True Stories

I’m going through a patch of writer’s block. Nothing I write seems to be interesting (including this post, no doubt). I have fifty pages that I like and I know where I want to go; I just can’t seem to write the bridge to take me across the literary chasm. My characters have grown impatient and restless and have started to move off to other pursuits.

So to help me I listened last week to Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I recommend it to all wannabe writers. One of the things he talks about is his near death experience when in 1999 a reckless driver struck him while he walked along the right shoulder of Route 5 in Maine. On 19 June 1999, Brian Smith hit Stephen King with his van because Smith was distracted by his rotweiller nosing into a cooler filled with meat. You can’t make this stuff up.

I’ve thought about writing a scenario for my protagonist where he has to do some undercover work. Some reviewers on have told me that a forester carrying a gun sounds far-fetched. California State Park Rangers started carrying guns about 30 years ago (if memory serves). I had one issued to me for about that long. If you wear a uniform and have to enforce laws in remote places where people are and dope is grown or cooked. … Well, let’s just say it goes with the territory.

Still, I don’t think I could write an undercover scenario as odd as Takin’ Bacon that Lee Lofland wrote on the Lipstick Chronicles.

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Hey Taxi!

Harry’s taking the morning off. So here’s another of my writing yoga. I’ve cleaned up the spelling errors and a bit of the punctuation.

Blindbaby Lemon Butterbean pulled his rusting Checker cab onto the curb. Two tires bounced off and he brought the tub to a halt when his dog Butterball barked, which meant stop. He’d gotten Butterball from the pound in Queens for $30.

Blindbaby Lemon Butterbean had a thing about butter. He loved butter on everything. He used it for lubing his cab. The cab ran on rendered butter.

The 1973 Checker throbbed with anticipation as his fare got into the backseat of the cab. Butterbean hit the fare thingie and the meter started at 5 bucks and counting.

“Where to?” Butter bean asked.

“To the airport.” said his client.

Butterbean pushed the GPS navigation system on. “Which one he said.”

“La Guardia”

“La Guardia, huh?” He said La Guardia louder than huh to set the navigational system.

“Turn around, you are going the wrong way,” cooed the GPS in a sultry woman’s voice.

Butterbean loved the technology that gave him the freedom to do what he loved doing—driving. Butterball told him when to stop and when to go by barking—one bark to stop and another bark to go. Butterball also had inflection and tone in his bark that let Butterbean know how urgent the need was to go or usually stop.

Once Butterball went nuts about another dog and Butterball caused $100,000 damage. Now Butterbean had to work harder to pay off that debt.

Butterball barked once. The immense cab lurched off the curb and bounced. Butterbean turned the wheel hard to the left and kept turning until the wheel would not turn any longer. Horns blared from drivers that dodged to get out of the way.

“Get out of the way a**h*les [editor’s note: can’t have swearing now can we?]! Can’t you see I’m blind? Look at the license plates for chrissakes,” Butterbean yelled out the window.

Other drivers yelled back. Butterbean rolled up the window with the squeaky crank.

“You’re blind?” shrieked the woman in the back. “Let me out of this thing.”

“Hey don’t I know you? Your voice is familiar.”

Blindbaby Lemon Butterbean heard pounding from the rear dusty part of his cab.

“I used to be somebody before I got into this deathtrap,” she screamed. “Let me out of here!”

The pounding increased in intensity.

“There aren’t any door handles back here.”

“That’s for your own safety. Too many people threw themselves out of the cab while it was moving.”

“I shouldn’t wonder at that. I can’t roll down my window.”

“Same reason,” Butterbean said.

Butterball woofed his agreement. Either that or he meant stop. The cab bumped into something.

“Hey you idiot watch where you’re going!”

“Bite me,” yelled Blind Lemon Butterbean out through his open window. “Can’t you see the white cane on the front bumper? Are you blind too?”

Butterbean pulled his head back in the cab and leaned toward his passenger. “They’re always throwing obstacles in front of the handicapped. I tell you it’s discrimination. That’s what it is.”

“Woof.” Agreed Butterball.

Butterbean lightly goosed the gas.


“Woof,” woofed Butterball.

The cab stopped.

“A little late on that one, furball.”

“That’s it, Mac. I’m calling the cops,” yelled the driver of the whatever Butterbean had bumped into.

“Like they’re going to get through this traffic.”

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