Crazy Mary

Crazy Mary—nobody knows her real name, and she can’t remember—has occupied the same table in a dimly lit corner of Inn Situ for as long as anyone can remember. She is prone to boisterous outbursts that may, or may not have any bearing on the events and conversations transpiring around her. Some of the longtime clients are convinced she has psychic abilities. It is not uncommon to see short, animated conversatiions taking place at Mary’s table. The cost to visit her “office” is a draft beer, although, most of her “patients” leave a cash donation behind when they leave.

Crazy Mary makes her first appearance in the Inn Situ world in a story I wrote titled Crazy Mary: The World Ends. The story is told first-person from an unnamed individual who is not Mary, but has interaction with her through a good portion of the story. This unnamed character is a reflection of a character I’ve created for another story—the outlook, the snide asides, the self-deprecation should be dead give-aways to anyone who has read the other work—and it was my intention to make his perspective the focal point of the story. (Yeah, that’s a bad, intentional pun – perspective…focal point.) That attempt was accomplished. However, as we have often stated in these pages, the intention of the author is never the prime consideration when these Inn Situ stories well up from the depths of chaos. Nor is the desire of the author the prime consideration of many of the characters that inhabit those stories. Mary is one such character. She insists that we see the world through her eyes whether directly or indirectly.

Mary makes other appearances, cameos mainly, in various other stories in the Inn Situ universe, and then, in a story for Volume II that Scott wrote, titled Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Mary truly comes to life and gets to tell her entire story.

—M—

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When the Masque Slips – Author Left With Egg on Face

Working on the final version of a story — if there ever is such a thing — for Inn Situ, Volume II. The story, “Greg Jenson: When the Masque Slips” has been in progress for awhile. Too long, actually. I have read it, and edited it multiple times. For reasons the story itself will make clear, a change of identity is necessary for one of the characters in this tale. No problem, right? Just go to Google, type in change of identity, scan through the hundreds of pages of results and pull some of the best ideas for the character in the story. Add a bit of trauma, a heaping helping of angst, a cup of difficulty and a dash of ingenuity. Voila! New character identity in 2-300 words. Pretty slick.

Except there’s a problem – a problem kinda like Apollo 13’s “Houston … problem” problem. I realized a major flaw with this portion of the story this morning. The change of identity for the character has to happen around 1985 or so for the rest of the story to work as written. Before smartphones. Before PayPal. Before Google. Before personal computers. Before technology makes it possible to do what I had described in 200+ words, and accomplished in about 30 minutes. In other words, everything I’ve written — and edited — on this portion of the tale needs to be scrapped. “Blow’d Up.” Rewritten. After some hours of research, of course.

How was this done in the ’80s, or at anytime before today’s current level of technology? Anybody “gotta guy” that can help?

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