Monday, November 3, 2014

Circumstantial Evidence by Gail Roughton

A writer’s done a good day’s work when the characters have gotten themselves into or out of some sort of convoluted situation, whether humorous, dangerous, nightmarish, or ridiculous. It’s what we do. 

     We create worlds of action, adventure, and danger. We plop our characters squarely in the middle of it and watch them squirm their way out of situations we’d love or hate to get ourselves into and out of but never will. And why not? We’re safe at our little keyboards; there aren’t any repercussions for us. Or are there? Because our most valuable tool, the one essential thing modern writers can’t function without—could be our Judas. Our betrayer. Think about it. Over the past years, how many trials have featured the defendant’s computer as one of the star witnesses? 
Unless you’re a computer whiz yourself, you don’t know how to wipe your computer’s memory, now do you? I don’t mean clear out the recent browsing history - occasionally even I remember to do that.  I mean clear the “innards” of your computer, where, the experts tell us, our entire online life is recorded. Forever. Unless you’ve got one of those wiping devices from the CIA, of course.  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have a lot of those high tech luxuries on my shelf and I’m pretty sure they have folks who could backtrack it through the servers anyway.
What I do have is a browsing history guaranteed to send me away for life were I the suspect in an horrendous crime being prosecuted by any fairly competent District Attorney. And if somebody wanted to frame me—well, they’d just have a field day. In the course of building the backgrounds of my books, in creating that believability that grabs a reader and makes them believe the unbelievable, I’ve set myself up. Big-time. Especially if anything ever happens to my husband.
Even a cursory glance at my browser shows that I know how to obtain a marriage license 24/7 in Vegas, and where to go to use it. I know where prostitution’s legal in Nevada, and where it isn’t. And it isn’t legal in Las Vegas, who’d have thought? 
I’ve got a general knowledge of Voodoo and its hierarchy of spirits, as well as Hoodoo (which isn’t the same thing, by the way). I’ve checked out the quality, weight, and street value of various controlled substances, and the styles and types of different handguns and the damages each can inflict. 
I know the Temple of Isis at Pompeii (yes, Pompeii, not Egypt) was excavated in 1764. I know golems are creatures made of sand, from Jewish mythology, who carry out their makers’ bidding.
I mean, any prosecutor could convince a jury I offed my husband by means of a golem armed with a .357 Magnum and powered by astral projection, hid his body in a mausoleum, ran away to Vegas, opened a brothel, and founded a black magic coven.

Or maybe they’d say I ran away to Daytona Bike Week with an outlaw biker, and currently serve as second-in-command for a big sprawling drug cartel. Or—well, there’s just no end to it. If you’d like to see the results of all this web-crawling, hop on over to my web-blog, where you can view the final results of all this incriminating research. None of my books would have been possible without it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d better go make sure my husband took his vitamins. I do believe it might be in my best interests to keep him healthy.