“A Car Crash of Sorts”: The Story Behind the Story
The setting of “Car Crash” came pretty easily to me, as I was, indeed, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division on Fort Bragg, North Carolina in the middle nineties. Despite my insane amount of beer-guzzling and mini-thins-ingesting, I still managed to stay thin, meet girls, and have laughter-soaked adventures.
I wanted to write a story that captured the essence of polar opposites interacting with each other in subtle ways. That’s how I often felt living the barracks life back then. It felt like the weird aftermath of a collision of two worlds, like some swirling, adrenalized half-memory that needed to be sorted out but that never really could be. There was madness within the external order of life at Bragg for a paratrooper in the middle nineties, a kind of intense raging necessary for someone who was trained daily on how to exterminate human life. That much was clear.
It was a time that still allowed for some ignorance, as the Internet was a baby and Google and WikiPedia hadn’t been born yet. It allowed the space for midnight musings while falling asleep on the slim wooden bench inside a deuce-and-a-half, the time to ponder beneath the mounted 60, and the dimension to begin becoming what only you could become.
Essentially, it was a time and place and dimension that begged to be written about.
“We hear you’re some kinda writer, Specialist. That true?” one of my First Sergeants had asked me, once.
Half hungover, leaning on the Pepsi machine, can in my hand, I shrugged.
“You gonna write about us?”
“Get in the Harley, Specialist. I’ll be back in 2 hours.”
So, anyway, here’s my first salvo of an attempt to capture some of the wildness and poignancy within the inevitable stories that will come from that time and that place, “A Car Crash of Sorts.”
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