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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Writer's Life 6/14 - Borrowing from Life

Here's an excerpt from a novel, Present and Past, I plan to self-publish in January 2018. I borrowed the particular event from a golf buddy/softball teammate who related it one night after a game. I've put so many real life incidents into my work. I'm sure most writers do. After all, truth is often stranger than fiction. The novel is about two lifelong friends in their late 30's on a cross-country car trek. It takes place in the 80's. One of the themes is how the past is always there, present in memory instantaneously:

"Ever been to Vegas?" said Freddie.
Tony rolled his eyes heavenward, as if the question were inane. "I dunno know how many times."
"What's it like?"
"Great, way better than A.C.. The weather's always nice, and they got the hottest hookers you ever seen in your life, all of 'em as hot as those two in Chicago. I ever tell you 'bout the time we met Dean Martin, me and Andy Giuliano?"
Freddie turned toward him. "I don't think so." He remembered it, but chose not to admit it, sensing it was precisely what Tony needed to be pulled from the doldrums. In fact, he was surprised Tony, who seemed to remember everything, had forgotten he'd told him.
"This's goin' back fourteen, fifteen years. It's a great story. You musta been at school when it happened."
"And you never answered any of my letters, so you probably forgot about it by the time I came home for the summer."
Tony's face soured. "Again with that? Leave me alone already. What’d you need letters for, anyway? You had all those degenerate girls to keep you company. And when you came home for summer you always went right to work and played ball at night, so I hardly saw you anyway."
"So how'd you meet Dino?"
He shifted in his seat, making himself comfortable. "We were leavin' the casino one night, me and Andy, both of us ripped atta our faces. Andy was worse off than me. He started crossin' the street against the light. I yelled at 'im to stop and he told me to go to hell. Meanwhile he's staggerin' along and this limo stops short and taps him on the leg with its bumper." He slapped lightly at Freddie's thigh in illustration. "And he falls down. The wind woulda knocked ‘im over in the condition he was in. Any way, he gets up cursin' -- you know the way he gets when he's drunk -- and the chauffeur comes runnin' over to see if he's okay. Andy pushes ‘im atta the way and charges up to the limo to curse out the bigshot inside, and whatta you know -- it's Andy's idol. He starts yellin':  'Hey, Dino! Dino' and hoppin' aroun' all excited like a little kid. He musta said 'Dino! ' a hundred times. Anyway, Dino gets atta the car and says:  'You okay, kid? C'mon, we'll take you to the hospital.' You could see he was really nervous, even though it wasn't his fault. Andy tells 'im: 'Nah, I'm awright.' And they went on for five minutes with Dino tryin' to get 'im to go to the hospital and Andy tellin 'im he's all right. Finally Dino gives up and gives Andy a pass to the hotel he's playin' at. Andy says thanks and Dino leaves, and we don't think twice about it 'cept we can stay in Vegas an extra night. Turns out when we go to the hotel we find out the pass's good for a life time. We couldn't believe it. Now that's bein' generous, not like that clown ballplayer." (Earlier Fred told Tony about Bucky Dent giving tickets to two teenage girls wearing his Yankees' jersey. This too was borrowed. from another friend.)
"I'm sure it didn't come out of his own pocket."
"So what? He didn't hafta do it. Andy’s the kinda mope who woulda been happy the rest of his life just to tell people he got hit by Dean Martin's limo."
"He was grateful you guys didn't try to fleece him."
"Andy said he couldn't do that to a paisan. I'd'a stayed down no matter who it was. What’s a million to a guy like that? It’s like a hundred to us. Andy said he'd'a sued if it'd been one’a those Judotz comedians. We used that pass every time we went down there. It was good for room service too. What a score! Then they had some phony fire and all their records got burned. We couldn't complain, though. We got six, seven good years atta the thing."

No luck selling books on the street on this picture perfect day. It wasn't even hot standing in the sun. My thanks to the woman who gave me a CD of her husband's band, Western Caravan, which plays retro country. Her mate does the singing. Thanks also to Herbie, who donated yet another paperback thriller.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:


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