Thursday, April 19, 2012
Every once in a while this private dick is saved from a fate worse than death — a bad plot — through no doings of his own, and I’m happy to report this is one of those instances where common sense and second thoughts have pulled my proverbial chestnuts from the fire.
That’s not always the case with us fictional characters. Too often we’re at the will and whim of authors who patently disregard the better angels of their instincts and spit together the most absurd crock of swill likely to be found east of the Hudson River. Admittedly much of that brine comes from the cyberworld of badly edited e-Books and over-FX’d Hollywood cinema, but being a character in an overwrought and empty tale is akin to being a deckhand on the Titanic. You know the sucker’s going down and there’s not a damned thing you can do but go down with it.
So I’m pleased to report that author dearest has come to his senses and saved me from a stillborn story line; it’s just taken him a bit longer than usual to determine which end is up. The last several months have been brutal. First he sends me to sip syrupy drinks under the palm trees of a resort on the Gulf Coast of Mexico waiting for an improbable case to enshroud me and then he scuttles the first half of the story and abruptly yanks me back to New York to pick up the pieces. Not surprisingly for him, however, he then promptly proceeds to lose both himself and yours truly in our home town as he clings to the idea of using the ever-deteriorating crisis south of the border and the absurdity of our so-called ‘war-on-drugs’ as some sort of subplot in my next case.
That might be a good idea if your name is Tom Clancy, but his isn’t anymore than mine is Jack Ryan. Now, I can see where it’s easy to be seduced by the bright and sparkly marketplace, but for characters like me it’s always more important to stay grounded and allow yourself room enough to become who you are. I suppose that’s easy for me to say. I don’t mind obscurity. I’m conjured up out of the ether and return there after you read the final chapter to my latest saga. I can bark all I want about the high mortgage on my brownstone, the inflation impacting my favorite single malts and how much Nicole’s freshman year in college is costing me, but we both know that’s bullshit because it’s all make believe—like everything else about me. Author dearest, however, does suffer from corporeal existence in a so-called ‘real world’ that’s becoming more and more absurd all the time, so every now and again I turn a blind private eye to this penchant for interjecting commerce into this mutual venture of ours. Then too, I think I’ve mentioned that he harbors visions of artistic grandeur on occasion, and that sometimes leads him places neither he nor I should tread.
Fortunately, the guy who writes me isn’t a complete idiot, no matter how well he acts the part at times, and he usually manages to correct his artistic missteps before they plunge us, headlong, into the abyss. Sometimes he listens to my misgivings about a project, sometimes he sees the light all by his lonesome, and sometimes he has the wisdom to listen to the good counsel of others. In this particular instance it took all three, especially the latter, to make him see the error of his ways.
Whatever works is my motto! And so the fix is in. I just stepped out of the lab author dearest calls his studio, where he stitches me and my cases together like Frankenstein did his monster, to grab a cigarette and spread the news, Colin Clive like, that “I’m alive!” We’ll see just where that gets me when I go back inside.