We all have those friends who automatically turn to phantoms when doors creak-open or cry conspiracy when some hairs-width of a connection materializes between terrorism and politics. We can sympathize with the notions but rationality and facts inevitably carry the day. That said, I willingly admit my suspicions about the historicity of Jesus or the death of Michael Hastings. But I also willingly concede that personal biases spice my thoughts on these subjects and my opinions may very likely meet their demise in light of the facts.
Coincidence is a strange phenomenon. Often a platform for bizarre assumptions, coincidence aims at our most basic human instincts for the supernatural or conspiratorial. Over the years, I have marveled at the subtle semantic connections between peoples’ names and the news they inhabited. Elian (sounds way too much like alien) Gonzales was a young Cuban boy forcibly ripped from his father’s home by armed US immigration agents in 2000. Bernie Madoff (pronounced made-off) made off with millions in Wall Street investors’ money several years ago. I caught myself laughing at an article about a man recently released from prison who found an amazing artistic outlet during his incarceration. His name is Jesse Krimes. It would appear that Stan Lee is in fact god. This vague synchronicity appears all the time. And it is exactly time (and a whole lot of complexity) that provides logical resolution. Sheer volume of names of people on the planet, the volume of words used to describe events and things, the mathematical billiard game of crisscrossing timelines and our own internal tendency to make leaps across rational gaps creates what we perceive as to-good-to-be-true coincidences.
I’m dragging all of this out today because of two very weird news items that appeared within days of each other. On the surface, my novel That Night Filled Mountain has two basic plot points. First, Marcus Hatchet robs a megachurch of nearly $200,000. Second, a Russian Imperial Faberge Egg plays the part of my McGuffin. Imagine my incredulity when I woke one morning this month to find Joel Olsteen’s church robbed of (you guessed it) $200,000 in cash. I had a good laugh to say the least. But the weirdness didn’t stop there. Only days after the Olsteen robbery, an actual Russian Imperial Faberge Egg emerged in the Mid-West, nearly sold for scrap. Not just one but two of my plot points reified in the real world.
As much as this all tempts me to write things into existence (world peace, abolishment of religion and money, a sad, sleazy porn career for Sarah Palin), I understand that weird shit happens all the time and I can marvel at coincidence with the same attitude that others marvel at ghosts and prognosticators.
River of Blood, a novel about anarchism, atheism, racism, violence, family, and corruption.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.