I needed to find an unusual method that I could use to kill off one of the guys in my novel. Note: Novel = fiction—let’s be clear about that. I’m harmless. I’ve never been either violent or deranged, and the only reason I’ve been fingerprinted is because it’s required for those who work in public schools, which I did for 30 years.

So anyway, there I was, minding my own business, when one of my friends on Facebook mentioned that a letter sent to President Obama initially tested positive for a poison I’d never heard of.

Being of a curious nature, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I immediately googled the name of that poison. It scared me silly when I found out that only a minute amount, whether ingested, injected, or inhaled, can be deadly. However, it sounded like it could be a viable way to murder this guy in my novel.

But I needed more information before I could put it into the book. Where does this particular poison come from? How is it “made?” Who can get such a poison? I mean, it can’t just be ordered online, can it?

I was about five keystrokes away from checking out that last question when I realized that “Big Brother” (No, not Mark Zuckerberg, the other Big Brother) might be flagging such inquiries for further investigation. That’s why I’m not even mentioning the specific name of the poison here. Why unnecessarily set off any bells and buzzers?

Now I would never, ever, do anything that would hurt another human being, particularly not my beloved President. Nor am I affiliated with any organizations who would ever practice any questionable behaviors. (Seriously, we Presbyterians are pretty tame.)

But what if someone thought I was somehow dangerous? How would I defend myself? Would “I’m writing a mystery novel” hold up in court?

These questions are intriguing, and certainly interest-catching, and it makes me wonder if a novel with that premise might be a good story to tackle next.

But not until I have my phone checked for wiretaps.