I know Chad from twitter. It's funny how friendships are made, isn't it? On twitter we grow to know people without really "knowing" them and find ourselves offering words of encouragement on a bad day; medical advice to each other when another in the group is diagnosed with new ailments; our time and our talents, not to mention our money, when others are in need... this list could go on and on. But this, this is how I know Chad. We've offered each other words of encouragement and vented to each other over frustrating medical news, and both of us, no, I'm sure a lot of us, believe that this is how the world should work... all the time, every single day. And for the most part, especially on twitter, the world does work this way.
Our tweet time might be limited, Chad, but I'm thankful I've found you among the chatter. *tweet tweet*
Cakewalk by Chad Eagleton
I wrote “Cakewalk,” my story in the Feeding
Kate anthology, I was revising a section of my Shane Stevens bio, re-writing
the chapter on the forgotten crime writer’s fourth novel. In Rat Pack, we accompany four
African-American youths on their hunt for the big score during a single New
York City night. It’s a slim book, but as sharp as a shiv and twice as deadly.
The power of Steven’s only novella comes from his masterful use of perspective.
Every encounter between pack and victim(s) or pack and victimizer(s) is marked
by misconceptions and misperceptions.
that’s so often the problem isn’t? So much of the things we do, the things we
allow, and the things that get us into trouble comes down to the difference between
what’s true and what we think/want to be true. Not only is it a life truism,
but, if you can pull it off well, it helps with characterization. And character
is king. Character hides the worst plotting and gives the best its resonance.
“Cakewalk,” a stripper and her security work a private party being thrown for a
man newly released from prison. When two youths with a grudge against the party
boy raid the shindig, violence ensues. That alone is enough for a certain type
of crime story. All the beats are hit: stripper—check, ex-con—check, guns—check,
violence—check, a good dose of profanity—check. But I don’t want to write that
kind of story. I want to deal with what really leads to moments of trouble and awfulness.
I want to know those people—know more than the stripper’s breast size and what
model weapons the boys from Bed-Stuy are carrying into Bensonhurst. Anything
less, I think is a disservice to the reader, to our art, and to our fellow
human beings. Sure I want my work to be entertaining, but if I’m not dealing
with something, with people, what’s the point? I could just show you a picture
of the scab on my elbow from when I skinned it cleaning the gutters and say,
here’s the point of this whole thing. When I learned about Sabrina’s jaw
trouble and the surgery she needed that, of course, insurance wouldn’t cover, I
knew I wanted to help. I’ve probably talked to Sabrina less than any of you
reading this post. Sure, when we have spoken, she’s always been nice and, in
fact, I challenge you to find a nicer person in the crime community, but nice
isn’t it. To me, the whole purpose of our society is to work together, to look
out for each other, to provide things—security, comfort, and care—that would be
impossible to provide on our own. If society did not function this way, if we
weren’t all on this ride together, we’d still be saber-toothed tiger
food—assuming our species ever made it out of the caves. The problem is that we
forget that. The problem is we forget our connection to people. The problem is
we get caught up in...What? Yes, that’s right, confusing what’s true and what
we think/want to be true.
someday we’ll all grok that and there will never have to be another benefit
anthology for anyone or anything. Until then, I’m glad to help.
Chad Eagleton is a two time Watery Grave Invitational finalist. His story “Ghostman on Third” was nominated for the Spinetingler Award. His fiction is available in print and e-book, as well as online at such sites as A Twist of Noir, Bad Things, The Pulp Pusher, Beat To A Pulp, Darkness Before the Dawn, and Shotgun Honey.