|Image by Niklas via Flickr|
|"I'm Arthur Petorik, homeless person deluxe,|
and any identification I might make of your
suspects will be of no use to you. Someone
like me as a material witness will be as
unreliable as if I had merely phoned in
anonymously, the information that I told you
five times now. For the sake of argument though,
I strongly suspect you have someone in mind
for this crime. I didn't get much of a look at the
guys who killed the officer...
Tales of the Global West
By W. Jack Savage
In just 80 pages, Jack Savage, jams more into a short story, The Petorik Thesis, than many do in a lengthy novel! In fact, it is a complex, intricate drama that is weaved together so tightly that it must be closely followed to believe...and one that is worthy of a TV or movie presentation....
What do you do if you are not sure whether a character is good or bad? We all know the potential risks for police and other individuals who deal daily with those involved in crime and political corruption. Do good guys some time get caught up into something unplanned and, perhaps, go astray? Well, for Savage, he provides us with a couple who you may question but who are "not so bad" to root for! And the male lead character is a homeless man by the name of Arthur Petorik.
Only he's not Arthur Petorik...
Petorik had been trespassing on the grounds of an Industrial Center and had witnessed a man being beaten. He had pulled the man into his sheltered area when the men had left the scene, though they had also later returned to get rid of the body. The man was still alive when rescued but later then died. It was discovered he was an undercover cop--a cop had been killed!
"Normally" when a cop is murdered, it results in a major hunt for the killer! With Petorik's description, the hunt was on... Detective Gloria Hernandez began by grilling and investigating Petorik's background as well as his story...and that's when readers get pulled into a tale of corruption that is so compelling and unbelievable that you begin to...believe it!
I think what most attracts me about Savage's work is his creation of characters that are so life-like and, seemingly, like the "man on the street." And yet, they get into such strange conversations or situations!
Take the man who had somewhat of a traumatic experience in grade school--a little girl in his class threw up and the boy was so disgusted by seeing vomit for the first time that he was, thereafter, unable to eat any food that was yellow... Funny how childhood experiences can affect us for the rest of our lives--I think you'll enjoy the first story in the book, "Yellow Food"!
Life experience was also featured in another story, Sally's, which I particularly enjoyed when a man, who had been in the service, visits a hometown restaurant of his close buddy who had been killed, and winds up sharing the "real story" of his death to not only his father but the entire town!
Scenes where two or three characters talking comprises the entire story is another skill of Jack's that I finding amazing. He creates insightful contemporary fables, with people you seem to know or have heard about. Consider, "Howie and Katherine" with the intriguing line: "Howie, Pull the f..... nails out of your hands and feet long enough to say goodbye at...Apartment 14."
|"I miss her more than I thought I would,|
you know," he said. "I didn't think I
would. I mean it was just f.......
'Tupperware,' after all. But I guess, after
your experience, maybe it was more
than that. You know it's kind of funny.
I still use the 'Tupperware," It, ah, it
doesn't seem like a big deal any more.
The last story, "Awards" was personally a revelation to me since I found, perhaps, that I could have been the main character who is an author and finds that getting recognition makes him realize that "life would never be as good for him as in the stories he created." Of course, as a reader, all I had to do was replace "stories he created" with "stories I read..." LOL
My favorite story was "Christmas at Fort Leonard Wood" which tells about a young man who is still in basic training and who innocently asks his sergeant what options he had, since, as an orphan, he had no home to go to... This heartwarming tale shows that the celebration of His love can be found anywhere!
When you can find yourself in a short story, or perhaps see your friends or life situations you have experienced, most with a hidden moral, then, you realize that you have found a rare gift given by that author. I commend W. Jack Savage to you. He keeps getting better and better and his stories more creative and insightful. If you haven't read any of Savage's work and enjoy crime fiction, I suggest you try this book as your first--a highly recommended read!