Part I

Matilda Moves in and Finds a Few Surprises

Goodnight Gazette Enters Uncertain Era

By Silas Miller


The new owner and publisher of the Goodnight Gazette, Matilda Dare, arrived in town today from California. She drove here in a beat up Nissan Altima with no front bumper that she ran into a house back home. Ms. Dare has no experience in journalism and has never been to New Mexico before. She inherited the Gazette, along with its headquarters, which is housed in a prominent, historical compound home in the hills above the Goodnight UFOs shop and next to the Friends of Daisy the Giraffe Home for Abused Wildlife.

The former owner and publisher of the Gazette, Chris Simmons, died two weeks ago from an allergic reaction to a hornet sting, while walking his dogs in the forest behind the house. Ms. Dare also inherited the dogs.

When asked if she would continue the newspaper or if she would shutter it, Ms. Dare responded: “What? I have a newspaper? What?”

The Goodnight Gazette won the Southwest Watchdog award five years in a row. It’s a treasured fixture in the troubled town of Goodnight. Townspeople have been up in arms at the prospect of losing the Gazette. “If that woman shuts you down, I’ll Tase her,” Patrolwoman Wendy Ackerman told this reporter at the Goodnight Diner. “No Californian can come here and tell us how to live.”

Derek from Goodnight Fly Fishing Tours discussed his consternation about the newspaper’s new owner. “What am I going to do about my advertising? I’ll get a refund, right?” he asked over his breakfast of green chili eggs and sourdough toast.

This reporter will update our readers on the future of our paper, if Ms. Dare doesn’t close it before he gets the chance. As for rumors that Matilda Dare is insane, calls to her hometown, refuted them.

“No, she’s not crazy,” Gladys Burger, Ms. Dare’s friend, insisted. “I mean, yes, she was locked up in a rubber room and shackled to a bed, but it was a mistake. She’s as sane as I am.”

In addition to being the town’s matchmaker, Ms. Burger once found a severed head in a lobster tank, and she claims that she can predict the weather.


My name’s Matilda Dare, and I might see dead people. I mean, after they’re buried and gone. I also have a problem with more than my share of killers.

I didn’t know any of that when I started my new life in Goodnight, New Mexico. I had only had one up close and personal killer up until that point, and I may or may not have brought a dead woman back to life. But boy, was that about to change.

I had left my old life behind two weeks ago, and I was now the owner of a large house, which included the headquarters of the Goodnight Gazette, two ancient dogs, and enough money to fix the plumbing and electricity and keep the paper running for three months. After that, I was going to have to sell pencils in town to survive.

But I’m an optimist. So, after I arrived in town and was greeted by the four man-staff of the Goodnight Gazette like I was goose-stepping down the Champs Elysees and they were the French resistance, they informed me that I now owned the place, which was headquartered in my house, I heard myself say, “I plan on making a go of the paper,” which surprised the hell out of me. The newspaper was totally unexpected, but it answered the question of what I was going to do in New Mexico. It’s always good to know what one is going to do when starting a new life.

“Yeah? You going to make a go?” Silas Miller, the head reporter, challenged me, while I still held the handle of my suitcase in my hand. “Do you know that the Gazette has never made a profit?”

“Nothing in Goodnight makes a profit,” Klee Johnson, the managing editor, added.

“The diner does pretty well,” Jack the paperboy said.

“That’s true,” Klee said. “I do love their smoked trout hash.”

“Best green chili in town,” Silas agreed. “But nothing else makes money here.”

“How does the paper stay in business?” I asked. Klee shrugged, and it set off a wave of shoulders rising. “Well that doesn’t matter,” I announced and broke out into panic-induced hives. “I believe in the importance of a free press in a democracy. So, this will be a go.”

I made a silent prayer that there would be a major earthquake, which would create a large crevice that would open in the earth to swallow me up. But then I remembered that I wasn’t in California anymore. So, I prayed for a fire. But God wasn’t cooperating. Instead of sending me a natural disaster, he sent me a financial disaster.

Luckily, the paper got a call about a possible UFO sighting over the fracking fields west of town, and the focus moved from me to Martians. Then, I found my room, left to me from a dead relative I never knew I had, and took four Xanax, while I scrubbed and cleaned and organized before I went to bed with a couple tiny bottles of booze that I had taken from the mini fridge at a motel in Phoenix on my way to Goodnight.





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