Have you ever been scared of a character?
June 4, 2016
I WAS A WRITER in search of a character.
He was as character in search of a novel.
I saw he was about the right age when he walked through the door, probably on the younger side of forty.
He was a good two inches over six feet.
His hair was dark but graying at the temples.
He would never pass for handsome.
But he had a winning smile.
His face looked as if it had lost a few barroom fights.
But that didn’t bother me.
My heroes are never handsome.
Their faces always look like two miles of bad road.
His may have gone the third mile.
“Name’s Richard,” he said.
He seemed pleasant enough.
“You running from something?” I asked.
“Aren’t we all?” he said.
I didn’t disagree.
“I’m writing a novel,” I said.
“That’s what I heard.”
“I’m looking for a hero.”
“That’s why I’m here.”
“Any experience?” I wanted to know.
It was a good, honest laugh.
“I was a detective once,” he said.
“Did you solve it?”
“I killed the man.”
“I broke his neck.”
“Did the man deserve it?”
“His wife said he did.”
“Did you get away with it?”
He laughed again.
“The wife did,” he said.
“I went to prison.”
He paused a moment and looked up into a dark, foreboding sky.
“The wife said she’d wait for me,” he said.
“She waited ‘til Monday.”
“How well did the novel sell?” I asked.
He looked at me and frowned.
“The one you were in,” I said. “The one you’re talking about.”
He shook his head.
“I’ve never been in a novel,” he said.
Richard looked bigger than he did before.
His face had become the bad side of ugly.
The scar below his right eye turned white.
There wasn’t an honest thing about it.
He walked toward the door.
“What happened to the wife?” I asked.
“They still haven’t found her.”
He walked out the door and let it shut on its own.
I was still a writer in search of a character.
He was still a character in search of a novel.
I wrote mine.
He lived his.
I didn’t like his ending.
The hero in my novel, Secrets of the Dead, isn’t handsome either. Death follows him. But he keeps it on the pages of the book.