The fourth of July holiday is coming up and I plan to cook up some beef ribs for the neighbors to celebrate. But I haven’t cooked ribs or even grilled anything on the barbecue in months. The rule of a smart cook is “You don’t serve your first try at a recipe to a guest. That’s what family, relatives, and the ten boxes of Mac-and-cheese in the cabinet are for.”

Hey if you don’t like it you know where the Mac-and-cheese is. Oh, and get a box out for me.

So, I watched a couple of YouTube videos and got feel of cooking ribs back and also got a couple of ideas to try. And the key word is Try. I drew up a list of things to buy and this morning I headed to the grocery store. Four stores and a meat market later I found one store with beef ribs. The ribs had almost no meat on them, it looked like the bones had been scraped clean with a thin bit of meat between the bones. Even the butcher at the store did not recommend buying the ribs.

At the last store I found tri-tip on sale and bought a nice roast. Tri-tip is good, but I had my mouth set on beef ribs. There were plenty of pork ribs, but after watching video after video of people cooking beef ribs, I wanted beef ribs. (Spoiled aren’t I.)

There has to be a reason for all the stores to be out of beef ribs. It’s almost summer and that’s grilling season. Did everyone get the same idea I had and bought all the ribs up? Did the only truck that hauls beef ribs into the county break down or get high jacked? (by space aliens or werewolves?) Is McDoanlds coming out with a Mac Beef Rib sandwich, and they have cornered the market on beef ribs like they did when the Mac Rib (pork) sandwich came out?

People have trouble coming up with ideas. All you have to be is paranoid and observant. Just look around you and see something that’s changed and come up with reasons why it is changing. Change happens for a reason.

Well maybe not, but in a story it has to or you risk turning your reader off. And the change has to involve the main character, even if the villain causes the change. The change does not have to have a logical reason to happen. Most actions by villains are not logical, they’re villains after all.

So next time you see a cosmetic shop closed, try and think of a reason why it closed. Maybe the space aliens that were its biggest customers left earth and no longer need the makeup to hide the fact they’re aliens. Or they’re mad at the xenophobic president and cleaned the store out before they left. Or maybe they took the owner with them when they left to keep him from telling everyone that they were from outer space.

This is how you go from a simple shopping trip to an alien invasion.

Now if you will excuse me I need to go grill a three pound tri-tip.

Stay strong, write on, and grill baby grill.

Professor Hyram Voltage