If you follow the news in Duluth, you know who Donald Bloomer is. This past summer he was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the 1980 disappearance of his girlfriend. After denying any knowledge of her whereabouts for 24 years, he now says that he accidentally shot her.
When I first heard Bloomer's name and saw his mug shot, I thought there was something familiar about him. Since his name is similar to Donald Blom, a man already convicted of murder in a high-profile case, I figured that was why I thought I'd heard of him before.
As the Bloomer case progressed, however, I saw TV news footage of him and knew immediately where I thought I had seen him before. I may never know for sure if it was really him, but it makes the story I'm about to tell a little creepier if you pretend it stars Donald Bloomer.
About four years ago I was shopping around for an inexpensive place to live. The classified ads in a local newspaper led me to a man who had an upstairs bedroom he wanted to rent. He sounded strange over the phone, but I figured I'd drive over and have a look at the place anyway.
A thin, 60ish-year-old man answered the door wearing nothing but his tighty whiteys. When I told him I was there to look at the house he made a big deal about how he totally forgot I was coming. Then he put some clothes on and showed me around the place. It was pretty normal, except for the bed in the living room, which he explained was there because he has an injury and has trouble climbing stairs.
"I don't get out much," he told me. "I have a lot of girlfriends that come here to see me though. They range in age from about 16 to 60." I thought that was a strange piece of information for him to offer without being asked.
He also told me that he would be a good resource if I had any problems because he has a book that explains "the way things really are." He took the book down from a shelf and held it up, but I couldn't see the title. Since I was eager to move along, I didn't inquire about it.
Paul Lundgren is a newspaper columnist and a very nice man. His e-mail address is paul [at] geekprom.com.