My weekend with the Gangstas — a photo essay

    The first thing that needs to be said is this: We didn't take that many pictures because we were too busy doing stuff, primarily laughing. Some things are just too special to capture on film. And KrisTAY lying on her back with her feet in the air and her face turning purple because she can't quit laughing is one of them.

    But here are some things we did photograph...

    While on a quick tour of Rocky Mountain National Park, we had the pleasure of watching about 50 elk cross the road. They stopped traffic while slowly making their way from one side to the other. Some were males with big racks; others were cows with calves. These are obviously bull elk. The mountain with the flat top that you see in the distance is Long's Peak. It's the mountain I see from my front yard. The mountain I fell on is behind the elks' butts off to the viewer's right.

    I think they look like hobbits, don't you? KrisTAY and SueZAY posed in front of Boulder's Foothills on our way to breakfast. The biggest rock in the background is what's called the Third Flatiron. Both my dad and bro have climbed it. I have not and don't plan to. Behind the person taking the photo (aka me) is NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Up there we met one of my Ranger friends, who told us about an idiot drunk-driving accident on one of the hiking trails. This is about five minutes tops away from my office. This is the view I have from work. Not bad if you have to go to work.

    Hobbits, I tell you. Hobbits.

    After sucking a second glass of sangria through a straw, I find myself sitting beside "Debby," who is leading a prayer meeting. (Don't ask.) Actually, Kristi and the other gangstas were sampling my perfume oils that I bought from a parfumerie — ambergris, Arabian musk, castorium, and a couple of artisan perfumes called Seduction and Erotica. But I was a bit tipsy and got confused about a few things.

    Naturally, one thing led to another, and so KrisTAY had to try on my authentic police handcuffs that I learned how to break out of while writing Unlawful Contact.

    We new we needed to get some photos, and it was really a tough night in some ways because we knew KrisTAY and SueZAY were flying out the next morning. It seemed such a shame to have such a great time and then have to say goodbye and not see each other again forever. We took turns posing together because we had no one to take photos. Here, Kristi seems fascinated with me, while Libby strikes a pose wearing the RBL shirts that Sue made for us. She looks like the librarian of the erotica section. Sheesh!

    Now it's Sue's turn.

    One of the last things we did together was drive to the set of my son's film. He wrote the screenplay and has spent all summer filming, using replica weapons. It's a 1930's noir detective story. He's in the center with the dame (his girlfriend Liz) perched on his arm. They were filming in the middle of an abandoned rail yard among old semi-restored train cars.

    Here's one of just Ben and Liz.

    To LiberTAY, KrisTAY and SueZAY — I miss you!!!!

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