A serving of truth, with a side of lies please.
Is this not fiction?
Of course there are all manner of collision between reality and fiction, and a story can emerge from nearly any life experience. And it is especially fascinating as I find myself an aspiring writer who is currently writing full time — yet is required to explain such an existence to a society with extremely practical standards.
It was a cold winter day, like many similar days before it, and I left my writing chair to run some errands through the snow to integrate among normal humans. An early afternoon journey to the bank kicked off a list of seemingly innocuous chores, when my identity was questioned.
In retrospect, I understand why. A late 40’s male, unattended in the middle of a weekday, sans work boots or a briefcase clearly looks suspicious. It was well beyond the standard lunch hour, and people needed to figure out just what it was I was up to.
The bank teller asked with accusing eyes, “Did you get off work early today?”
“Oh, me, I work from home, I was just taking a break,” I answered.
“Really? What kind of work do you from your home?” her eyes narrowed.
“I’m a writer,” I said meekly.
“A writer, eh. Anything you have written that I might of read?” she said, and then she signaled to some people behind the bank counter.
“Not really, unless you were a loyal newspaper reader in Wyoming,” I answered, but my voice broke as if I was fourteen-years old again.
“Well, we don’t believe you,” said a man with a heavy German accent, wearing a grey uniform, a black hat and holding a completely unnecessary riding crop tucked under his arm. “No man runs around merely writing in ze middle of the day. Vhere are your papers?”
Damn. I didn’t have any identification papers. My cover was blown, but I’m a creator of fiction, so I improvised. Two more guards appeared behind me, so I did a shoulder roll, tripped the men behind me, grabbed a weapon, jumped to my feet and prepared to blast my way back to freedom.
The bank teller’s droning voice shattered my daydream, I shook my head and my focus returned me to similar bank surroundings. She repeatedly asked if there was anything else I needed today.
“No, thank you,” I replied. “You’ve done quite enough already.”
In truth, it was a bit awkward, and I may well get a number of questions exactly like her query until someone can read something more recent and entertaining than my old journalism days. All that, and it was funny to imagine the simple scenario blossom into a noir history set piece story, complete with bad accents.
It is all part of the joy now as nearly any dialogue I hear in public becomes fair game to be included in anything I am working on or a completely new idea for something else. Every chore can become an adventure, and each aisle in the grocery store can evolve into a nightmare. Well, that happens anyway. The grocery store really is a nightmare at this point in life.
So, go ahead, ask me what I’m up to, just understand there may by some embellishment on the side.