My apologies in advance to anyone who adores Bakersfield, California, but I just… don’t.

Usually, Bakersfield’s a place I zoom through on the way to somewhere else. But I swear it’s cursed. Once, our car blew a tire on I-5 there, and my entire family ended up stranded at the Bakersfield Sears for over 3 hours while the Worst Tire People in the Universe replaced it.

Sometimes I stop in Bakersfield to grab something caffeinated and use a bathroom. On one of these stops, I bought a venti iced coffee at Starbucks. But the lid was put on improperly. While I was pulling away, I went to take a sip and the cup geysered, drenching me in cold coffee. I had to drive 200 miles home like that.

This week, I was in Bakersfield in meetings when my husband texted to inform me he was in the hospital. Having apparently decided our lives weren’t interesting enough, he┬áhad a heart attack. He’s doing okay now–with less bacon and potato chips in his future, I suspect–but it hasn’t been a fun experience. I blame Bakersfield.

So now perhaps you’ll understand why, in one of my upcoming novels, Bakersfield is the gateway to Hell.

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