You know you’re going to have a surreal day when you wake up, boot your ancient computer into argumentative life, check your emails, and find that one of the characters from your own stories has dropped you a quick line.
One of the stories you’ll find in my collection Dark Terrains is a tale called Feedback, originally published waaaaaaaay back in 1998. The story concerns a fellow called Alex Pileggi, an empath ignorant of his own abilities, who makes a markedly poor choice of profession. You can read it by downloading the collection free from here, and per the forthcoming announcement, you can even buy a paperback copy of the book here (see what benefits there are to reading this blog – actual news, ahead of the game!).
Without saying too much, Alex’s eventual fate is not a pleasant one. When I saw that I had email from Alexander Pileggi yesterday, I wondered if he was writing to complain at what I did to him. It was a bizarre little moment.
Of course, Alexander is not my character, and was writing mostly to find out why I had chosen his name for the story. In most cases, I wouldn’t have been able to answer, but with this particular story I knew that I had pinched the surname from Mitch Pileggi, the actor who played Skinner in The X-Files (still big when I wrote the tale). I have a terrible time coming up with surnames for characters, so make note of interesting ones that I stumble over in real life.
As I say, the moment was surreal, and made me wonder what some of my characters might have to say to me if they could email from thier fictional worlds. It’s almost enough to give this horror scribe a postmodern case of existential guilt. Perhaps I should write stories with puppies in them (that, you know, don’t actually get maimed, run over, or drowned) instead, to ease my conscience a little.