Friday, April 22, 2011

Stories I would like to sell or finish

The Disappearance of Harvey Lee Jackson – 92,000 words. Done. A young man returns from war, meets a girl, falls in love, but the girl’s husband is nine months dead from Vietnam. Young man goes back to Vietnam, his best friend is killed and the young man wounded. As the man tells another woman 24 years later, “There was a girl. I loved her, but I lost her to the war.” G language; PG events.

When I Went to Vietnam – 86,000 words. Done. Short stories, essays, poems. Contains soldier language; not for the easily embarrassed or faint of heart.

All Our Yesteryears – 300,000 words. Done, but needs redoing. Circa 1964, a young man’s last few months in high school, the girl he loves, his enlisting in the Army, the girl’s death in a car accident. The young man goes to Korea, re-enlists, succumbs to temptations he never knew existed, returns Stateside, goes out with and falls in love with the first girl’s younger sister. Threats by the girl’s father. Young man goes to his duty station for eight months, then to Vietnam. Events there. Returns home for his last year in the Army. When discharged, sees second girl, knows he cannot stay, goes to Midwestern state, where his best friend from Vietnam lives. Meets friend’s older sister. Events. Two endings, haven’t chosen. Young man marries best friend’s sister, or he is contacted by the girl he ran away from and returns to her. Language as above.

Phu Bat – several unfinished chapters. Phu Bat is a town of 25,000 on the South China Sea, between Nha Trang and Cam Ranh. HQ for the 407th Truck Company, commanded by COL. Wade Martin. Colonels do not command truck companies, which means there is more than movement of materiel. Martin keeps the peace in and around Phu Bat through the oldest and most effective method – He pays for it. Local authorities, local Viet Cong leaders take Martin’s money. Except, of course, it is not his money. Every business pays a fee. Martin’s bought local authorities make sure the Saigon government gets nothing. Soldiers of the 407th and airmen at the small Air Force strip support local businesses. So,to, do local farmers, some of whom grow pineapples, tobacco and potatoes rather than rice. Local middle men sell the agricultural products to name brand companies, who in turn sell to the US government. Farmers pay a fee, as do the middlemen. Many Americans involved in Phu Bat, with every department of the US government involved in educating indigenous peoples on the proper ways of modern life – Departments of Justice, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, etc. and et al. Also in Phu Bat are American non-profit organizations and religious missionaries, to whom the American soldiers are an encumbrance. War stuff and personal interactions as well.

The Greatest Years of Rock and Roll – many unfinished chapters. Actually has nothing to do with rock and roll, except for the time span – 1963-72 – and use of song lyrics on each and every page; i.e., “the GTO really looking fine,” “Jack is running a 409 in the pickup, saved his pennies and his dimes,” “Last night there was the girl in Missouri, Doris, and ooh that girl looked nice,” “and a couple of songs Doris just stood in one spot and wiggled around,” “Jack finished chewing, swallowed, sipped coffee. ‘I was born in a small town.’” In the opening chapter, Jack stops for lunch at a diner in mid-eastern Kansas, eventually discovering the diner is a way station for the characters who journey in. Every picture tells a story, and so does every man and every woman.

The Sarsun Wars – many stories, a few actually finished. In a galaxy far away and far in the future, a race before unknown begins conquest and elimination of humans. Almost genetically identical to humans, the Sarsun take planet after planet, despite appalling losses. The idea of the book is a compilation of stories from published accounts by those who fought the Sarsun and survived or who were captured and survived.

One of Our Own – basic idea and layout. What do you do when a friend on a medical mission to Mexico is kidnapped by narco-terrorists and your government does nothing? If your friend is one of your soldiers and you are the only fulltime soldier at a National Guard detachment near the Rio Grande, you get with like-minded soldiers and plan and carry out a rescue. Over a drill weekend, of course. People have to be back at work on Monday.

And then there are the true events found while searching for something else, events that would make great stories; to wit: Rowland George Allanson Allanson-Winn, 5th Baron Headley (19 January 1855 – 22 June 1935), was offered the throne of Albania in 1925, along with $500,000 and $50,000 per year but refused it. That’s $10 million or $6.5 million in today’s money, depending upon which source you believe, plus the annual stipend. Albania wound up with King Zog, former president, who proclaimed himself king in 1928.

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