"Hey boy...is your bride in bed?"
What a strange question, I thought as I stared at dim blue light creeping across the bedroom ceiling. Beside me the woman in question shifted under a twisted knot of covers and cat. Through the phone, I could hear muffled voices barking on a crackling police scanner.
"Some jackass is holdin a girl hostage at AppleBee's," my father said with that matter-of-fact tone of a first responder. "Thought for a minute it might be Shelly."
Suddenly I was up, standing on the second-hand bed's crappy mattress and almost hitting the broken ceiling fan. Below, my young wife sat up in bewilderment and the cat shot out of the room. In the distance, the voices on the distant scanner were arguing.
"Say that again." I said, dodging the fan's dead, dusty blades.
"There’s a gunman inside AppleBee‘s, with a girl from last night’s shift. Turn on your TV, boy and call me back." CLICK.
And thus begins my adventure behind the lens. A cinematic tale of a chilly morning in 1993, 'The Applebee's Incident' has served me well at cocktail parties and camera clusters. But proper documentation of my very first news story continues to elude me. That bites, as it's the opening scene in the book I'm still not writing. 'All I gotta do is overhaul this opus and the rest of my short stories fall in order', I tell my project coach and myself. We both know it won't be that easy, but it's evident I have to work through this long, complicated, conflicted tale before I get to the not so simple business of pruning and collation. So, why am I telling you this? I dunno - beats straining my melon trying to remember ancillary facts of my punk-ass past. Besides, a few of you out there know the incident of which I speak. One or two of you were even there beside me that day. What do you recall of March 5, 1992?