Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Want to be a Dentist...Not!

Gabriella Herkert, Catnapped and Doggone

Why do I write mysteries? People actually agree to ride in my trunk. I kid you not. You can tell a complete stranger that you are “researching” your next mystery and need a little help in describing the exact sounds a body makes as it rolls around in the trunk of your car and they will be all too pleased to be “victimized.” No head bashing, knock-out dropping or jujitsu chopping necessary. A simple please and thank you and pretty soon you’re doing wheelies in the Safeway parking lot with a kerthump-kerthump that has absolutely nothing to do with the need for an auto repair. You can’t do this if you’re an accountant.

You can do the most bizarre things in public and be neither embarrassed nor arrested. Once, I was lying on the ground in Pioneer Square when a couple of tourists came over to offer assistance. A local homeless man, having seen me re-enact this conversion from dead body to screaming meemie protagonist politely informed the couple to stop disturbing me as I was clearly working. If a computer programmer tries this, you can be sure he’ll need the number of a good bail bondsman.

You can scare the bejeesus out of six-foot, four inch muscle builders in dark stairwells at no-tell motels while rehearsing a chase scene which in your mind is a frightened woman fleeing from a knife wielding assailant. The fact that the chaser is really a five-four, one hundred and twenty pound best friend using an inflatable soccer rah-rah balloon as a weapon is irrelevant. The bystander will abandon the obvious advantage and press his back firmly to the wall with a look of horror. You can script a great scene and finally understand the Kitty Genovese neighbors in less than two minutes. If an engineer tried this, he’d be walked out of his place of employment.

Clearly, the vast power placed in the hands of a mystery writer must only be used for good. You should not accidentally drop a friend from a second story window into the bushes below searching for secondary escape routes. You should not rig a high-strung soccer teammate’s car with a Christmas crackle in a neighborhood where gunfire is a fact of life. And do not, under any circumstances, send letters coated with dye that interacts upon contact with skin to turn the receiver’s hands blue. Yes, it will tell you if your poison technique has merit but it’s really tough for your victim to go through a week as a smurf.

Why am I a mystery writer? You’re kidding, right?



Kim Maeda said...

Hey, when do I get a turn in the trunk?

Gabi said...

Trunk riding is available at a moment's notice. No waiting!

Kelli Stanley said...

LOL ... Gabi, that's a wonderful post! Thanks for making me laugh on a Sunday morning. :)

One question: can your fellow CMs rent your friends for further authorial experiments?? ;)


Kim Maeda said...

Gabi -- we may be friends honey, but you gotta check with me before you rent me out . . . unless it involves soaping up a God-like male (human, please) in the shower.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Kim, some jobs a writer can't delegate. :)

Fun post, Gabi! I clearly lack your persuasive skills as I've never managed to entice anyone into my trunk. A new goal. Hmmm...