As Texas weather finally turns cooler and the warm showers from the Gulf become the occasional cold rains from the west, thoughts have turned from shrimp salads and iced tea back to smoked ribs and baked beans. After the last bit of wet weather, our morning coffee has been driven temporarily indoors as flights of mosquitoes thunder in like B-17s from the depths of the jasmine bushes surrounding the back yard. In addition to the coffee made by grinding our beans and the toast prepared from fresh-baked bread, I’m thinking about adding an egg poached in butter on Friday mornings. I want to send everyone out with a good mental attitude and a visceral feeling of well-being.
Some of you already know that my wife and I write fiction under the name L.C. Frenzel. In fact we’ve written eight books under various pen names, some unpublished, some published, some waiting for us to finish more of the series like Claire and Pem in Lunaria, a young-adult fantasy-adventure series of which we have finished three and one-half of a projected six volumes.
So, when we started writing L.C. Frenzel’s blog in space managed by Fat Squirrel Publishing, we decided we would do chapters introducing characters who inhabit our ongoing story of the fictitious Coffee Club, in which a group of people decide to tackle a thorny bit of Texas gubernatorial politics. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to identify some of the off-beat characters who fill the pages of this on-line project so that as they appear you can have some understanding of who they are.
One of the chief villains is Craig Schumflatt, nominal leader of the Free Range Party, a consortium of nefarious Texas businessmen who plan on taking the office of Governor of Texas one notch higher.
On the evil side of the equation we have characters like Slim Gardner, a wealthy west Texas landowner and a big player in the gas fields near Midland. Then there is Dexter Dillon, an aircraft parts manufacturer from Dallas who was often in the news as the sponsor of a successful NASCAR racing team.
A nice guy, Gill Coppers, a Conservative Congressman and a staunch Republican known for his independent voting record, is somehow mixed up this messy intrigue as is a lawyer named Lucas Bramley, a not-so-nice Houston attorney who is up to his neck in crooked politics.
On the good side, there is Napoleon Forest, a retired Army man with mysterious connections who has “gray” money to fund the Coffee Club’s investigations into the business of the Free Range Party. Chandler and Julia Thornton are retired scientists who put the pieces of the Coffee Club together, while Ash Stringman is a famous Tennis coach with political connections. Carson Rachild is a well known environmental activist and adventurer who is teamed with Jaqui LeMans, a driver of race cars and the only woman to win the Texas 500.
There are many other quirky characters that drift through the alleys and backrooms of the Coffee Club’s adventures. This week we will look at a chapter on Decker Curie, a key character in the legal drugs business and a powerful lobbyist. With a little luck we’ll have an opportunity to meet a fellow named Lawson Brewer who, we surmise, used to own a famous bar in Austin and seems to know where to find the dirt on just about everyone in the Capitol.
All these characters are fictitious, of course. Any resemblance to real events and persons is purely coincidental. Still, I hope you will follow the blog on Fat Squirrel Publishing and that you’ll recognized some of the fundamental truths about Texas folks and their politics.