Her name is Brady James. She’s – I’m not positive exactly, but 27, 28, something like that. She grew up in a small town in mid-Maine, not far from Bangor. She’s medium height, medium weight, has a head of frizzy medium-brown hair, and dark-blue eyes.

She was never a great student – in fact, while other students were studying for finals and doing whatever it is most high school students do, she was the head of an elite little group intent on mainlining as much beer as possible without requiring medical attention.

She wasted the better part of a decade, leaving her hometown the day after graduation and hitching her way from Maine to California and points in between, supporting herself by waitressing in the shittiest dives imaginable. When she found herself celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday by inhaling a huge amount of whiskey and fucking the lead singer of a Journey cover band, she sensibly decided she was getting too old for shit like that.

Back in Maine – Portland, to be exact – she did a 9-month secretarial course and got her certificate. For a couple of years she worked temp jobs before deciding she needed some permanence and a steady paycheck, and she ended up at Decker and Baker, a company that sells and buys farm equipment.

The job, you can imagine, is both stimulating and mind-spinningly glamorous.

Her boss – who actually went to high school with her, only he went to college instead of wasting part of his life going whereever the wind took him – hates her. Haaaaates her, and she’s not sure why. She thinks he’s an asshole, but she’s strangely drawn to him. And repulsed by the very thought. Greg – her boss – is so asexual that she’s sure he doesn’t have any sexual organs, that he’s a Ken doll brought to life.

She lives in a trailer on the outskirts of Portland, on an acre of land that is the only thing she has left of her parents. She has two cousins, Janey and Jimmy. Brady’s, Janey’s, and Jimmy’s fathers were brothers, and they died together on Christmas Eve. They were all three dressed as Santa, and a botched bank robbery got the cops after them. They were more than a little drunk and decided not to go down without a fight.

They went down, all right.

Several years ago, Jimmy’s mom kidnapped the lead singer of a fairly big rock band – I won’t mention names – and there was, as they say, quite a fuckarow. But I won’t go into that. Let’s just say that no one died, no one got hurt, and leave it at that.

So Brady lives her ordinary life in her trailer, and it’s like she’s waiting for something to happen, waiting for life to begin, only maybe it’s passing her by. For a while she dated a criminal type – a petty thief, a burglar, a convenience store robber – and then he did something she couldn’t live with, and she ended that. She’s got a best friend who works at a law firm, one of THOSE law firms, you know? The ones where you see the ads on tv, the sweaty lawyer with the slicked-back hair who tries his damnedest to sound reassuring but only manages to be vaguely terrifying. Her best friend – I don’t know his name – loves to tell her stories about the idiotic lawsuits people try to bring, and the idiotic lawyer who agrees to help them out for a fee – always for a fee.

Brady’s not real – she’s a character who’s formed herself over several years, and who has appeared in a few of the short stories I used to write. But as time goes by, details of her life come to me, and sometimes things happen in my own life that I think would be interesting to show up in hers. For instance, I think one of her bosses (NOT the one she’s drawn to and yet repulsed by, because I think one day she’ll end up with him) could be a big loud asshole of a man who spent two days in Texas and thinks that makes him a Texan.

Longtime readers will know that I mean Tex.

Tex, being a big loud asshole, could make Brady’s work life very difficult, and that could be fun to write.

I haven’t written fiction in a long time. That sentence actually originally read I haven’t written in a long time, but I’ve written 5 times a week most weeks for more than two years, and one or two of those entries aren’t bad, and so I guess I can consider it real writing, even if I’m not pulling in millions (or hundreds) of dollars for what I write. But I don’t write for money – I write because I like it.

About ten years ago I was driving down the road, and a scene came to mind, a scene that interested me, and so I thought about it for two days before I wrote it down. I thought it was going to be a short story, but it ended up being an ungodly length. It took me eight months to write, and when I was done writing and editing, I was sick to death of it.

I glanced at it recently, and it made me cringe. Too much high drama, but not the worst thing I’ve ever read (I mean, I HAVE read We Were the Mulvaneys, after all). Not publishable by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad for the effort I put into it.

I don’t know why I don’t write fiction any more. I keep fairly busy, so maybe I can claim lack of time. Fred keeps pushing me to write a book so he can retire (only half joking). I’ve been thinking more and more often about Brady and her life, and it’s possible that I may reach the point where I feel the need to start writing her story.

It’s only been 7 years since I first met her, after all.