Welcome back to Savvy Saturday. Today we have Bob Bickford giving us a little insight into his two main characters. Read on to get into the minds of two very different men.
Mike Latta has spent a lifetime finding out where he wants to be, and when he arrives there, he knows it’s perfect. His suburban house, his lovely wife, and his precocious young daughter, Abby, are his charms against darkness. They keep each other safe and happy, and it is all the happily-ever-after he’s ever wanted. Mike has reached middle age content that he is the kind of good man that the universe smiles at.
Nobody tells you that happiness is delicate. They don’t tell you that forever is a fragile thing, a vase balanced on the edge of a shelf. Little Abby’s death is the kind of freak accident that should never happen to anyone, but sometimes does. Mike would trade his life to replay the thirty seconds before it happened, but nobody offers those kinds of deals.
Drinking helps, at least for a little while. The booze helps Mike sleep, and helps him not to think, and if anyone thinks that maybe there’s too much of it, nobody’s blaming him. He finds out that the bottle has teeth, and what seems like a friend can turn on you---and bite. When he wakes up on the living room floor one morning with an empty vodka bottle beside him, and divorce papers on the coffee table, his destruction is complete.
He’s alone, and being alone is all he has left. The divorce leaves him with an ancient cottage on an island, a summer home that the family almost never used. Echo Island is a small lump of forested rock in the middle of a big, cold Canadian lake. Mike thinks maybe a year by himself might give him a shot at getting back to his idea of what a good man should be. A year alone might be exactly the wrong thing, and the end of him. He’s okay with it, either way.
Psychopaths also know about being alone. It’s their nature, after all.
Ron Baptiste is a successful real estate broker, a self-made man. He’s got a white smile, a great golf swing, a firm handshake, and is the first to pick up a tab. Everyone likes Ron. If you hold his eyes too long, though, you might not like what’s looking back at you from their pale depths. Ron has a lot of secrets.
Since he’s been a boy, Ron has hurt the people and animals unlucky enough to get his attention. Sometimes they end up dead. As far as Ron’s concerned, it’s never his fault. He only kills the ones who give him no choice, who hold him back from the things he wants and deserves. The world is better off without them. If people were smart enough to understand, they’d be grateful. Ron is very, very good at hiding who he is and what he does.
Ron smiles and laughs, slaps backs and shakes hands, but even in a crowd he’s entirely alone, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s got it made, and now he has a wife and daughter who are starting to get in his way. A little girl the same age as Abby Latta is in terrible danger, and there’s only a broken man who wants to be left alone who sees Ron for the monster he is.
Two lonely men, one with terrible plans, and the other with no plans at all. Mike Latta is no match, but he has one thing in his favor. He’s lost almost everything, and he isn’t afraid to lose what little is left.
Caves In The Rain
By Bob Bickford
Champagne Books: https://goo.gl/koc1sh
When he was little, Bob Bickford haunted the library. It was his favourite place. He hunted for good stories, got lost in pages, and daydreamed about becoming a writer. When he got older, real life got in the way and paychecks became more urgent than classes or degrees. The dream was filed under ‘impossible things’, and nearly forgotten. After years spent in various corners of the United States and Canada, he dusted off his imagination and became a writer-by-night. He hunts for good stories once again, and he still haunts the library.