Monday, March 14, 2011

The Pleasant Orchard Polygamist: The Legend of Daniel Kretchmer

Perched on a ledge of a range of the Rocky Mountains was the small village
of Pleasant Orchard, located in an especially placid corner of Happy Valley. The men of Pleasant Orchard were strong men of God who seldom missed a Priesthood Meeting. The women were industrious and free from gossip. The boys were all outstanding football players who would go on to become fine missionaries. The girls were lovely, virtuous, of good report, and praiseworthy. This was the popular perception, and perception was all that mattered.

Daniel Kretchmer once lived in this tiny bedroom community of Pleasant Orchard. Then he didn't. No one knew why. When it was just Daniel Kretchmer missing, not a great deal of thought was given to his wherabouts. Daniel had been a known user of all manner of mind-altering substances. It was only a matter of time, most people thought, before his lifestyle caught up with him. Still, it was odd that his body never turned up.

Near the end of winter many years after Daniel was remembered by anyone but his immediate survivors, who had kept to themselves before Daniel's disappearance and who continued their somewhat reclusive existence, a thirteen-year-old girl from the local middle school disappeared one evening while walking home from a church activity. The authorities were contacted. The people who saw her last were interviewed repeatedly. The girl's friends were questioned exhaustively. Each lead was followed. Every detail -- even ones deemed inconsequential -- was examined. No stone was left unturned. No clue was left unexplored. Still, no trace of the girl was ever found. Her family mourned her disappearance, but eventually she was forgotten by all but her family.

The following year, in the weeks before spring thaw, another young female disappeared. This time the young woman, a fourteen-year-old high school student, had been walking home from the local high school when she was last sighted. Again all acquaintances and contacts were interviewed, and again, the painstaking detective work yielded no promising leads.

When the very next February, following a Saturday afternoon birthday party, a twelve-year-old sixth grader failed to reach home, the good people of Pleasant Orchard realized they had a bit of a situation on their hands. They put their minds together, added everything up, and came to the undeniable conclusion that the disappearances of the young females of their town could be attributed to one thing and one thing only, or more correctly, to one person and one person only: Daniel Kretchmer.

What use would Daniel Kretchmer possibly have for not one, not two, but three young females? The answer was obvious to all but the most obtuse of minds: Daniel Kretchmer must certainly be a polygamist. From that point, the people of the township of Pleasant Orchard made it their business to protect the young women residing within their borders so that not one more would be lost to Daniel Kretchmer's harem. School was canceled for the entire month of February. Church was deferred for the four consecutive Sundays of February. Activities for the month were called off. Life in Pleasant Orchard came to a virtual halt for twenty-eight straight days (twenty-nine days, in fact, every fourth year). Neighborhood watch units were orgainzed, and priesthood patrols roamed the moonlit streets of Pleasant Orchard.

While vigilance can deter the most heinous of criminal activity, eventually, as the crime waned and as the years passed since the last disappearance of a young female, people let down their guard. First the people of Pleasant Orchard resumed February church services. Next to make their way back into existence were February activities. Finally, over the loud protests of the children and adolescents of Pleasant Orchard, school was reinstituted. All was well initially. Nothing was amiss. Then a twenty-one-year-old kindergarten teacher disappeared at 4:51 on Valentine's Day somewhere between her classroom and the school parking lot.

The great minds of Pleasant Orchard came together to solve this problem. Daniel Kretchmer had to be stopped, but how? The lead police detective suggested setting up a sting operation. A GPS-loaded mannequin dressed in a Girl Scout uniform with a CTR ring was posed in a school parking lot abutting a national forest, where Kretchmer was thought to maintain a hideout and lookout post. Whether he wasn't there or was too smart to take the bait (though anyone who had actually known Daniel Kretchmer doubted there was anything he was too smart for), the sting operation failed.

Lynch mob mentality was beginning to overtake the once calm atmosphere of Pleasant Orchard. The Melchizidek priesthood held a special weekday meeting where they planned to converge on the forests to the north and east of the city and, if necessary, smoke out this sex pervert Daniel Kretchmer once and for all. Operation Smokeout brought all manner of male humanity from the woodwork of Pleasant Orchard. Unfortunately, this included Craig Thurson, a known pyromaniac who now had an excuse for his pyrotechnics. The fire soon got out of hand. Fourteen homes and roughly one-thousand-three-hundred trees later, the good men of Pleasant Orchard were no closer to finding the elusive Daniel Kretchmer. Cooler heads needed to prevail.

School Psychologist J. Spencer Cannon created a psychological profile of Daniel Kretchmer. Kretchmer was, as profiled by Psychologist Cannon basically a composite of Jeffrey Dahmer, Lee Harvey Oswald, The Zodiac Killer, Brian David Mitchell, and Elvis Presley rolled into one. A composite sketch was drawn and posted at all schools, churches, and at the post office.

Meanwhile, the young females of Pleasant Orchard grew tired of waiting for the town's leadership to solve the problem. Other than living in Pleasant Orchard at the times of their disappearances and being of the appropriate age and gender to be desired by Daniel Kretchmer, the victims had just one thing in common: they were all believed to be lovely, virtuous, or good report, and praiseworthy. The females of Pleasant Orchard decided that the easiest way of protecting themselves from Daniel Kretchmer or whatever evil influence lurked in the forests surrounding their paradadisiacal community would be to immediately proclaim themselves to be brazen hussies and absolute sluts. In truth, nothing really changed. Some girls were brazen hussies and sluts and some were not, just as before. The perception, however, was all that mattered.


  1. This is bullshit. Pleasant Orchard? Really funny stuff!/NOT!! I suppose your calling my sister a slut.

  2. That's an interesting story. Well told. (You really should look at doing a script writing course at college.)

    It contains several themes, including perception, problems with identification of the self and of group think.

    Anon did not like it, so that's a bonus.

  3. Thanks, Matt. I really wasn't pleased with the outcome. it seemed too stilted and too juvenile for my liking. I posted it anyway because it's commemorating something that happened in real life (I'll share the REAL story sometime), so I wanted to get it down on paper, but I'm not happy with the effort.

  4. Anon's dislike was a consolation to me, I must admit.

  5. It seemed... no. Not stilted. There was almost a journal-like quality about it, which almost had it heading off into the territory of hand held camera and the like!

  6. I like that, Matt. I'll go with it. That's the image I was trying to project: a hand-held camera.