by Robert Lopresti
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to Chicago to visit our
favorite offspring. We knew it was going to be a late arrival, but it
turned out to be later than we thought, because the plane that was
supposed to become ours was delayed by a medical emergency. After the
paramedics got the person off the plane, and then everyone else
deboarded, there was more of a wait while they replaced the medical
equipment that had been used.
And as a crime writer, naturally I was wondering what happened to the
poor soul. Another story I will never know the end of. None of my
business, I know.
"Yeah I'm on the Blue Line. Meet me at Addison. I had to take the
train cause the law was circling around. I'm at Addison. I'm getting
off. Meet me here."
And off he went.
Oddly enough, my first thought was not writerly, i.e. why is he running
from the cops? It was readerly: If this was Detroit I would think I
was in an Elmore Leonard novel Boston: obviously George V. Higgins.
But who writes books from the criminal's point of view, set in
Chicago? Brian suggested
Sean Chercover, but I have not had the pleasure.
My second thought was: Maybe this was that guy's elevator story. If
you aren't familiar with the concept, watch Peter Bogdonavich retelling what happened after he interviewed Alfred Hitchcock in a hotel in New
After that, I admit I started thinking like a writer. But I felt I didn't have enough background to build a story about it. On
the other hand, my friend Andi Mahala Schechter promptly suggested he
was dropping off a ransom payment. I dunno. Felt like he more sinister than
that. My sister Joann Scanlon asked if I called the police. And told
them what, I replied.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, and I'm okay with that. Have you ever felt like you walked into a novel? By whom?