From the archives! (Originally posted on Oct. 14, 2012)
Just the other day, a reader emailed Hank asking, "What is a cake house?" We're so glad you asked, because that reminds us of one of the best scenes from Book 9, The Case of the Halloween Ghost!
From Chapter 10:
". . .Where do you go when you’ve got ghosts and goblins on your trail? I didn’t know. I mean, they can walk through walls and see in the dark. It’s hard to hide from that kind of enemy.
I went streaking away from the yard and came to the cake house, figgered that was as good a place as any, leaped through door and went inside.
It was very dark in there, with just a little rod of moonlight coming through the open door. I stumbled over junk and stuff, sacks of feed and wads of baling wire, and made my way back to the northwest corner, which was as far away from the door as I could get.
There, I found a stack of burlap feed sacks, and I proceeded to burrow under the sack on top. If those goblins wanted to eat me, they would have to eat a sack first.
And then I waited. I could hear my heart pounding: tah-DAH, tah-DAH, tah-DAH. I could hear the wind rumbling across the tin roof. And beyond that . . . nothing.
Nothing had ever sounded sweeter than the nothing I heard at that moment. I mean, I was ready for some heavy silence.
But then . . . what was that? Footsteps on the wood floor? Holy smokes, they were coming after me! I was backed into a corner and all I had for protection was an old cake sack.
My mind began racing, as I searched my data banks for some kind of response that would save me from those horrible creatures.
In this type of situation, did a guy come out fighting? Did he try to hide? What the heck did he do? It was kind of an important question, don’t you see, because the wrong answer would get me more than a bad grade. It would get me . . .
I really didn’t want to probe that matter too deeply. I wasn’t sure what-all that collection of ghouls and goblins could do to an innocent dog, and I didn’t want to know.
At last I came up with a plan. Instead of trying to hide or fight my way out, I would pretend that I was one of them—another ghost, in other words. It’s common knowledge that one ghost won’t eat another ghost.
Seemed reasonable that one ghost wouldn’t eat another ghost.
I sure hoped that one ghost . . .
So I gathered my courage and raised up. I hoped that my legs wouldn’t give out on me, because they were shaking.
And wet. I still didn’t understand that part. Disguising my voice, so that it sounded more like a ghost than a dog, I said, “Wooooo! Who’s in my cake house?” . . .
Do you know how the story ends? If not, be sure to read The Case of the Halloween Ghost!
Hank's Store - The Case of the Halloween Ghost
Also available as an ebook (here)
And...finally, do you know what a cake house is?
In response to that reader's question, Mr. Erickson wrote: "When pasture grass stops growing in the fall, ranchers have to start feeding their cattle a supplement that will provide them with protein. This usually comes in the form of cubed feed in sacks. The old-time cowboys and ranchers called it 'cow cake,' or just cake. The building that was used to hold a winter's supply of cake was called a 'cake house.'"
Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!