An editor asked me an innocent question, “How does a character like Eddie have a friend like Jim Bob Calhoun? I don’t see them together.”
As I have written previously, I carefully create every character and each has a specific purpose. If you read Fishing for Light, you might cast off Jim Bob as the cliché bumbling friend that shoves Eddie back into Professor Quan’s world. But that would be incorrect, if you think about your own life, and the friends you have and have had, what is the one aspect that brought you together? (And we’ll not even consider the characters Christopher Clayton or Bobby Humperdinck, but all the characters interrelate for a single purpose. And by the way, look up the last name, as in the composer, Engelbert Humperdinck.)
So, I love the character, Jim Bob Calhoun. He knows he is not as smart as Eddie, he in fact tells Eddie. Well, better than me writing something, just read from Fishing for Light. As you read this brief excerpt, I think you will note a few not so random aspects to the dialogue. The key point is they are friends because they trust each other. For anyone who has ever had trauma in their life, which is every man or beast roaming the planet, the instinct that you can trust someone means everything. As my previous blog post stated, per Mr. Keith Urban, “Raw is a good place to be as an artist … it’s where the truth comes out.” I think the truth is, we have friends in our life that we know we can call at 3 am, and they would help us out. I think it is the basis for ‘unconditional love’. And remember, Professor Quan discovered, ‘pure love’.
Eddie aimlessly stared down as he glided his fingertips across the particleboard tabletop.
“I ain’t always stupid,” Jim Bob said.
“I know,” Eddie said. “I don’t know what to say.”
“You’ve always been real smart,” Jim Bob said.
“Never mind me,” Eddie said. He shrugged. “We need to come up with ideas. I don’t have any money, my mom is not rich, we’re on our own Jim Bob.”
“Why have you always been my friend?” Jim Bob asked. “We’re as different as black coffee and an ice cream soda.”
Eddie kindly grinned at Jim Bob.
“I know you,” Eddie said. “Known you my whole life, you’re as predictable as the sun coming up.”
“Well now,” Jim Bob said.
“I trust you,” Eddie said. He faintly grinned. “I know if I called you in the middle of the night, no matter what, you’d help me, right?”
“Yeah, I figure so,” Jim Bob said.
“That’s something not for sale,” Eddie said. He smiled at Jim Bob. “I remember my father telling me, keep life simple, uncomplicated, don’t judge people, take them as they are.”
“Ah, shut up,” Jim Bob said. “I got get outta here, the coffee sucks, I had the shakes for two days.” from Fishing for Light, pages 116 and 117.