I’ve just experienced a loss and, fictional as it is, I can’t help but feel sad.
Carl Perry was an ‘aside’ character in White Wolf Moon. He was a band member and buddy to all the other characters going back to their rock days of the early Sixties. While he was not as close to Evan as most of the others he was, nonetheless, a friend. If you have read the book you know that his death was not unexpected but what is unexpected is my reaction to the loss.
I created all these people and I figured a few key strokes to write ol’ Carl out would be easy…and it was. Writing the reactions to his death through the other characters isn’t quite as easy. The surviving characters speak of the good times before it all went wrong and while writing down their memories I discovered incredible depth in this walk-on player. He wasn’t just a name. He was a person with hopes and dreams, mostly unfulfilled. He tried to be all things to all people but at times he ended up being nothing to anyone…just an ‘aside’ character. Evan, Andy, Claire, Danny, and Carol are quick to point out that the Carl from White Wolf Moon isn’t the real Carl. He was a lover and a fighter, a jester and a comrade. He had his foul moments but deep down he was a warm giving caring man who loved his family, friends, and the world in general.
Part of me is amused that five fictional characters have managed to bring life to a sixth imaginary character after his death but another part of me is wondering why I feel this despondent over Carl’s passing.
Yes some of my characters are based on real people but Carl Perry wasn’t one of those. From the beginning he was totally fictional and existed just for filler…to keep the dialogue or scene moving. Like my computer Carl had a predetermined life span and of all the characters from the original, he is one of the two that wasn’t invited to Kamloops for Jenn’s Grad.
No, I didn’t invite Carl back for the sequel but now that I’ve learned more about him I feel a tremendous regret. If the ‘real’ Carl could have been at the after-grad shindig he might have offered up more than he did the first time around. If I’d managed to peel back that exterior and get down to this ‘real’ Carl what more could he have provided the story-line? I briefly considered remission or a miracle cure solution to the problem but that just won’t happen. It’s too pat and too obvious…and not like real life. Carl is one of those people you wish you’d gotten to know before and based on the comments of the other characters I think he and I might have got along well, had a few laughs and beers as it were.
But I’m sorry Carl…no call from the Governor this time old friend.