If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
– Richard Bach
Today Bast Overture interviews the main character, Chrissie, in “Missing in Action” from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012) by Sharon A. Crawford. Alert: another dysfunctional family but of the disappearing kind.
The door opens and Chrissie enters. He notices she seems pre-occupied with the far corner of the room.
Bast: Welcome, Chrissie. (He shakes her hand.) Please have a seat.
Chrissie: Oh hi. (She sits down to the right of Bast.)
Bast: Your family seems to be a little scattered…
Chrissie: What do you mean?
Bast: Let me finish. I’m referring to your Uncle Roger and Cousin Robbie – your uncle who ran off with another woman when you and Robbie were in your teens and Robbie who seems to stay out of sight until some important family function like a funeral comes up..
Chrissie: Well, what would you expect from Robbie? His dad deserted him.
Bast: However, his sister Susie stayed put.
Chrissie: True. But Susie was close to her mother, my Aunt Sheila, and Robbie was close to his father.
Bast: And which cousin are you close to?
Chrissie, looking over at a spot on the far wall.
Bast waving his arm in front of Chrissie: Earth to Chrissie. Which cousin are you close to?
Chrissie continues staring at the wall.
Bast: Whatever are you looking at?
Chrissie: Don’t you see her? Over there? (She points to the far wall.)
Bast: Who do you see?
Chrissie: You mean you can’t see anyone?
Bast: No. Only you and I are in this room.
Chrissie: No. No. If you can’t see her then we can’t communicate.
Bast: Fine. Then tell me who you see so I can at least look harder.
Chrissie (shrugging her shoulders): Never mind. You can’t see her, then you can’t see her. What was the question again?
Bast: Which cousin are you closer to – Susie or Robbie?
Chrissie: Both, but I guess Robbie until Uncle Roger ran away with his secretary; then Susie. I can’t do this. (She again focuses on the far wall).
Bast, following Chrissie’s eyes. He shrugs: You get a cryptic email in the beginning of the story which seems to affect you. Can you tell us how?
Chrissie: Huh? Oh, the email. I didn’t know if it was from Robbie or not. I mean he didn’t usually communicate by email. Just showed up at funerals and the like.
Bast: Like your Aunt Sheila’s funeral?
Chrissie: I don’t want to talk about that.
Bast: She died of cancer, right?
Chrissie: I said I don’t want to talk about this.
Chrissie: Because it’s all his fault?
Bast: Whose? Robbie’s?
Chrissie: No, Uncle Roger’s, for deserting his wife for his secretary. Did you know she wasn’t young and beautiful? She was old and ugly. How could he leave a beautiful loving caring wife for that piece of crap? Although the chemo and cancer took away all Aunt Sheila’s beauty. I hope Uncle Roger rots in hell. I hope… oh my God. She’s coming closer. What is it? No, I know he’s your dad but he did you wrong, too. He… Stop!
Chrissie pushes back her chair and rushes out of the room. Bast stares ahead but sees only the walls and the room’s furniture. He shrugs.
Bast: The whole situation must have affected Chrissie’s mind.
Next week Bast interviews Todd, who may or may not be more than just Chrissie’s co-worker.
You can read more about the characters and the strange situation in “Missing in Action” from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.
Sharon A. Crawford continues to take Beyond the Tripping Point to several readings this month. Next week Sharon A. has three readings: October 15 for the monthly Crime Writers of Canada Murder and Mayhem at the Annette St. Branch of the Toronto Public Library, October 17 at the Brentwood Branch and October 19 where she hosts and reads at the monthly Saturday afternoon Murder and Mayhem at Du Café. For more info on October’s events go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html
Sharon A. Crawford