My new work in progress is another John LeGrand, Cajun PI, mystery. Woody Bergeron, LeGrand's old college roommate, hires him to find Teresa, his missing wife. There's only one problem with the job. He had planned to marry Teresa when Woody wooed her away from him. As always, John is hard up for money, so he takes the case. Not only does he have to find her, he must put up with Woody, who has always been a thorn in his side.
The novella, currently at seventy-eight pages, about twenty-thousand words, is finished as far as putting words on the screen. I just finished adding the last period on it. Now, I must rewrite and edit. Hopefully, I'll have it ready for publication in September or October. As I always do, I create a mock interview with the characters to help me get to know them better. Woody is one of my favorite characters because he's so unusual. His is a two-part interview—the young college-aged Woody and the older married Woody. I thought I would share the younger Woody interview with you. Hope you enjoy him.
Me: How did you come up with the name Woody? I mean, is it your real name?
Woody: My real name is Woodrow Alexander Bergeron. My mother was cruel and sadistic. You like that word? I leaned it in this stupid psychology class the university said I had to take. Anyway, she named me after my uncle Woodrow Bergeron and Alexander Graham Bell. What crap. My daddy wasn't there when I was born. He took off when he found out my mother was pregnant. In high school, this girl I was seeing regularly called me Woody, and I liked it, so Woody it was. I was also pretty good in the sack, so it fit me, if you get my drift.
Me: Describe yourself?
Woody: If you mean physically, I'm five nine, skinny, what my Uncle Woodrow, the bastard, called a scarecrow with skin. I've got long black hair, because I don't want to look like every other twerp out there. I wear black all the time 'cause it fits my mood, and it makes me stand out in a crowd. Oh, I like chains. I got 'em hanging off me all the time. If you mean mentally, I'm smart, but you wouldn't know it from listening to me or looking at my college grades. I pick what I like out of those college classes, and the rest can go to hell for all I care. I mean, who gives a damn if Mark Twain was a racist or not, or if Hitler was gay or not. What does that have to do with what they did? If you want to know for sure, go ask 'em. If they're dead, then deal with what they did and move on.
Me: What do you like?
Woody: Music and drugs, in that order. I like music that fires me up, you know, that works me up. That Beatles' stuff is passive, doesn't do a damn thing for me. Hardcore Punk. That's where it's at. As for drugs, I'll do anything. If it messes my head, I'll try it. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those idiots who sits alone in his bedroom shooting H or whatever into his veins and dreams of whatever. For me, drugs are for partying, for getting the blood pumping, for embracing the music, the experience.
Me: How do you live? Do you have a job?
Woody: I got a job. I work at a bowling alley in Lafayette. Get this, I take care of the pins. You know, pull 'em out when they get stuck, setting 'em up again when the machines screw up, and they do all the time. I also keep the lanes clean. For that, I get paid a few bucks. But it's also a great place to do drug deals. Not big time, but, you know, a little pot or cocaine, nothing that'll bring the cops sniffing around. As for living, my landlady kicked me out, accused me of being a devil worshiper. That's a crock, man. I got no love for the big D. I met this John LeGrand dude at the Black Cat Bar, and we worked out a deal for me to crash on the floor in his roach-infested apartment. He's strictly establishment, you know, studying all the time, watching that football crap on TV, collecting VA bucks from the Uncle, but I kinda like him. He puts up with me.
Me: Is there anything you'd like to add to this interview?
Woody: People see what they want to see in me. They think I'm a lazy worthless bum, a drain on society. So be it. I'm always on the lookout for someone who sees beyond the clothes, beyond the attitude. When I meet one, I'm a friend for life. Teresa, John LeGrand's woman, is like that. The first time she met me, she saw deep into me, and I saw deep into her. John pretends he dislikes me, but I see deep into him too, past the attitude. I love and hate just like everybody else, and if you can't see that, then you're no friend of mine.