As you may or may not know, my older brother (Bro-bot) is an upstanding member of law enforcement, and has provided me with ample fodder for stories were I ever to write a country crime comedy (which is tempting, despite my aversion to crime fiction in general). He's seen it all, and it's a good thing his sixth-sense for trouble comes with a seventh-sense of humor, because the list of what he's seen does not happen to come with a convenient censor-bar.
In the rough draft of HELLHOUND, I had to leave out a scene I'd planned due to both the constraints of word-count and the fact that I'd written another scene which accomplished similar things.Well, I couldn't get that planned scene out of my head, and I'm delighted to say that the revisions I've brainstormed include not only getting to write that scene, but picking my brother's brain for information.
So last night I came home from work to find my brother and his roommate (let's call him Yankee Boy) drinking on the back porch. Yankee-boy had no idea I'm a writer, which left him confused for the duration of the conversation (poor Yankee-boy). I want you all to imagine dusk in the South, on a back deck looking out over trees and farmland recently redistributed by an F3 tornado. Bro-bot and Yankee-boy are drinking by a coal-fire, made in a three-legged iron grill.
The conversation was approximately as follows:
Scribe: So, Bro-bot, question for you.
Scribe: What's the procedure for picking up streakers?
Scribe: Like bored college-students.
Scribe: When you arrest them, do you slap handcuffs on them and stuff them in the back of your patrol car, or do you find them a towel or something?
Bro-bot: I cuff 'em, put them in the passenger's seat, and if it's a dude, I find something to cover up his junk so I don't have to look at it. If it's a chick, I take a real long time getting to the station. *shit-eating grin* Just kidding. I'd give her a towel or something.
Scribe: So, do you give them clothes at the station, or what?
Bro-bot: Uh, yeah. As soon as they get to the station, they get the orange jumpsuit and go in a cell.
Scribe: Do you finger-print them naked?
Scribe: Okay. So their bail is pretty low, then? For indecent exposure?
Bro-bot: Yeah. Well, women can't get charged with indecent exposure. North Carolina law only charges men.
Scribe: What the..? I mean, I guess most law-makers are men, so it makes sense, but really? That's not fair. But good to know.
Yankee-boy: So why do you want to know?
Scribe: Well, I don't have any plans this Saturday.
God, I love research.
So, the scene I'm working in revolves around my heroine, Helena, being forced to shapeshift to get away from a pair of bounty-hunters who are attacking her. Upon arriving at her dormitory, she transforms back into a human, but her clothes are still at the scene of the crime. Just as she's trying to climb in through her window, she gets spotted by campus police and taken downtown for streaking. Oh, yes.
See why I wanted to write that scene? I'm so happy I can work it in. Truthfully, it was the introduction of bounty-hunters to the plot that allowed me to fit this scene in. I'm taking out the one I actually wrote, which was too melodramatic and not nearly as effective as this one. Plus, I wanted a shapeshifter to get in trouble over not being able to shift with her clothes.
Do you have a hilarious research story? What kinds of research-related questions have you asked friends/family/strangers that prompted great responses? Have you ever been picked up for streaking?
Photo by minifig