The Everwinter Files: #308

Page 39 – The following night the weather was calm again and the boat Ambrose had hired was ready to go at 1 am. Carl Crane went with him as Jimmy McFarland agreed to wait back at the Inn. Not many local boat owners were willing to embark on a post-midnight secret mission to trespass on the feared Hollister Ranch and their armed guards. However, for triple the fee, after a rash of family setbacks, Willy Reese was hard put to turn down such a large pile of ready cash, even if the risk was high.

Ambrose and Carl brought several guns on board and gave Willy the signal they were ready to go. The thirty foot boat was old, but the engine was in good shape and roared to life and started out into the black night of the Pacific calm. The night waves were short as they glided past a group of dolphins who turned and went up the coast toward Pismo. Willy’s old fishing vessel cruised south along the shore but far enough out they would be hard to spot. Ambrose had Willy turn off the lights as they relied on Willy’s ability to captain the boat in the dark.

The trio stayed silent as they heard only the lapping of the waves as they could now see the faint lights on Hollister Ranch. The intelligence Ambrose had was the place had a night watchman at the front gate and two armed men who roamed the property randomly but only once or twice per night on the beach. It seemed that most were not foolhardy enough to try entry anyway, so the guards were usually trying to stay awake and finish their shift.

Willy guided the old boat near a small beach that adjoined the Hollister property and killed the engines. Ambrose and Carl went down a rope ladder with rifles, handguns, flashlights, and a knapsack of various supplies and dry clothes and shoes. They were waist deep in water and waded ashore. On the beach they removed their wet shoes and clothes and buried them under some rocks by a cliff. In dry footwear and pants the pair quietly slunk up the beach toward unknown danger in the dark night.

The Everwinter Files : #308 The Frolic Room Prophet is now available in hard back on

The Frolic Room Prophet

Page 22 – Ambrose Everwinter was greeted by an old man in uniform when he walked up to the gate at Columbia Pictures. The man just motioned for him to follow and walk down the sidewalk toward several sound stages. As they passed one working on a night shoot, Ambrose saw a fake mountain with a giant fan blowing thousands of pieces of paper to resemble snow toward some freezing climbers. Larry, Curly and Moe. The director yelled “cut” as Moses Harry Horowitz was walking fast toward him waving his hands. Evidently, Moe Howard was not pleased with the way the scene was going. Ambrose followed the guard up a flight of steel stairs to a small private office. The guard knocked, heard something, then opened the door for the detective, turned and left. Ambrose went in the office to see Dewey La Londe on the phone behind a mahogany desk smoking a Cuban cigar with his tie loosened and sleeves rolled up. Dewey saw Ambrose, grunted something, and hung up the phone. He motioned for Ambrose to sit as he poured two glasses half full of imported Scotch. The men sipped in silence until Dewey found his voice.

“You have to help find her.”

“Tell me the whole story.”

The Everwinter Files by John K Bucher Sr. is now available on Amazon.

An Inside Look…

Upon my third return to college I was introduced to Arthur Conan Doyle and his wonderful stories of Sherlock Holmes. Nothing prepared me for the lifelong love affair I would carry from that first reading. I would get lost in London circa 1890’s and beyond. To me, Holmes, Watson, Professor Moriarty, and company were real unlike most of the reality that surrounded me.

Since becoming a writer, I have fantasized about creating my own detective. The Everwinter Files came born out of that desire. Number 308 – The Frolic Room Prophet is the first offering in what I plan to be an entire series. I wish to that my three sons for their support and encouragement: John Jr., Matt, and Josh. I also want to thank my girlfriend, Edina Rush. On our last camping trip to the beach last fall, she insisted I bring the first chapters and read it aloud to her around the fire at night. I was troubled with the story at that point and this trip crystalized the whole story.

It begins as …..

Evening traffic at Sunset and La Brea whooshed by as occasional horns honked and engines revved at red lights. The parking lot at Carolina Pines Jr. had filled up and Ambrose Everwinter found one of last spots and came to a stop. H e favored the 24-hour southern cooking at this location more than the original because of the staff. The “Jr.” was a square box and stone corners. It was so well lit you could pick it out from any of the Hollywood balconies all the way up to Mulholland. Ambrose got out and admired his new 1955 Packard Clipper Touring Sedan washed in pale blue with white accents. Even though it was only April, 1955 had already been a good year, he thought. He straightened his tie and fedora in the sedan’s side mirror and made his way to the front glass doors. The smell of strong coffee and fried chicken was well distributed by the fans placed to keep it cool. He found an open stool and removed his hat.

The Frolic Room Prophet by John K. Bucher Sr. is now available on Amazon. Click below to get yours!


Tree Lights

Tree lights dream light on the pier so far

Christmas time love lost way beyond the star

Boiling soup and fresh bread smell the distant air

Carnival men ghost horses memories at the fair

The walk is long and feet are sore finally within reach

Children play in winterland Christmas at the beach

Down the pier couples kiss deep down embrace

Saw a reflection the other day forgotten my face

Tree lights dream lights beside me sway

Turning west down the shore ending of the day

This poem and many more are found in On The Beach by John K Bucher and available for sale on Amazon.


11 NEW DEVILS – page 47 – 49 ON THE BEACH

Woke up this morning and walked down to the sea

My troubles were many and I know when I return

They would be gone

But today was different with a new kind of pain

Today the visions were cloudy and broken into

Many bits dark and sharp

11 new devils clung to me now as I got close

11 new devils stabbed me in places tender and sore

I stopped and I staggered

The sea, the sea has always been the place

The place, the place I could set free and find peace

But now these devils were here

Why 11? Why not 10 or 11?

Why so many? Where do I run?

Then a voice cried far from the shore

A voice without words, without sounds

My ears heard and I obeyed

I walked into the cold salty foam

Farther and farther until the water

Covered my head

I went under and felt them go

They drowned and howled, they died

I found myself lying on the beach

A beer in my hand and the sun shinning

On my face

This poem and many more are in the Sideshow Book series “ON THE Beach is available on

On The Beach

Page 53 “Corkscrew Days Rolling Rock Nights

Liquor store man looks funny at me

Shakes his head and snorts

Every day I visit his sorry ass

To get my supplies, my needs, my joy

Sitting on my blanket

I watch and pull a cork

Skies are blue and the birds soar so high

I loose them on the fuzzy horizon

The wine tastes like an Italian village

In the late summer

With the sun going down

My thoughts are slow and vivid

Empty bottle and the n night birds call

Rolling Rock green

The light yellow water adds years

To my life span

I know it

The night gets cooler

Beach lights shine

Games are played

I only watch

And think

And then I sleep

Tomorrow I must go

To the liquor store man

On The Beach by John K Bucher is available on

Meeting John Senenfelder conclusion

The next day Ron came and drove me the alley after he had picked up the type of cigars John S. was smoking. It was raining lightly and the garage was closed. No John S. We planned to try the next day and about an hour before it was time, Ron called me to say “He’s there right now.” We drove over and gave him the cigars. He seemed very happy to see us, and this time all four of us just talked for a while. I made up my mind to not bring up anything serious. John S. lit up a cigar as I showed him pictures I had been taking along the river. He told me how he lost his legs. He was in a boat fishing when a blood vessel burst in his lower back. He said it felt like a bolt of electricity. The problem stemmed from his diabetes. They had to take his legs. I asked him if he cooked for himself and how he managed at home? His daughters come to take him shopping and to check on him. Most days he is content to be alone, wave at people passing by, and visit with Harley. Several times he wheeled into the alley and I asked if he was going? He smiled and said no. He just likes to move around a little. He stayed for over an hour. I told him I was leaving in a few days to see Jack and other business in Minneapolis. I asked if Saturday was a day to see him again and ask some of the questions I needed for the book. He said sure. Before he left he wheeled right up next to me and stuck out his hand. “Thanks for the cigars.” I told him that is was Ron who bought them and he thanked Ron as well, A few days later, Ron and I were coming back from seeing Jack. He said that Harley called called him because John S. was wondering where I was. Ron reminded Harley that I would be back on Saturday. Evidently John S. was eager to see me now. I wish I had that effect on everybody.

Saturday rolled around and so did the clouds. It rained all afternoon. Still we went over to the closed garage just to see. Sunday was my last day in Winona. Ron and Tasha ( a friend ) came to get me. As we drove up the alley, John S. was waiting in front of the closed garage. We parked quickly as Ron got Harley from the house and we set up the chairs. Harley came out with refreshments and Tasha took pictures. I signaled John S, to move to the side of the garage so we could have a private chat. When we were out of earshot of the others I told him about my visit with Jack in prison. In a clearer and stronger voice he as asked me how he was doing? He allowed that prison was no picnic. I mustered up my courage and asked him if the documents I had were right, and that he never had sex with his step-daughter. He turned and looked me in the eye and said “Ada framed me.” I asked him why? He replied she wanted to be with Bobby Fort and wanted rid of him. When I asked him his opinion of Bobby Fort, he muttered “He’s a crook, a criminal.” I then inquired if he thought Jack killed his wife? Very calmly he he told he knew Jack did not kill Ada, that we was certain Bobby Fort had her killed. He said that he met a man at the Labor Temple bar who claimed Bobby Fort paid him to kill her. Very soon after that, the man moved to the Twin Cities. He couldn’t remember his name.

I sat there thinking that if the justice system had any real desire to solve her death, there were plenty of people willing to say without a doubt Bobby Fort, not Jack Nissalke, was responsible for her murder. I tried to imagine the jury from Jack’s trial listening to this man in his wheelchair. I sipped a beer as John S. drank one of Harley’s Pepsis, right next to the man whose son is serving a life sentence in prison for the death of his wife. The day after I left, Ron stopped by John S.’s home and gave him a bag of unshelled walnuts. He enjoys feeding squirrels.

This interview is found in the book Murder and Deceit and is available on

Meeting John Senenfelder continued….

Harley said he and John were long time friends and he is reserved and quiet, and doesn’t like to talk. I asked if he would ask John S. if he would talk to me. Harley said he would, but seriously doubted he would, especially after the paper “fucked him over like they did.” I persisted and Harley said he would ask. Ron and I left thinking, well we had tried.

The next day, Harley called Ron who then called me. It seemed that at least John would meet with me but any talk about the past was off limits. Ron picked me up at the coffee shop and we felt some excitement, why I wasn’t sure. As we turned up the alley, we could see the garage was open and sure enough, Harley sat in one of the three chairs, and there was John Senenfelder, in his wheelchair, smoking a small cigar. I was nervous and so was he. We exchanged an awkward handshake and I pulled up a chair on his right side. Ron and Harley lit up and moved a few feet away. I tried my best to tell him as gently as I could that I was grateful he consented to meet me, and did not want to cause him pain. He nodded in silence and stared out into the alley as cars came by. It was certainly a busy alley. The sun shone on our faces as I outlined the book I was writing and just wanted some background on Ada. There had to be more than I had. What was she like as a wife? I tried to start a conversation but was going nowhere until I asked him if he was from Winona? John replied he was from Iowa. I told him I was in Iowa recently to visit some of my cousins for the first time. He seemed to perk up just a little under neath his shell and asked me where? I told him and we started to talk.

He came to Winona in the late 1960’s after a huge storm had knocked down a lot of trees. He got work cleaning up the town and stayed on. He eventually became a plumber and made “big money”, as he characterized it several times. I asked how he met Ada, and he softly replied it was “through friends”. I asked him to rate his marriage to her and he said there were many good times. I knew that Ada was married to Casmir Flak, and there was three children when he married her. I didn’t know how Casmir died so I asked him. He just said ” cancer”. I was encouraged now and asked what Ada was like? He glanced at me and said she liked to party a lot. At that point he thrust his arms down and wheeled away. I watched him as he went down the alley home. I had really talked to John Senenfelder. Harley said he had never seen him talk so much. Ron and I left there with me thinking I had done my share of harm to a man who seemed kind and gentle, though shielded. Something in me liked this man, a man convicted of molesting his step-daughter. Just before he took off, I sensed I was losing him, and asked if I would come back to see him again? He said yes.

to be continued…

This exchange is found in the book Murder and Deceit – the story of Jack Nissalke and available on

Meeting John Senenfelder

When I went back to Winona in September, 2010, I had a laundry list of people to talk to that were willing and eager at this point. I spent my days at The Acoustic Coffee Shop, where I set up shop. I had a make shift office there, combined with great food, coffee, beer and WiFi. People would wait in chairs like a doctor’s office. One such person I was urged to try and speak with was John Senenfelder, Ada’s husband. The Winona daily News had published an article about him, showing him in his wheelchair, both legs gone, waving at cars passing in front of his house. It seemed they tricked him into talking about his car waving so they could pepper him with uncomfortable questions about Ada and his prison sentence for molestation. I was convinced he would not talk to me. Besides, I had plenty of people who did want to. One day, at Ron Nissalke’s house, he mentioned that Harley Howell, a nearby neighbor, had a son, Gary, who died mysteriously, had told him that Bobby Fort had Ada killed. I had the interview, but wanted to talk to Harley to see if there was more to the story as there usually is. Ron called up Harley and said we could come talk to him the next afternoon. Ron came and drove there at our appointed time. Together we drove down a near by alley, as it seemed Harley spent his afternoons in his open garage that faced the alley and wanted to meet me there instead of in his house. He was there waiting with plastic lawn chairs just inside the garage. We sat down as Harley and Ron lit cigarettes and we began to chat. Harley seemed to be mid to late 70’s, thin and very animated. It pleased him we were there, and I briefly told him what I was doing. He told me matter of fact that Jack was framed and he knew Bobby Fort had Ada killed. We talked for a good 20 minutes, when I mentioned the John S. story in the paper. Harley surprised us by allowing he and John are friends and John usually comes by the garage every afternoon. Harley said we had just missed him.

to be continued….

This account is found on page 69-73 in Murder and Deceit “The Story of Jack Nissalke” and is available on