His name was Nick Fuller. The first time I saw him, he was sitting on the last bar stool against the wall, taking turns sipping from the beer can in his right hand and taking a drag from the cigarette in his left. He looked out of place somehow but in my mind, he was not interesting enough to study any further. He was just some old guy.
The Bar was a hangout for the local, mostly college kids, who came there for hook-ups, drunken debates or to just indulge in youthful drinking and bullshit.
I was waiting for a relatively new-found friend, named David Richardson. He was what I would call a likable fellow and had a best friend, who was just as likable. I met his friend once when he stopped to see David on his way through town.
They loved to introduce themselves to new acquaintances and then watch their reactions. David Richardson’s best friends’ name was Richard Davidson. Many times they were called upon to produce drivers licenses to prove their identities, which almost always resulted in child-like giggles.
They had grown up together and forged what was sure to be a life-long friendship. That was something I had never experienced and most likely never would because I had a general mistrust of people. I found that more often than not, the people you would take a bullet for are the ones who will shoot you in the back. I had been called cynical and guarded but to me, understanding harsh reality is always better than suffering the consequences of false hope.
David and I spent many an hour sitting in The Bar, drinking and talking about women…careers…women…making our first million…worldly affairs and of course…women.
David was in his last year of law school and had his eye on the prize. He was going to be a corporate attorney and during one conversation said that he was going to be “one of those famous guys who have only one client, sort of like Tom Haydens’ character in the Godfather.” A wink and a smile left me doubting that he was being serious about that idea but I did know that he was serious about becoming a litigator…a famous one…or better yet, a seriously famous one.
I was going to be a journalist, which of course after I paid my dues would lay the foundation for what would become a brilliant and successful career as a novelist. David teased me about my choice until I gave him a brief synopsis of the mini-thesis I had written, which I was positive had secured my position with the local newspaper.
“Journalism is a dying business. Pages of newsprint have given way to lightning speed computers that condense, edit and abridge information to a now growing audience consumed by instantaneous gratification. An audience who is satisfied with only a snippet of information rather than an in-depth look at the whole story. An audience who has gotten itself in a big hurry and is willing to accept half-truths that live on the information highways of YouTube or an Amazon Kindle Fire.”
“Information used to live on tactile pages of newsprint rather than hoping to be caught while soaring around in cyber-space. The once large pages of news have been reduced to little more than the tabloid size of what used to be known as trashy rags, but journalism will not go out with a whimper nor will it go down on its knees. It will stand up and roar until it takes its last breath and should modern technology suffer a fatal blow, the world will bemoan what they so cavalierly abandoned.”
David, a few sheets to the wind, looked at me and said “that’s beautiful, man.”
I don’t know where I had gotten my love of the written word or when I become almost obsessed with a well-told story. I did know that the well-told stories that captured my interest were the ones based on fact. Fantasy stories were okay but they were just that…fantasies.
Traveling to distant planets on a self-constructed space ship were to me, just not tantalizing or believable. Now, if you’re talking about The Mystery At The Little Red Schoolhouse, where bodies from the last century are discovered in a mass grave, I’m your reader.
Covering the local news always left me wondering “is anybody really going to read this story?” I didn’t write to fill up down-sized pages because there were no sales to be advertised, but oftentimes I feared that was the case.
I didn’t wish for some catastrophic event but I admit that I did often wish for a break-in at some hotel which would catapult me into the same class as the famous Woodward and Bernstein reporters.
To be continued____________