… Not quite the stuff of Sondheim, but pleasant nonetheless.
Got my grades turned in yesterday, so today the Spawn and I picked up a rental car and headed to Durham for tonight’s Noir at the Bar. The car had satellite radio, so we cruised up here with a soundtrack of Beatles music — I appear to have reared her well.
We got to the hotel about 4, and the Spawn was suitably impressed by the valet parking and assistance from the bellman — especially when he remembered our names later as we headed to the event. For that matter, I thought it was pretty nifty as well.
We got to the venue — 106 Main — about 40 minutes before the event was to start. That was when we found out that one of our scheduled readers couldn’t make it — his train was delayed. And that’s when things got interesting.
When Eryk Pruitt, the organizer (and author of What We Reckon, which I recommend) got a hold of me some weeks back, I suggested that the Spawn might make a good addition to the roster. Unfortunately, all the slots had been assigned. All the same, she tagged along with me. In fact, upon hearing that she was coming, Greg Barth (the Bowling Green, KY-based author of the Selena series) said that she should read her story that ran in Dark Corners a few years back. I told her to bring one of her stories with her, because one never knows when an opportunity might arise.
And as it happened, Amtrak’s delay was the Spawn’s gain, and she found her way onto the readers’ roster. While we waited for things to start, I was delighted to see a high school classmate, who came from her nearby home to catch the event. Thanks, Cheryl!
Once things got rolling, I led off, with a story of mine called “Frankie,” which was initially published in the NoirCon program in 2016. It’s a merry tale of goings on in a North Florida trailer park, and it seemed to go over well. Other readers in the first set included David Terrenoire, S.L. Coney, and the aforementioned Mr. Barth, who was gracious enough to call Broken Glass Waltzes one of the best noir novels he’s ever read. He even said it on mic, in front of God and everybody.
And in the midst of those, the Spawn’s number came up. She read pleasantly and effectively, drawing laughs and flinches where appropriate. I was delighted to see how well she went over. Of course, I’d be proud of her even if she hadn’t written a word in her life, but it was a blast watching her do so well.
After a break, we heard from Eryk (who gave us a new story that reminded me of a redneck Harlan Ellison tale), J.D. Allen, Jamie Mason, and Lyndee Walker, who brought the house down with her closing story about a woman in a small Arkansas town who knows how to wrap a burrito — among other things.
After that, we chatted a bit before the Spawn and I headed back to the hotel for dinner. This is the second Noir at the Bar I’ve done in Durham, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. Maybe I’ll see you there! And with luck, I’ll have a picture or two to post soon.