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Developing the Characters in a Story
This hub is a continuation from the hub, Using Song Lyrics to Set the Scene in a Story. In this sequence, I am developing characters in the short story The Mind of Frank Rosseus.
From Frank’s memory bank, I absorb his history. Frank was adopted at 4 days old. His parents were middle aged at the time of the adoption. He was their only child. His father was a corporate lawyer and his mother was an accountant. Frank went to private schools in New York City. He graduated NYU with two undergraduate degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Business Administration. He also received an MBA from Columbia. Both parents died from natural causes a few years ago. They were in their mid-eighties when they passed. Frank never cared to know anything about his natural parents. He loved the mother and father that adopted him.
Frank was a rich young man with all the finer things in life. He was a stock and options trader at Burke & Company on Wall Street. Presently, his net worth is over $24 million, not including the Sutton Place condo he inherited. I do not know how much of Frank’s detailed skills, abilities, history and memories, I shall be able to recall and use. My mind understands the fundamental knowledge contained inside his brain matter. But Frank’s soul has moved on. My soul, spirit and mind have transmigrated completely into the body and brain of Frank Rosseus.
It was beneficial for me to spend two weeks in the hospital becoming Frank. The time was necessary for psychic adjustment. The physical body had to be monitored. There were constant blood tests and brain scans. I had aches and pains, dizziness and headaches.
This morning, Friday May 18, the hospital called my apartment. Lupe, the maid, answered. She has come to pick me. I recognize her immediately in the foyer of the waiting room. She gives me a hug and says, “Cómo está Frankie.”
“I am fine, Lupe.”
Lupe has a taxi waiting. This is my first time outside the hospital. I know I lived in New York City before. The apartments across from Beth Israel Hospital on 1st Avenue are very familiar to me. We get in the cab and drive uptown.
Lupe is a plump, middle aged woman. She is 66 years old. She was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Her family legally migrated to the United States in the 1950’s. Her husband died many years ago. She has a son, who works for the federal government. He lives in El Paso, Texas. He has a wife and two small children, a boy and girl. Lupe also has a daughter who is a school teacher. She lives with her husband and five year old daughter in Buffalo, New York.
Lupe has worked for the Rosseus family for 45 years. She helped bring Frank up. She owns a two bedroom apartment on the West Side. Lupe also has her own large bedroom and private bath at Frank’s condominium on Sutton Place. Frank pays her salary of $95,000 per year plus supplemental health insurance to cover the medical bills that Medicare doesn’t. Frank wants to give her a raise but Lupe says, “You pay me enough money. I don’t work very hard anymore.”
I sit in the spacious living room of Frank’s, apartment and try to sort things out. I think this place is way too big but Frank lived here his entire life. Lupe walks into the room and gives me a cup of herbal tea.
I inhale the fumes of the tea. “Lupe please take back the tea and bring me a cup of café con leche.”
“You want café con leche?”
“You have not asked for that since you were a teenager.”
I say, “Oh, I just have a desire for it.”
She looks at me a bit strangely and says, “Coming right up.”
I close my eyes and check Frank’s memories. He has no relatives or family. Frank had two girlfriends. One was married ten years ago. His last girlfriend, Linda, wanted to marry him but Frank wasn’t ready. She married a neurologist three years back. Frank has been alone ever since. He is content to remain a bachelor. Frank does not smoke, drink or take drugs. Frank is not a womanizer. He is a workaholic and a moneymaker.
Certain memories of my own past life have been deleted. I don’t remember who I was. I don’t know who my parents were or if I had any family, wife or children. I don’t know what I did in my past life. Whatever I did, it could not have been good. I am paying for my sins with this assignment. The controllers contact me telepathically to reset my brain neurons. My mind is befuddled. I can remember actors, books, television personalities and major events. My memories go back over 60 years. I remember President Eisenhower’s speech to beware of the military industrial complex. I remember when John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy got shot. I clearly remember Lee Harvey Oswald getting killed by Jack Ruby on television. Frank was born in 1968, so these are not his memories. I also have what I call, crackpot memories. I remember Leotis Martin knocking out Sonny Liston at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada in June 1969. Why do I remember that? I must have been a boxing fan. I remember the good old USA landing on the moon July 20, 1969. Of course I watched the moon landing on television but where? Las Vegas, I don’t think so. Los Angeles, California that is where, I saw Apollo II land.
Inside my head the ZZ top song continues, “I’ve been bad, I’ve been good, Dallas, Texas, Hollywood.”