Setting the scene.
Last October, I was meeting my wife at a PJ’s Coffee in New Orleans, just off the French Quarter. As I walked from our hotel in the warehouse district down Tchoupitoulas, it was just starting to get humid, but the wind actually made the walk rather pleasant.
In front of PJ’s, I saw a guy who, in my wife’s words, “probably wasn’t more than 24 hours removed from polite society.” He was wearing a suit about two sizes too large, had the beginnings of a day’s stubble, and seemed to be in pretty good shape. Well, except for the fact that it was 10 in the morning and he was obviously blackout drunk.
The guy went into the coffee shop ahead of me, mumbled an order, and paid with a credit card while falling asleep on the counter. When the young lady behind the counter handed him his beverage, he woke up enough to head outside. When my wife and I left the coffee shop about 15 minutes later, we saw him happily napping in the back of a New Orleans Police Department cruiser.
It’s situations like this where you can tell you’re supposed to be a writer. During that 15 minutes in the coffee shop and well after, the wife and I came up with a multitude of back stories for this guy. All of them, in my opinion, were pretty entertaining, and had distinct timelines and characters apart from just our pal from the coffee shop. Sure, it was a funny thing to see, but it was also a great way to set the scene for storytelling.
So, ever had a situation where you see something and just have to write the story of how it happened?