dark alley photo

“You need sources. A writer needs many sources, otherwise the story is not authentic. You don’t have  to be a rocket scientist or Joyce to know that. And not all the sources will fall into your lap like a TV dinner, with a can of beer to go along with it. You have to go after them.
The milkman. Sure, why not. We don’t have a milkman around here anymore, but there’s everybody else. The mailman, for example. Just the other day I asked him whether bank account statements or packages get lost along the way. He personally doesn’t lose them, of course, but obviously it happens. You can take a peek inside the mail and see if someone’s stashing away piles of money, and only pretends to play it safe and modest with a seven-year-old Honda, or if someone orders dildos by mail. And, wow, there you have a frame for your story’s plot: A sexually neglected woman who either is or isn’t aware of the money on her husband’s account! When I was alone with him, I asked my barber if he ever had the urge to stab one of his customers with the razor blade because he was such a mean, insufferable prick. He didn’t say anything, but I saw it in his eyes that people like that came into his shop. Last spring my manager finally confessed to cheating on his wife. I immediately used him as fodder for my next novel and changed the names. My father-in-law remains secretive about his sister’s death in a kitchen accident, and quickly changes the subject, but I haven’t given up because the story smells of family intrigue, and they’re never disappointing. Writing is a 24 hour job.” Tim Klaponte, author of the forthcoming thriller Maniac’s Hymn

The Shortcomings of a Modern Dandy

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images
Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

There is nothing spectacular about someone tripping over himself or some other object on the sidewalk. It can happen to anybody. I can’t remember the last time it happened to me, though. I was taking a call on the other side of the street when a man, a self-assured man walked out of a small, but extravagant office building. The few moves he made, the way he glanced sideways and sized up the rush hour traffic on the avenue, revealed absolute coordination and orientation, as if he had rehearsed these moves to perfection for the screen. And then he suddenly disappeared. But not as much as he had wished. Had a car or bus been parking in front of him, I would have only seen him disappear from the waist up, thinking a dog or skateboard had rammed him. But there was nothing blocking my view. With remarkable choreography, he somehow combined an offensive lunge forward and a collapse that mimicked his execution by a well-aimed bullet. On all fours, in that split second of a cliffhanger, he made one last attempt to find his balance and regain some dignity. He instead produced a sideways somersault I had never seen before. It was accompanied by a cuss or cry of a realization that this episode cannot be undone. Four congested lanes couldn’t silence that sound. He collected his phones and sunglasses, and many other items. He tightened his lips and made unwanted remarks to passersby. Older pedestrians hurried away from him. His hair was disheveled and his suit slashed, but not in a sexy sort of way. He then looked in my direction and showed me his middle finger.

Jack Lane