I am generally rather skilled in the willing suspension of disbelief. And I'm trying so hard. Really, I am. But the caffeine-free diet Dr. Pepper fizzing quietly on the corner of my desk is not making it easy for me.
Dr. Pepper is the Elixir of Southern Gods. It is a vital part of the creative process, a cure for the common headache and sometimes the only thing that gets me through the afternoon. And I'm even OK with the diet version, unless I'm using it medicinally; in which case, only the real thing will do.
But now I'm trying to give up caffeine. And this brassy-looking can is sitting here, staring at my half-closed eyes and quietly mocking me with it's deceptively normal and disarmingly charming bursts of fizz as it releases it's carbonated gases into the ambient air. It's taunting me with it's lack of substance. It's teasing me with flavor, but delivering nothing even remotely beneficial.
If I keep drinking this stuff, I may never write again.
Evidently, my muse is not a seventh grade boy named Ichabod, as I'd always assumed. Instead it may well be a maroon-colored aluminum can with a Phd., a ton of sugar and a heavy dose of pep-me-up chemicals.
And, speaking of Dr. Pepper - guess what I found this weekend! Flamin' Hot Funyuns! The ultimate in redneck (and red-fingered) snacking! Yee-haw! I stopped at a store in the armpit of the earth, about 30 miles north of my parents' house. If ever you were going to discover redneck snack Nirvana, this would be the place.
I'd originally stopped there to look for a new CD to listen to on my 3 hour drive home. Unfortunately all they had were two rap albums, a couple of bubble-gum pop divas and a butt-load of crappy country. Some country makes me happy, but really none of it published since about 1991. I loved country in the days of Alabama and Restless Heart and Eddie Rabbit. The current crop of purposely dumbed-down songwriters leave me nauseous. They had a Ferlin Huskey CD, which I almost bought just because I like to say Ferlin Husky.
Ferlin Husky - Ferlin Husky - Ferlin Husky
But, I didn't and instead settled for the next one up in the CD player in Earl the Truck. It was the soundtrack from the Broadway version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Not one of my favorites. I don't remember who the female lead is, but her voice grates on my nerves something fierce.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my all-time favorite stories. I've loved it ever since I was a spooky little kid. Also The Scarecrow, which is basically the same story set during the American Revolution and The Shadow and The Green Hornet and...
I have a bit of a thing for costumed vigilantes. If I can ever find a radio active spider willing to bite me and transfer a few superpowers or an obscure Asian monk willing to teach me the secret to cloud men's minds, I'm so gonna get me a costume.
I already have the cape...