Mark needed to talk to someone who had actually seen a little green man. He went back out into the living room, opened the drawer to his little end table and pulled out the Morgan County phone book. He looked up Bill McCracken’s phone number. There was a slight problem: there were about 100 McCrackens in the county with listed numbers. Luckily for Mark, only three of them had the first name “William.” He dialed the first number. It was answered on the second ring.
“Hello? Is this the Bill McCracken residence?” Mark asked.
“Yes, who is this,” the person asked.
“My name is Mark Wood and I work for the Spotlight,” Mark said. “I’m calling about a report on the radio station about a big sinkhole out your way.”
“Oh, that was my son’s place. I’m Bill Senior, Mr. Wood,” he said. “Yeah, he’s jist across the road out here. I’ll tell ya, it was the damndist thing I ever seen. I was over there getting’ his copy of the Spotlight — ya know, I’m retired and I cain’t afford that $40 y’all want every year fer the paper — and we were jist out there talking ‘bout his family bein’ gone down in Florida an’ ya know how bad the corn was this year? Well, it was bad and we was jist talkin’ how everybody out here to Monrovia and Hall is doin’…
Mark was in Hell. “Why can’t this old man tell me what I want to know?” he thought to himself.
The senior McCracken just kept going. “…then all the sudden, the ground starts shakin’. Well, I don’t know where yer from, Mr. Wood, but the ground don’t shake ‘round here. I’m 75 and I kin remember maybe one little-bitty earthquake in my whole life. Now, if this was California, well then I could see it, but not ‘round here...
Sunday, May 3, 2009
A glimpse into my muse
I've been working on one of my old literary classics, Black Helicopters, recently. Part of it deals with how much it sucks to be a young reporter working for a crappy paper owned by cheapskates. The young reporter in this story, Mark Wood (my dad's brother Mark attended Wood High School in the late 70s -- also the first and last names are monosyllabic and easy to remember), hasn't yet learned how to get older interview subjects to get to the point: