John Clark, offering free characters to anyone who wants (or dares) to use them. They’re in honor of a play I’ve never seen, but love the title. “Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello, written and first performed in 1921.
Here are six fictional Maine residents anyone reading this blog can use as they wish. In fact, I’d be tickled any color save for white, to see one or more of them find their way into print.
Vernal Poole is a Gulf War veteran who has learned to deal with his PTSD by avoiding humanity whenever possible. He’s combined his love of solitude, photography and ability to move soundlessly through any terrain, into his job as an environmental investigator for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He’s so good at his job his supervisor has offered him six promotions in five years, but he’s refused all of them because of the increased human contact issue. He has a significant number of photos he’s taken of things found in remote locations that he’s convinced have no earthly origin.
Ravi Ohli is a New York refugee. Son of a high caste Indian mother and an Italian dad who bombed as an opera tenor, Ravi was so traumatized by his mother’s insistence he take belly dancing lessons as a child, that he became seriously anorexic, believing that losing what little abdomen he had would thwart her. Fortunately, an alert school counselor noticed his condition. Mom was hospitalized, Dad fled back to Italy and Ravi, sixteen at the time, boarded a bus and landed in Portland. After a short stint on the streets, he joined a Zen commune, got his GED and now works making custom pasta for a high end Portland restaurant. He’s hoping to go to SMCC and get a degree in whatever is as far removed from belly dancing as possible.
Suba Rioux, is an escapee from one of the most shiftless families in Franklin County. The single-wide she grew up in was so rusted and drafty, it was triple layered in bubble wrap, scavenged from the town transfer station. Fortunately Suba had a growth spurt as part of puberty. She was 6’1” by the time she turned fifteen and learned how to use anything remotely throwable when male members of her extended clan tried to be too friendly. In fact, in one of her trade school classes at the county tech school, she designed a sweatshirt depicting all the body parts she’d clipped from her male relatives. It became so popular with other girls that she sold enough of them to pay for her first year of auto maintenance classes at CMCC. Her dream is to become the first woman to win a NASCAR race with a car she built herself.
Chandra Lier is a gender fluid thirty something who grew up in rural Kentucky, but realized early on that it wasn’t the best place for someone like them. They tried Philadelphia, but city life wasn’t a good fit, so they ended up in Washington County, living in a berm house they built after taking courses at WCCC. Chandra has built a high end custom lighting fixture business, hitting thrift shops, lawn sales and flea markets, scooping up various items that can be taken apart and reassembled into fancy objects both rich locals and people from away hanker for. Far from foolish, she’s investing all free cash in solar power.
Ann Dorphin grew up in Aroostook County, daughter of Meldwin and Osira Dorphin, cooks at a remote lumber camp in T9 R7. Getting to the nearest school was difficult in good weather, impossible in winter and mud season, so she was home-schooled, with a few lessons from Franco-American lumberjacks that weren’t part of the curriculum. By age eleven, she could do the Monty Python ‘I’m a Lumberjack’ skit in two languages and when she left home, she could spit, cuss and throw an ax with the best of them. Unfortunately, her social skills were a bit rough, making job seeking challenging. Fortunately, she made friends with another young woman her age who worked for Jackson Labs. Ann worked with her friend, raising mice at the lab until an offer she couldn’t refuse came her way. She’s now a quality control specialist at the largest medical marijuana operation north of Portland.
Maine has a rich tradition of musical talent, especially when it comes to country and bluegrass. Unfortunately, Mudrun Ford is not, nor ever will be part of it. It’s not for a lack of enthusiasm or effort, because Junkhauler, as his towtrucking buddies call him over CB radio, has been writing songs and performing them for almost twenty years. Too bad he couldn’t carry a tune in a rubber washtub. His singing is so off-key AAA removed him from their on-call list because he refused to stop singing with customers in the cab. He got away with it until one snowy evening when he made the mistake of singing When Nubile Warthogs Dance, I’m in Love, while transporting the newly elected state attorney general and his just-pulled-from-the-ditch new car. It’s rumored said AG had his staff scour the Maine Revised Statutes for days, trying to find something to charge Mudrun with. Business is now so slow, the poor guy sits in his man cave, watching bootleg reruns of Frankenstein’s Country Jamboree and imagining himself on stage.