Saturday, April 07, 2018

Telling myself stories

AVE you ever wondered how a writer's brain works?

Probably not, but I'mma tell you anyway.

So today I was on Twitter and I came across this here Moment. (For those who don't do links: a gang of six guys on four mopeds robbed an Oxford Street high-end watch store in London, in broad daylight, using axes, machetes and hammers to do the dirty deed. Since this all went down on a Saturday morning, lots of people got footage of the robbery on their phones. You can't make stuff like this up.)

As I read more of the story, I thought, "Hmm, that's odd." Because a different branch of the same high-end watch store got robbed by a moped gang several weeks ago -- again, right in the middle of the day, only this time they were armed with sledgehammers and A FRICKIN' SAMURAI SWORD. That is not in any way a normal heist.

So, as often happens when I come across something a little off normal, my brain started spinning up a story. Goes like this:

Imagine you're the owner of a chain of high-end watch stores in and around London. You do business with a number of people of considerable wealth and influence, selling them Rolexes and Cartiers and other expensive, quality timepieces.

But you have a problem. You've just discovered that the deal you cut with a supplier really was too good to be true, and now some of your inventory is made up of fake watches. They're cleverly-made fakes, to be sure, but not clever enough to fool a professional. You can't sell these; sooner or later someone will figure out that you charged them top dollar for a knock-off watch. You can't get your money back without taking the suppliers to court, thereby losing face with your peers and clientele. How do you unload the fake watches without losing your reputation or a buttload of money?

Well, you quietly hire some folks to steal the problematic inventory, in the flashiest way possible. (Anyone can knock over a store with guns in the dead of night. Bring in machetes or a samurai sword, in broad daylight, and you've got yourself some showmanship!) That way, when you file an insurance claim for the stolen articles, you'll have no end of people who "saw the whole thing" and documented it on their cell phones -- providing reams of proof that it happened. And the insurance company will likely compensate you for the cost of actual Rolexes, not the fake ones that your fake thieves stole. You get to keep your reputation, the thieves get to keep their stolen goods and sell fake Rolexes out of the back of a camper van somewhere, and you all get to make some money. Win-win, except for the insurance agency.

I doubt it really happened like this. But most of the time, that's how my brain works. It sees something a little off or unusual, and immediately it shifts into Story Mode, trying to determine what sort of event or events occurred to bring this unusual something into being.

Does your brain tell you stories? Have you written down some of the more entertaining ones?

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