Reading and Flirting With Fakename

Maybe.  The reading is for certain;  the flirting part is iffy.  We’ll get to that later. 

One of my favorite authors is James Lee Burke, who has a recurring character named Dave Robichaux, a deputy sheriff in New Iberia, Lousiana, where Burke himself lives although he now spends part of his time in Montana.  The first of the Dave Robichaux books I read is In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead.  How could you not read a book with a title like that?  I’ve read all but one since, and there are 11 of them.  Another of my favorite titles is Last Car to Elysian Fields.  Dave makes occasional forays from New Iberia to New Orleans, and of course, Elysian Fields is a main thoroughfare there, but the title is intended as double entendre.  I traveled Elysian Fields frequently as it was just a couple of blocks from my house and had commercial businesses on it that served our neighborhood.  One of its great attractions was that as you drove toward the Mississippi where it dead ends, you could often see ocean-going vessels in the water, 22 feet higher than where you were on the roadway.  A vivid reminder that you were living below sea level. 

In the books, Dave has a daughter named Alafair, which just so happens to be the name of James Lee Burke’s actual daughter, who is now a writer herself.  I read the first (for me) of her books this week, and even though I’d warned myself not to expect her to be the same as her father, I was still disappointed.  It was, as the critics say, formulaic.  It takes place in New York City but you get no sense of place in the book.  It might as well have been in Cleveland.  James Lee is a master at creating the atmosphere of South Louisiana in which the plot unfolds.  You get the sense of its strangeness and vague danger, and its beauty as well. 

But perhaps I might not have thought so poorly of it if I hadn’t just finished Roscoe by William Kennedy.  Kennedy was the author of Ironweed, for which he won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.  When you read a book by a world class writer followed by a piece of fluff, the fluff looks that much worse.  Not that I have anything against fluff.  The book I read before Roscoe was Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich, another of my favorite writers. 

And now to Roscoe.  This book was loaned to me by a man I met at work in March.  He’s the Project Manager for a construction company from out of town, and for business reasons too complicated to explain I see him for a few minutes at a time perhaps every other day and sometimes in passing at other times.  He has seen me reading, and yet it surprised me one day when he struck up a conversation about William Kennedy, who he said was his favorite writer.  Nobody, he said, can put together words like Kennedy, and tell a story the way he does. 

The following week, I found Roscoe on my desk when I arrived at work.  Sweet.  It dawned on me that this guy might be flirting with me.  (You were wondering when we would get to that part, right?)  But you can never be sure.  Propositions are sure.  Flirting is ambiguous.  So if there are any potential flirters out there who want to flirt with me, please remember to bring the Flash Card that says “Now Flirting.”

It turns out he was right about Kennedy.  Roscoe was a marvelous book, as I said when I returned it.  I might mention that while the setting is Albany, New York, and the machine politics there in the early days of the 20th century, it is um, very explicit shall we say.  Which caused me to think there might definitely be some flirting involved.  I mean, why would you give a woman a book like that?  So when I returned it, I said, this was great.  Sex and politics in New York State, how much better could it get?  And he blushed!  Hint to flirters, never blush, it’s a dead giveaway. 

But I have to admit it was a great strategy.  If I were interested in him, which I’m not, it would have given me an opening to start something.  If I’m not interested, you can save face and just pretend you were all about sharing your literary preferences.  But for all you other potential flirters out there, here’s a hint:  Go ahead and loan me a book, and let’s see what happens.

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15 responses to “Reading and Flirting With Fakename

  1. Whatever happened to Roscoe and Trish?

  2. This is toooooooooooo funny. Couple of weeks ago I watched a Net Flix DVD movie In The Electric Mist with Tommie Lee Jones as Robicheaux. The movie was my kind of movie (almost anything with TLJ is). The voice over used enough of the novels prose to get me interested so I checked out a couple of the series from the library and am just finishing my second one now. “Popcorn Novels” /…..good stuff. Pegasus Descending and Crusaders Cross.

    Also we have planned an October excursion to New Iberia to sample the Gumbo from the annual Gumbo cook off.

    Crusaders Cross will always hold a special place in my life as it got me through the prep work for my Colonoscopy last Friday:)

  3. Ah, yes, colonoscopy prep does indeed require entertainment both portable and engaging! BTDT. Hope your results are more like mine than like my SO’s.

  4. Ah, yes, colonoscopy prep does indeed require entertainment both portable and engaging! BTDT. Hope your results are more like mine than like my SO’s.

    Well the intial results are good havn’t got the pathology results yet. Sorry to hear of your SO.

  5. “But for all you other potential flirters out there, here’s a hint: Go ahead and loan me a book, and let’s see what happens.”

    I had given some thought to sending you an extra paperback copy of Killer Angels but now you have gone and complicated that all to hell. And if I sent it to EE he would just put it on a shelf and forget about it.

  6. pt, I guess I am hoist (or would that be hoisted?) by my own petard lol. Seriously, I assure you I don’t consider every offer of a book loan to be flirting! EE would put it on the shelf next to the tea 🙂

  7. EE reveals that he has some insider knowledge of the content of the book. EE is referring to Roscoe’s Irish girlfriend Trish. The book opens on VJ Day in 1945. He runs into Trish in a bar where she is sitting with two (two!) men who, shall we say, have their hands full with her? Everyone is celebrating, and Trish is celebrating very enthusiastically 🙂 Later, Roscoe becomes ill and Trish offers to move in with him temporarily to help take care of him, and he says, “That’s very sweet, but I’d rather be cared for by wolves”. And that, to answer your question, EE, is the last you ever hear of her!

  8. I resent the implication that I put things on a shelf and forget about them. You should see my room.

    As for the tea, I am letting it age until I get out of my cast which I found out today will be another 3 weeks. I look very much forward to drinking the tea. But I want two legs if I have to run to the poison control center.

  9. That sucks FN, a man like Roscoe should have fed her to the fish.

  10. “As for the tea, I am letting it age”

    No trust? ……………..sigh

  11. Roscoe was not that kind of guy, ee. He was a scheming rat with a good heart 🙂 And pt, I forgot to mention that it is indeed funny that we both like Burke. The two you’ve read I have not…Pegasus Descending is the exact and only one I haven’t read since Electric Mist lol. Crusader’s Cross must have been before Electric Mist. I didn’t know until yesterday that Electric Mist had been made into a movie. I too like TLJ very much.

  12. Picked up a copy of Pegasus Descending today at the library. And a copy of Ironweed. And 3 others. Gotta get set for the Memorial Day weekend 🙂

  13. pt, i trust you buddy. you and dick cheney can come over anytime. lol

    fn, i love that exciting lifestyle you live. i will personally present you with a “revenge of the nerds” video if you read all of those books by monday evening.

  14. That’s all just a cover…secretly I’m a daredevil.
    Fortunately I’ll be spared Revenge of the Nerds because I’ll never read all these books by Monday. Not that I could get the video to work anyway.

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