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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adams

What's Real?

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

WILBUR SAMPSON THOMAS DIED OVER 100 YEARS AGO. He met his maker in a spectacular fire that roared through the Royal Frontenac Hotel in Frankfort, Michigan.

The wooden structure was a total loss.

The popular summer resort had been built in 1902 in the busy harbor town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Thankfully, the resort had been closed for the winter at the time of the inferno. The 250-room hotel became engulfed in fifty-foot flames that had been whipped to a crescendo by gale-force winds during the night of January 12, 1912.

Thomas's remains were discovered in the basement of the hotel by townspeople nearly a week after the fire; the ruins had smoldered for days in the cold of January. If truth were known, Thomas, the hotel's handyman, was working late in the basement's utility room that adjoined the main bank of elevators. But he wasn’t the only person in the basement that fateful evening. Ruth Brown, his part-time lover, and wife of the mayor, had joined him for their weekly tryst where they shared bodily pleasures on his make-shift cot conveniently located next to the workbench.

Wilbur fell asleep after their love-making. Ruth quickly turned away after she checked on him and then struck a wooden match igniting a pile of kerosene-soaked rags she had gathered. There was no turning back for her. She locked the door as she slipped out of their utility room. She soon emerged from the back of the hotel escaping the developing flames and slipped on an icy wooden walkway falling flat on her moist ass. In the fierce wind she heard the muffled sounds of hands pounding on pipes... [To Be Continued]

This story is make-believe, the characters are just pretend, however the hotel really did burn to the ground in 1912 in a horrific off-season fire. The cause remains a mystery full of speculation fueled by a century of tattling locals.

As an author, I have tried to bring life to “make-believe,” so that I could explore and attempt to master the writing of fiction. But something is wrong, I feel I am being untruthful. As a person that is always trying to “figure it out,” it seems I am violating my own constitution by creating imaginary characters. It is a conundrum for me and perhaps not deserving of my time or energy. Fiction is just not made for me.

I like to write about true events and real people and places. I'm thinking someday I will reveal the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s remains. I was there when he met his maker.

1975 was a hell of a year.

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