Author's Comments

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I grew up in Butte, Montana. It is a town of about thirty-four thousand people that once had a population far greater—most of whom came to work the mines that started as gold mines, shifted to silver mines, and finally produced high-quality copper just as the country (and the world) began stringing copper wires for electricity. Butte was the third city in the world to have electricity—Paris, France, and New York City being the first two. The mining town once had a large Chinese population as well as Cornish, Irish, Welsh, Finnish, Italian, Serbian, and Greek.

When I was a child, the old tunnel mines had all been shut down, and the copper came from an open-pit mine thathad eaten the suburbs of Meaderville, McQueen, and East Butte—and continued to grow until it ate the old amusement park Columbia Gardens. But there were all sorts of stories that were told about the “old days.” Stories about the racetrack that had stood where East Junior High (now East Middle School) had been built. I heard tales of Shoestring Annie, Dirty-Mouth Jean, and the old madame who beat up Carrie Nation when she took her temperance crusade to the wrong bar.

So I just had to set a story in Butte.

The events in this story all happen before Moon Called.