One of the odd things about being a writer is that everything you see or hear (or think or say) is potential material. To give me more ‘potential material,’ I arranged for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Science Museum of Minnesota with my friend Jackie Hoff. She very sweetly agreed to give up her Saturday morning for me and my friend Rachel Spangler (wonderful romance writer from western New York.)
First stop was the insect room. Jackie and Rachel get as close as possible to these giant beetles. I, of course, remained farther away in order to get a decent photo.
But I did move in closer to see these moths!
With every room we entered, with every storage cabinet Jackie opened, with every drawer she slid out, my mind started feeling a little drunk. Jackie would show us something, then share an amazing story that went with that item. She was very selective, since seeing all two million items in the collection wasn’t going to work for any of us! Both Rachel and I began to see potential material everywhere—the notebook for employees on how not to get poisoned handling the material? Full of information on how to poison someone!
Here’s Rachel with the replica of a toe bone belonging to a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The real bone is on the far right.
These very heavy storage containers move to the right or left (by turning the black handles) to expose more drawers on the other side. Rachel and I looked at each other—a way to kill someone! Just get a person between two containers and crank them together. Splat.
Some insanely patient scientist at this table is putting together a turtle shell. Yikes.
Our tour guide Jackie and writer Rachel Spangler.
The tour ended in the lab where the ‘fresh’ stuff goes.
Behind this sign is a room in which those voracious beetles are cleaning off a carcass of some kind. Rachel, the mother of an inquisitive 8-year-old boy, went into the room. Me, the supposedly-tough farmer, chose to stay outside. Big weenie.
But we both left with our brains spinning—a veritable orgy of information. Don’t be surprised if Rachel and I both end up with books about a museum scientist who poisons people or crushes them between storage containers then disposes of their bodies by giving them to the beetles. Guess we’d better check in with each other to make sure that doesn’t happen!