So, I’m driving home from my grandmother’s house on Saturday, which is important only because in a city not exactly known for colorful characters, unless you count the Cowboys. I see flashing lights at an intersection ahead and think, oh, dear, there’s been an accident.
But no. On the corner of a business/industrial thoroughfare, a police officer is interviewing a youngish man. I figure, he got pulled over, only I see no car. Also, I see no pants.
Me, to Mom: Is it just me, or is that guy not wearing pants?
Mom: No, that definitely looks like underwear.
Me: How am I going to live without knowing what’s going on here?
I have to say that, as guys in underwear go, it could have been a lot worse. I’m no connoisseur of underwear, but they, I guess, on the nicer end. So to speak. They were opaque, for one thing, and if this had been a magazine ad versus… whatever was going on there, it would only have been weird because he was wearing street clothes from the waist up.
As it was, it looked liked he hadn’t finished dressing, or possibly he’d lost his pants in some Mother’s Day Brunch incident, possibly mimosa related. (Thanks, @sarataylorwoods for the mimosa contribution.)
Red lights are only so long, so I take in as many details as I can: There are a couple of boxes on the corner. There’s a second cop, a motorcycle cop, interviewing someone else about 30 feet away, a tall, thin man with long, thin white hair and beard who looks like he smokes two packs of cigarettes and day and runs a pawn shop or possibly one of those electronics stores with the bars on the windows and doors.
What is going on here? Did this guy just take No Pants Day to the street? Was he hawking something (something other than the obvious assumption) without a license? Maybe Underwear Guy’s girlfriend threw him out, pantsless, and he was trying to buy something shiny to get back in her good graces? And when he went into The Diamond Exchange, Two-Pack-A-Day was like, Dude. And Underwear-Guy is like, I have a shirt, give me some service, and Two-Pack is like, No Trousers, No Trade, and Underwear is like, Take all the stuff my GF tossed out along with my well-toned tush! Whatever! Just give me something to win her back, and Two-Pack is all 911 on his cotton-clad ass.
Some stories write themselves.
Actually, that’s not true. Developing a piece from idea to draft to story is a lot like growing a rosebush. It has to be fed and shaped and nurtured, occasionally pruned to let the best blooms show, all while keeping it looking like that happened naturally.
But then, yeah. There are also the weird scene on a street corner moments that aren’t going to go anywhere by themselves. Not every idea has roots, and that’s okay. To overextend the metaphor, those are the kinds of things that you press and keep safe until you find the perfect place for it.
So if you ever read in one of my books were a pants less guy is trying to get his hands on a diamond from a pawn-store-looking-guy who calls the cops on him? You’ll know where it came from.