Explosive Ideas in My Head

This quote from Dorothy Parker rings true with me:

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

Another, one for which I feel a particular fondness this morning, is this:

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

Oh, yes, I have an especially strong affinity for the latter this morning.

An idea for a story/book/novel/script has been rattling around in my head of late and I can’t seem to get it out. Here it is:

A woman (I have named her Estella Garcia) awakes early one summer morning in Laredo, Texas, drenched in sweat from the sweltering heat. It’s a weekend and she is anxious to get up, despite the hour, because her son (I’ve named him Ernesto Garcia), who lives in New York, always calls her early on Saturday morning.

Her son has only been in New York for a few months, but he is doing better than she had expected; he has a job, he has an apartment, and his future looks promising.

I’ve written enough to know how the morning’s phone call begins: “Buenos dias, mijito! How’s my favorite boy?”

During the call, after Ernesto explains that he’s about to get a performance review and, perhaps, a promotion, the phone goes dead in mid-sentence. He tries to call back several times, but gets a pre-recorded message saying the number he dialed is not in service. Finally, he gives up, assuming something has happened to the phone lines between New York and Laredo. And he’s right; something has happened.

A cataclysmic nuclear blast destroyed Laredo and Nuevo Laredo in the midst of the phone call. A huge number of the 240,000 inhabitants of Laredo and the 375,000 residents of Nuevo Laredo were killed instantly.

Ernesto learns of the horror as he watched news of the event unfold on television. For the first few hours, the news media and governmental authorities are in a state of confusion about what happened. There had been no threats, no internet chatter, no suggestion of any kind that an attack had been planned. Instantly, there is speculation as to who might have done it. Radical Islamic terrorists; Russia; Iran; North Korea.

None of them is involved, at least not directly. I know who did it, and how, but I’m not telling. At least not yet.

Ernesto is determined to find out why his mother and so many others died in such a horrific way.  He is changed through his efforts to uncover the truth. He learns that the ruthlessness of those responsible for the horror has no bounds, nor does his own.

I have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of books in me. I have to find a way to get them out, to get them written and finished, so I can love having written.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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