I’ve been collecting local stories in case I need colorful fillers in my new haven’t-yet-written-a-single-word novel, though to be honest, I have my doubts about some of the stories.
For example, right before I got here, a fellow was killed in a cottage across the alley. (Around here, a cottage is a house built onto the back of a garage.) Supposedly, they were drug users who got in an argument. Or maybe they were drug dealers. Or maybe they were narcs scoping out the drug situation in this neighborhood. In support of the third possibility, one neighbor told me that the dead guy was seen around the courthouse in a nearby city. In opposition, if they were DEA agents, they weren’t very good ones because another neighbor (who has since moved away. Yay!) was the local purveyor of illegal substances, and they never caught him. Though I suppose it’s possible they were looking for his supplier. The general belief, however, is that they were drug users who had a falling out.
Another interesting story is that a while back, many years before I got here, someone a few blocks away decided to put in a frog pond. He created the pond, then ordered a thousand frogs. Those frogs turned out to be toads who prefer a damp shady environment rather than a wet one, so they disappeared during the night. The toads I see are supposedly descendants of the mail order toads. It’s a cute story, but such a tale is not necessary to account for all the toads around here. After all, there are rivers and irrigation ditches, which could also be a source for the toads. When I lived on the western slope of Colorado, in a rural plains area similar to this (though surrounded by hills and mountains rather than the flatlands we have here), there were also toads. There seem to be seasons for toads because I remember one year when the baby toads were as plentiful and as fidgety as the grasshoppers.
There are other stories, such as the family who had fourteen kids, the fellow who won’t let anyone in his house because he doesn’t want anyone to see that he is a hoarder, the lady who lets all her dogs get killed, the dispatcher at the sheriff’s department who was married to the local drug dealer, the ex-soldier who was so “ex” there is no record of his being in the service. (His story is spooky, reminiscent of my novel More Deaths Than One). As everywhere, there are gossips and godly people (sometimes one and the same), courteous folk and curmudgeons, those who have lived here for generations and those who are elbowing their way into the power structure (such as it is).
I don’t know what I will do with all the stories I am collecting. I don’t even know if I can use any of them because I wouldn’t want people to think I was writing about them, even if I were. And even if I weren’t. (People often see themselves in a character even though I didn’t put them there.)
Some people would like to be in my book. In fact, the wife of the ex-soldier would like me to tell her husband’s story, but I don’t want to do another mind control novel. Though come to think of it, much of the latter part of that story is similar to stories of people who have been alien-abducted, which could be a way of introducing the story, and then only later letting it be known that our own government was the abductor. Still, it’s too tragic a story for me to want to tackle. I’d prefer a more lighthearted story I wouldn’t mind living since an author does live his or her story for however long it takes to write it.
But none of this matters at the moment since I’m just in the collecting phase of my new haven’t-yet-written-a-single-word novel. Once I’ve collected a critical mass of information, then perhaps the story will explode out of me, and I’ll finally rack up another novel.
What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?
A fun book for not-so-fun times.
Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.