Over time, the Gallatin Valley had become a sort of petrie dish filled with people who ascribed to the black stocking brand of Christianity. Having survived the voyage from the old country this bacterial cult was now a much more virulent strain than the original. Due do the evangelical, non-ecumenical nature of the sect it spread rapidly and infected the entire population. With no Jesuits or any other antidotes in sight there was simply no way of stopping it.

When the Doornspijks first arrived in the Gallatin Valley, they made a series of strategic land grabs. Then after selling the land to two competing railroads they found themselves in control of a sizeable fortune. Paying for a fifty thousand dollar elaborate wedding for their only daughter would not have sent them to the poor house; but they hadn’t become wealthy by supporting losers like the Vogelpoop kid. KarlWillem had early on displayed all the negative characteristics and charms of what a preacher’s kid might be accused of or capable of doing.

The wedding plans had gone awry right from the start. Ameli van Doornspijk was a warped frontier version of the Princess and the Pea. Her tastes ran toward the bizarre or she would never have attracted to KarlWillem Vogelpoop in the first place. Maybe it was her amazing lack of sensitivity to anyone or anything that seemed normal that completed the temporary union.

After a couple of months that had seemed like decades of bickering, yelling and threats always stopping just short of physical violence, KarlWillem left. The Doornspijk’s exhaled and took a deep breath of momentary relief. There was no way for them to imagine what would happen next.

There also wasn’t any way for Noteboom to know the hysterical histrionics of the melodrama role into which he was being sucked with this first case of missing persons. It was to all appearances a worst case cold case that should be forgotten.

About nineteen years earlier in the hamlet of Amsterdam in the Gallatin Valley a bit North and West of Yellowstone Park, a beautiful, sweet and young, Lutheran Swedish widow was attracting public attention again after a short and torrid marriage to a dull-witted and stoic misplaced Finn that hadn’t survived the winter. She was for all intents and purposes still attractive beyond bearable. Next in line to try to satisfy this local, hardly used treasure was a handsome, curious, studied and committed Dutch Reformed preacher.

They got together for a chance one nightstand pre-marital night of bling and bliss. And together they unintentionally produced a premature “Kaydub” as his only two friends liked to call him. KarlWillem had never been able to understand, reconcile or accept having been the product of the shortest gestation period ever recorded as a legitimate birth.

As he grew older, learned to read and ponder such ideas as Transubstantiation, he become more cynical and skeptical of all of his parent’s attempts to raise a moral being.

After completing his catechism and first communion, he developed a taste for red wine. His thirst was so profound that it didn’t matter whether each swallow was really the blood of Christ or not. The whole idea was of little interest or concern to him, although drinking it to the condemnation of his soul to eternal damnation seemed a bit unforgiving and harsh. With each continued drink the threat became more vague, less clear and sometimes he thought it was downright stupid, ridiculous and eventually funny as hell.

The most important issue for KarlWillem was always when and where the next drink was coming from. Less was more of a worry and more was eventually too much and unconsciousness was the ultimate result.

“After all, what I can’t remember must not have happened, right?”

Ameli van Doornspijk, on the other hand was sharp, witty and plain. Not unattractive, but definitely and painfully plain. Her plainness had taken a serious toll on her dealings with other people. She had no tolerance or acceptance of other people’s likes, dislikes and she was consistently abusive about opinions, ideas, remarks of which she didn’t agree and intolerant to the beyond. She was intolerant, arbitrary, capricious and contrary anytime decisions had to be made.

Delbert Boggs, the third third of the Terrors of Amsterdam Town was a product of a Cherokee squaw survivor of the Trail of Tears trek from Georgia to Oklahoma. He was fathered by a red-headed, hot-headed first generation shanty Irish Catholic runt of the litter survivor of the great potato famine. When the two of them ran into each other in what became West Oklahoma they had both gone about as far as they could go. Together they became a match made in Hell and waiting to be struck on any abrasive surface. The dust that got stuck in the clay and refused to be blown away served the purpose. Delbert’s arrival blew out what little flame there was left in their brief encounter.

How the three of them were able to survive as a group without killing each other was a complete mystery. But, survive they did and if you weren’t too picky about the results they were annoyingly successful.

When the wedding plans aborted and KarlWillem took a moment for reflection, he came up with better idea. Calling the other two for an important meeting of the triumvirate and all of them being bored by the speed of life in Amsterdam they were excited to hear about his latest brain fart.

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