As Heard in the Swimming Pool

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Before I started writing mysteries I would often wonder where the authors found their inspiration.  I’m finding out that it comes from everywhere.

We go to the pool every Sunday and Thursday morning during adult swim.  The pool isn’t crowded and I can get some good exercise.  Today’s inspiration came from a woman at the local swimming pool.  Normally I avoid this woman because she suffers from verbal diarrhea.  She never stops talking.  Never, ever stops.  She has something to say about everything.  People will do anything to avoid her.  If you could watch the pool it would look like a National Geographic special where all the schools of smaller fish scatter when the shark comes into the vicinity.

This woman will latch on to the closest person and just keep talking, switching off to the next unwitting victim only when the first one fakes drowning or appendicitis or something.  I like to keep in constant motion and have my bright orange ear plugs in plain sight.  If she ever grabs me I can point to my ears and mime that I can’t hear her.  So far that strategy has worked for me.

So she is a great exercise coach, keeping people in constant motion.  She’s also good at generating story lines, I found out today.  I was doing my running in the pool, which is not to be confused with walking on water, by the way.   I run as fast as I can in deep water.  The water resistance gives my legs a good workout.  As I’m running up and down the pool, I catch bits and pieces of her conversation.  She’s blessed with a strong, booming voice, making it all the better to hear her with.

“Why would somebody go the Dust Bowl during the dust bowl to look for work?”

In my head I’m hearing a wonderful way to tell a character’s story.  He could be the grandson (a) of the best salesperson in the world who could sell dust in a dust storm or (b) of the crazy stupid person who can’t find his way out of a paper bag.  Maybe I’ll do an historical novel set in the era, a very Steinbeckian “Grapes of Wrath” kind of thing.

Next lap.

“Animals always find ways to stay alive.”

Wouldn’t that make a great opening paragraph?   “Animals always find ways to stay alive.  Unfortunately  Jake O’Loughlin  didn’t find his in time”.

Next lap.

“People walking around with their little plastic bags but they don’t do anything with them unless someone is looking at them, then they put something in them.”

What is that about, a reverse drug buy?  People walking around with little plastic bags.  Hey, I could do sci fi.  Zombie people walking around with little plastic bags of something disgusting.  But what would they put in them?

I had to kind of tread water nearby to figure out where this one was heading.

“Otherwise they leave the turds on the ground.”

Ah, a diatribe against dog owners who only used their little doo-doo bags when people were noticing the squat.  Hey, there’s a reason for murder.  The pooch poop wars.  Battling neighbors who can’t control their canines finally come to blows.   Revenge turns ruthless when Bill gets a load of buckshot where it will do the most good.

Next lap.

“And it turns out they were serving cat in the restaurant.  They had it on the menu under some other language, but that’s what it was.”

Restaurant wars.  Cool.  The chef saves money by using the neighborhood kitty in the stew.  Disgusting.  I love my cats too much for that.  Change cats to rats.  That’s better.  The chef is resentful of the rich people who strut their wealth and dare to judge his creations.  He decides on a little revenge by fooling them into eating something that they would normally find disgusting.  Only one of the customers dies by rat poisoning because the restaurant owner didn’t know what his chef was doing and set out some poison bait that was eaten by a rat that the chef turned into stew.  The restaurant is closed, the owner loses all his money and then kills the chef in revenge.

By this time my legs were getting tired and I suspect my brain was getting a little water logged.  Or just overworked from trying to remember all these great sound bites.

Do you think they’d notice if I swam around with a diver’s waterproof tablet?  Does anyone make a waterproof tape recorder?

Inspiration is everywhere.


~~  Only 18 days until NaNoWriMo begins!  ~~

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    Absolutely fabulous, hilarious and awesome!! We did have quite the conversations as you took your laps around the pool.

  2. Karmen says:

    One day soon we’ll see a movie around your script. “One for the Money” is coming soon, can’t wait.

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