Free Extreme Fiction


    I drew the spine of this chapter, that whole business about the crack house in the basement, from a fantasy I used to have while walking to work. (I don't drive. I never really have.) I have a Messiah Complex, I'm certain that's obvious by now, and this particular fantasy involved walking past this house surrounded by police cars.
    "What seems to be the problem, Officer?" I'd ask.
    "A man's kidnapped his own family and is holding them in his home at gunpoint! He's crazy!"
    This calls for a cool head, I'd think, and then I'd find someway to sneak past the cops to get into the house to confront the hostage-taker myself. I'd calm him down, get him to put down his weapon, then turn himself over to the authorities.
    "God bless you!" the victims would exclaim. "Whatever can we do to repay you?"
    "Nothing. Just let me leave out the back way so I don't have to talk to the police. I'm late for work as it is."
    You know, something like that.
    This chapter developed from that fantasy.
    The character of Timmy is based on a real person. When I first wrote and rewrote this chapter, I remember thinking, "I need Timmy to be this character. I need Timmy to travel with Jimmy through this part of the narrative." Timmy became a good friend of mine at a time when I desperately needed a good friend. She's read the parts of Cold-Blooded World that involves her character, and she sent me a note telling me she loved it, or words to that effect. (And, of course,Timmy is not her real name.) Friends. Just out of high school, and you've got a million of 'em. Everyone's your friend. As you get older, though, that list starts to winnow down, and, especially if you're a bit of a personal recluse like me, by the time you hit your fifties, well, you still like a lot of the friends you already have, and you still entertain the idea that someday you might find someone you like well enough to call a friend because having a friend is such a satisfying aspect of life, but...uh...really...after so many're not looking for pals so much anymore as you're looking for kindred spirits, people whose overall world view you more or less share, people whose sense of humor you share, people who are on your wavelength,  people whose...but, you know, it goes even deeper than that. It's like, with kindred spirits, you're both fellow descendants of some ancient tribe or something. It's like you touch souls.
    That's what Timmy was for me. She was a kindred spirit, even as Jimmy and Timmy are kindred spirits in the novel.
    Eventually, Timmy moved out of town, and I haven't really had much contact with her over the last decade or so. My life's so different now. These days, if I'm not at work saying hi-and-how-are-you to roughly two hundred people a day, (and I love my job. I do), then I'm with my wife either reading or writing or watching movies on TV or walking around Green Lake. That's it. That's my life. Again, I'm pushing sixty-years-old. Things change. 
    Still, I'd love to see her again, see Timmy, spend an afternoon with her over lunch or an evening with her gabbing on the phone, make that kindred spirit connection once again. Unfortunately, in spite of the sort of imagination that could come up with the silly and childish fantasy I started this page out with, I can't, these days, in reality, imagine a circumstance where that could possibly happen.