Years ago, I clipped a short article from the Boston Globe (?) or maybe AOL's news about an airline that put it's passengers up for the night in a crack house. Like most writers, I have an "idea" file.
Comes the time to write the short story. I found the clipping, and promptly lost it. Googled around and the story was gone, baby, gone.
I noodled around for a while and combined the airline's faux pas with a motel we stayed at in Oakland a few years back en route to Burning Man. Very scary place.
Characters? I thought about an old couple in this predicament, and settled instead on a young couple, just returning from his grandpa's funeral in Kansas. I always go back to Kansas, like some homing pigeon.
Writing the story I found another character, a pimp, since I already had his whore. And the crack house.
Do you have any idea how little a suburban housewife knows about these things? I mean, our idea of living dangerously is to go into Boston without dinner reservations.
Amazing what you can find on the Internet. Pimp walk, pimp culture, pimp clothes. I worked at a place once that had a relationship to a clothing outfit that catered to hip hop, so I thought maybe the pimp would wear something from them. He did. I started to like him. I liked everyone in the story. The young man is a help desk technician because I can never get very far away from technology. Or Kansas. In the blood is in the blood.
The story is coming out in a few weeks in the Level Best Anthology, Quarry. The name of the story is "Bad Trip." That was a no brainer, and of course it operates on a couple levels. I hope some of my readers will seek out a copy, because I'm in terrific company. Hank Philippi Ryan, Mike Wiecek, Vinnie O'Neil, Kate Flora and others. The Level Best anthologies are the best. And here's a little hint.
Short stories make wonderful treadmill reading. You get so caught up you don't even realize you're exercising. And one or two will get you through a whole routine. I get bored out of my mind of the treadmill, and reading short stories is a great solution.