So now some poor soul in Hillsboro thinks I’m trying to off somebody.

Headed over to the Cornelius Roadhouse tonight to meet Steve-the-kilngod and kick off the Intelligent Kiln Project (more about that later). Arriving, I realized that (a) I had no idea what Steve-the-kilngod looked like and (b) Cornelius Roadhouse is a big place full of guys waiting for the rest of their party. So I set out to search for him.

My search algorithm consisted of walking up to solitary dudes who seemed to be waiting and saying, “Hi, are you Steve-who-does-kilns?” The first 11 said no, clearly relieved NOT to be the blind date I was apparently seeking. (Humpfh)

The 12th was about as far from the Roadhouse’s usual Intel pocket-protector crowd as you can get: White guy with Rastafarian hair, long beard, grubby fingernails, torn jeans, worn-out biker boots and a bright yellow T-shirt with the “Have a nice day” smiley face on front.

Of course, this smiley face had a bullet wound between the eyes with blood gushing out…

THIS, I decided, was my wild-and-woolly kilnbuilder. “You’re Steve who does kilns, right? Am I glad to meet you! I really need to get the whole kiln thing settled.”

His eyes grew wide and round and his mouth stuttered open in surprise, “I’m Steve, but I don’t know that I can help you. You know, that doesn’t solve anything in the long run.”

Huh? “I guess it will solve my firing problem, though. Until I have my kiln I won’t get a decent firing.”

‘You were fired?”

“No, my KILN isn’t firing,” I said patiently, slowing my speech way down, “and that is why I would like you to build me a new.”

“Oh, K-I-L-N kiln! I thought you said killin’ and I don’t do those. I guess the clothes misled you, right?”

“An honest mistake,” I sniffed, wondering what it was that he DID do. He looked at me oddly as he moved away; I saw him later talking to the hostess and pointing in the direction of my table. She gave me fisheyed looks for the rest of my stay.

Suspicious old world, ain’t it?

P.S. Turned out that the real Steve had brought his son along and cleverly disguised himself as a party of two, which threw me off. I passed him up several times while seeking my standalone kilngod. We finally connected when I called his mobile and watched for someone to answer his phone…