochet:

There is a trick to this. Cady’s crochet products don’t sell, for reasons that will be obvious to you when you see them. But she’s a direct descent of the afore-mentioned Ichy Drumsborough, and we cannot let on. Every two weeks, she comes in with new inventory. But she stops by almost every day to check on sales. Between her drops, you have to slowly remove her products from the shelves, a piece or two at a time so you don’t arouse suspicion. Hide them in the safe. On Thursdays during the cash drop, Lulu takes the stuff out, wraps it up in a garbage bag, and hides in the bottom of the dumpster. The garbage gets picked up Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m., so no one is the wiser. (You might want to keep this manual in the safe, now that I think about it.)

Okay, that’s all I can think of for now, but you can always call me at the Temple. I left the number on a sticky on the phone. I hope this had been helpful, and that you will read it before calling me. Like I said, it should smooth the way for you. No one did this for me when I first started here, so you’re ahead of the game!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Buzzy Arrives

7:46 p.m. from Buzzy

You there Else? I just got here. 12 hour drive. I started at 4:00 a.m. and only stopped twice. My legs will barely move. I’m looking at the front entrance. Bright green door. Shiny, like the ones in Ireland. Scared to go in. There’s a note saying to look under the mat. Looking. Ugh, dirty. Will txt when inside.

To Buzzy:

The key to the shop is the bigger one. The small one’s for the studio door upstairs. Be careful going up. The fourth steps loose. The window sticks, but it’ll open with a good yank. I can oil it for you if you want. You need anything, I’m around the neighborhood. Name’s Burch. I left a list of the jobs I do and how much. I guess you’ll be calling me. The place needs work. You got a tree in back that’s getting up into the Power Lines.



7:59 p.m. from Buzzy

I’m in. Can’t find the light switch.

8:02 p.m. from Elsie

Did you find the switch? Don’t trip on anything.

8:04 p.m. from Buzzy

Too late. Damnit. Tore my Max Mara pants. One sec.

8:05 p.m. from Buzzy

Got it. Some genius put it right in front of the stairs. I just had a sneezing fit. I need to bomb this place with Pledge.

8:07 p.m. from Elsie

What’s it look like?

8:07 p.m. from Buzzy

Can’t tell. Everything’s covered in tarp. There’s an operations manual on the counter. That’s good. Can’t face it tonight, though.  Heading up to check out the studio.

8:08 p.m. from Elsie


8:20 p.m. from Buzzy

It’s crap but I can refurbish. Ack!! There’s a huge chunk of green shiny rock on the dresser. Looks alien. Sending pic.

8:25 p.m. from Elsie

Googled it. It’s malachite. It attracts love and money. Put it by the cash register.

8:23 p.m. from Buzzy

Or bury it. Love ya, chickie, but this lumpy bed is calling my name. I’m wiped out. Will txt in the morning.

8:24 p.m. from Elsie

Glad you made it safe. Rest well, friend-o.

Receipt: Grayson’s 8:26 a.m.

1 Mr. Coffee 12 cup coffee maker              $35.00
1 pound bag grnd Grayson beans             $9.00
1 pound bag grnd Grayson beans             $9.00            
2 pack Tyson frzn breakfast burritos       $4.99
Aspirin lg                                                       $15.99           
Vitamin water wild cherry                          $2.99
Vitamin water wild cherry                          $2.99

 Total:                                                             $79.96

Cash:                                                              $100.00

Change:                                                         $20.04

Have a wonderful day in Wolfpine Glen!

 --Kristen McHenry

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Missing Honda

From: Buzzy Breton,
To:      Forrest Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

Hey, Dumbass

I know you’re still getting settled into your cult digs, but you need to get out of the lotus position long enough to tell me where the hell you parked the Civic. I’ve looked everywhere within a three-block radius. I need the damn car, son.


From: Forrest Breton,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

Chill, Mom. I sold the Honda to Ty before I left. He needed it to get to his job at Phone Zone. Just take an Uber. The Honda was a piece of crap anyway.

From: Buzzy Breton,
To:      Forrest Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

What is God’s name, Forrest??? You had no right to sell the family car! What’s Ty’s number? Is he at work right now? It’s a good thing you’re five states away.

From: Forrest Breton,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

It was MY car. Dad put it in my name before he left and it was my right do what I wanted with it, you hormonal crone. What do you need a car for, anyway?

From: Buzzy Breton,
To:      Forrest Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

None of your business, but let’s just say that if you and your feckless father can run away from your responsibilities, so can I. I’ve closed on the house and I’m going to New Hampshire to take over Alfred’s shop. The paperwork’s been signed. I was hoping to drive, but since you stole our car and gave it to your little mouth-breathing buddy, I guess I’m going to have to figure out Plan B.

From: Forrest Breton,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

You sold our HOUSE???? Mom!!! What did you do with my stuff? What about my ROOM?? Where am I going to go when I come back to Ohio? That is MY childhood house. That is cold, Mom. I can’t believe you’d do that without even telling me. Without even giving your OWN SON a say.

From: Buzzy Breton,
To:      Forrest Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

Sorry, son. My battery’s about to die. Gotta go. Your stuff is in the Stash ‘N Store on 9th and Vine. I’ve paid the bill through June.

From: Forrest Breton,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

Call me right now, Mom.

From: Buzzy Breton,
To:      Forrest Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

Oops, sorry. Can’t. Battery is

From: Forrest Breton,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Where the Hell is the Honda?

I start a silent retreat tomorrow but when it’s over you’re going to hear from me. BTW, you just totally ruined my energy work session. My chakras were in alignment and now they’re like, polluted. That session cost me 75 bucks. You owe me.

To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Your Rental E-Receipt

Dear Ms. Breton

Attached please find a copy of your e-receipt for your 3-day rental of the Honda Element. Have a pleasant trip, and please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Susan Small
Customer Service

True Blue Car Rental

Monday, May 2, 2016

Encouragement from A Friend

From: Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Desperate L

Elsie, I need you and I need you now. Please e-mail me back. Things just keep getting worse. The minute Clay left me to pursue his deluded dream of becoming a stand-up comic, his pot-addled son (a real chip off the old block), got the notion to take off to New Orleans to join some chanting cult. He left two days ago, crammed into a rusty Honda with Josh and Toby on the world's most ill-advised road trip. He said he needed his freedom, and he'd text me when he got "settled into the compound." Then, get this: Literally the day after Forrest left, I got a letter from my uncle Alfred’s lawyer asking me to move to some armpit called Wolfpine Glen and take ownership of his crappy "magick" store. Apparently, Alfred is stowed away for good in a home now, and his store manager, someone pretentious enough to call herself "Artemis," is quitting. 

So once again, as the only responsible one in the family, it all falls to me. Between of this and the firm closing, I feel like I’m losing my mind. Reality check, please. Can we have tea? Sometime soon? Or better yet, chardonnay?

From: Elsie May,
To:      Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Desperate L

Buzz-buzz, you know I''ll miss you dearly, but what are you going to do in the city now that your firm is closing and Clay and Forrest have flown the coop? Get out. Go to Wolfpine Glen, make that insipid new age crystal shack as profitable as hell, sell it for big money, and retire in Paris. Believe it or not, I was in Wolfpine last year for a few weeks on a case, so I know of what I speak when I say that with your skills, you can turn that shop around financially in a year. That entire town is chock full of gullible residents more than willing to spend their questionably-earned cash on Valerian root and sage sticks.  I’ll come and join you on the Rue Saint-HonorĂ© when you clean up on those hippies and get settled into an adorable flat. 

And yeah, we really need to meet for Chardonnay! How about tomorrow? I get off at six.

Receipt for April 18th: Kenny’s Bar and Grill

BBQ Chicken Wings, (2) $18.00
Cheesy Garlic Bread, (3) $12.00
3 Bottles, Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, $75.00

Meal: $105.00
Tip: $22.04.00

Total: $127.04

From: Buzzy Breton,
Subject: Last night

I had a total blast last night, and that Nolan guy was a stone cold fox. I hope you actually call him, you coward. 

I’m hung over as hell this morning, but I think you’re right. I should just sell the house and get out of here. What does it matter? I’ll move to Hippie Witch Gulch for a year and then I’ll sell old Alfie’s dinosaur to some corporate machine and finally move to France. I’m totally sober right now, FYI. Dying, and in desperate need of aspirin and caffeine, but sober. I’ve had it. I’m not going to try to save the firm. Even if I was willing to, I’m not sure I could. You’re so right about this, Else. I’m already dreaming of the day I can spit Chardonnay out my nose from my Parisian flat as I think about how hard Clay is going to fall on his ass trying to make a career in stand-up at the youthful age of fifty-two.

I’m off to get a Coke and aspirin. I’ll keep you posted on Project Paris.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Poison Pen Letter

To: Beatrice “Buzzy” Breton:

Consider this a Warning from a “friend”: You don’t know me, but believe me, I know you. It’s all over Wolfpine Glen that your Uncle Alfred picked you, of all people, to take over the Brass Pentacle now that he’s finally been put out to pasture in that fancy rich-guy nursing home. Good timing: He got shuffled off to the death warehouse right around the time that viper Artemis decided to quit managing the shop so she could flake off to lord it over that New-Age goddess temple in Holly Vale.  If you haven’t heard about the transfer of property yet, don’t worry--you will. Alfred’s lawyer mailed you the legal notice two days ago. Don’t ask how I know--I just do.

It’s no secret that you and your Uncle Alfred have bad blood between you. Everyone in Wolfpine Glen knows it, so there’s no sense pretending. But apparently, his stroke-addled brain thinks that just because you’re a finance attorney, (whatever that means) you can just waltz into the Brass Pentacle and make everything ship-shape again, never mind that Artemis ran that place into the ground over the last 22 years, and God only knows what kind of sorry state it’s in. And, because you’re a competitive little snipe, I’m sure you’re doing a victory dance knowing that your own brother Sean didn’t get picked. It’s killing him, by the way. You and I both know he’s wanted to run the Brass Pentacle since he was, like, born. But just because he drinks a little and has one lousy felony, heaven forfend he should darken the door of your pompous Uncle Alfred’s vanity store. Never mind that Sean has a two-year degree in business, and he’s managed the Wolfpine Shop-N-Smart since 1997. No, I guess you’re a better candidate for the job, since your crappy law firm is going under due to your own incompetence. Everyone knows it’s your fault your firm lost the case with Mountain Bank. It’s in all the papers, so don’t try to hide it.

Oh, and we guess what—everyone in Wolfpine Glen knows about Clay. I hate to break it to you, but he’s not coming back. Maybe if you had been more supportive of his dream, he’d have stuck around longer. But I’m not surprised, considering that your own son was so desperate to get away from you that he hoofed it for New Orleans under the cover of night. New Orleans, for God’s Sake. So in light of the fact that you have nothing to cling to, I’m guessing you can’t resist the temptation to grace us with your queenly presence in Wolfpine Glen. I was never a fan of Artemis, but frankly I’m not looking forward to having some snippy city lawyer swooping in here and showing us all how it’s done. By rights, Sean should taking over the Brass Pentacle, not you. My advice to you is to watch your back. Wolfpine Glen may be small, but we stick together. We will hold you accountable.

Scared? You should be. Consider yourself warned, Beatrice “Buzzy” Breton. The hills have eyes.