Friday 21 October 2022



Synopsis/blurb ...

Every writer finds the question "Where do you get your ideas?"annoying, even insulting in its presupposition that the idea's all there is to it. Shakespeare got most of HIS ideas from other writers; do you think it was the idea of it that enabled him to write, say, "Romeo and Juliet?" Or that the same idea, a couple of centuries later, guaranteed success on Broadway for "West Side Story?"


Besides, we never know where ideas come from, or how they reach us. Something blooms in the garden patch where dwelleth the unconscious mind, and it doth or doth not engage on, and when everything works it takes root and groweth into thomething. (Sorry, I meant something.)

Of course, there are exceptions. In the summer of 1976 I was driving east across the Arizona desert with my three young daughters, who'd flown out to spend the summer with me. I had a '68 Chevy, old enough to give trouble, although thus far it hadn't. I stopped for gas in the middle of nowhere, and the helpful station owner kept spotting potential problems, one right after another, and...

Couple of hours later I was back behind the wheel, fuming more than the engine ever could. I fell silent, and after a few minutes I straightened up and said, "Okay."

One of the girls asked what exactly was okay.

"That just cost us $200 I can't afford," I said, "and I don't know whether the son of a bitch saved us or screwed us. But if I write the story and run it to 4000 words, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazines takes it and pays their princely nickel a word, at least we come out even."

Which happened. I wrote it a few days later, AHMM snapped it up, and published it the following March. And then, a couple of years later, it got dramatized on TV for Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. I figure Dahl had about as much to do with the program as Hitch did with the magazine, but who cares? That highway stop had paid off nicely.

And I still don't know for sure if we got saved or screwed...

Another wee bump to the reading stats and a bit of a pick me up as I do like a bit of Block and I've been struggling with my reading of late.

A short story and funny enough a first chapter intro to a Bernie the Burglar book - Spoons - which I'm just about to start soon anyway.

Two brothers stop at an isolated gas station for fuel and a coffee. The two are on their way elsewhere to meet a guy and pull a job and their funds are low.

The gas owner and his wife who runs runs the cafe/diner opposite his joint use the isolated location to charge an optimum price for their wares. The gas fill up leads to a repair job, then another fix, and another ... a $10 fill up runs to nearly $300.

Who's robbing who?

Enjoyable, if a little predictable. I liked where it went and how we got there. The ending is under-stated which is pretty much bang on.

Short, long, fact, fiction, dark or light - Block can do it all well. 

4 stars from 5

Read - October, 2022

Published - 2013

Page count - 22

Source - Kindle Unlimited

Format - Kindle

Note to self. See if I can find the TV show which was drawn from it. You Tube here I come.

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