"When are you gonna write that book?" It's a question I'm asked with increasing frequency and one I still have no satisfying answer for. Truthbetold, I'm writing that book every other time I log in to this humble site, for "Viewfinder Blues" will be a collection of my worthiest short stories - whether an honest-to-God publisher gets involved or I end up scribbling it all out on a stack of bourbon-soaked cocktail napkins. So here's your warning: I'm self-publishing a collection my favorites with plans to pimp it profusely here and elsewhere. Look for it.
Aside from my long-delayed anthology , there are far more fictive elements roiling around my now four decade old brain. I've got a few storylines in mind, but until they rise above the level of your average made-for-TV shlock, I'm keeping them to myself. Characters, I'm far more willing to share - for every flawed persona residing in my head (and notebook collection) are based on real people - mostly the surreal cast of kooks that populated my formulative years behind the lens. You know, back before I decided that most of the charlatans clamoring for my camera's attention were in fact, a complete waste of flesh. But enough of my bitterness, let's meet the players!
First up is Oz: A former news shooter from back in the day who worked at every station in town until a botched pot-dealing sting left him on the wrong side of the lens. These days you'll find him driving a dilapidated ice cream truck of sorts. Instead of pedaling soft-serve to the kiddie set, he works the construction sites, selling biscuits, cigarettes and God knows what else to any hard-hat or goth kids who'll approach his rig. But when spot news strikes and the TV vehicles gather by calamity's edge, Oz makes a beeline for said sat-truck encampment and soaks up the glory of deadlines past, while hawking his wares to anyone in need. Hey, a burn-out's gotta eat.
Next is Maurice: Derided by some as a simple ghetto-preacher, this crunked-up evangelist is so much more. When not whipping his inner city pack of church ladies into a religious and weirdly lustful frenzy, Maurice cruises the hood in any number of sleek new sedans a man of his means couldn't possibly afford. Sure, the slum-lording helps pay for the day-glo suits and blinged-out cellphones, but Maurice has a curious habit for a man of the cloth so obviously shady: He loves to be on the evening news - whether condemning the plight of local criminals from his pulpit - or bathed in the glow of crime-scene close-up, doling out sticky details over the freshly dead.
Last but not least is Lloyd: A former deputy who's managed to fail upward, this marble-mouthed hillbilly actually got himself elected sheriff by appealing to a backwater constituency with race-baited talk of no-nonsense law enforcement. Now in office, he delivers on that promise - no matter what he's got to do along the way. A greasy good ole boy backed up by a gang of inbred deputies, Lloyd's got an awful hankerin' for a certain local news bunny. That puts him on TV far more often than he probably should - but who can resist when the object of his lust comes a callin' with that shaggy cameraman in tow?
Clichéd? Hackneyed? Predictable? Check, check, chiggety-checked. But these three dudes do exist, in my memory and now in my imagination. Whatsmore, they all three share a common past - a sketchy history they never thought would come back to haunt them, until a sliver of success splashed their gnarly little secret all over the evening news. As soon as I figure out what exactly that secret is, I'm gonna write it all down. For now however, I think I'll look for an old mullet picture to post...