Travel article on Krakow, Poland reminds me of the opening of my novel

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The Washington Post travel section on Sunday, December 3, has a long article by Hugh Biggar on Krakow, Poland.

I visited Krakow on May 1999, arriving on a train from Berlin, that made many night stops in former East Germany and Poland. I had bribed the conductor to get a roomette because I had a wrong date on my ticket.

I found a taxi to take me to Auschwitz-Buchenwald, and spent about 90 minutes that morning visiting the ruins. That experience inspires the first chapter of “Angel’s Brother”.
In the chapter, the character Randy, whose normal day job is that of an AP history teacher in high school in Dallas, who is married with three kids (one adopted), is around 45 and is near the ending of his days of always looking to be in perfect physical shape, has been summoned there by his secret job as a contingent CIA investigator. On the grounds, he meets a seemingly gifted college student, Sal (described as a Caucasian Latino), around 20. A conversation gradually starts, that will build up to major incidents later involving aliens and what happens to the rest of us.

I realize that I have to be careful in the writing about the mechanics of the meeting, of the initial social clumsiness as to whether they want to take the cab ride together back to Krakow. (He had seen the “College Kid on the Train” before.) Oh, yes, Randy’s gay desires are coming back, despite his successful marriage so far – but his wife has only recently gotten a little suspicious. I also have to work on the issue of how much she would really know about his “business trips”. (My own dad, as a manufacturer’s representative, made a lot of them when I was growing up. But it’s harder to pull this off if you’re a high school teacher.)

That day, I also went to the Wielickza salt mine, before coming back to the hotel. panel

I remember that the phone was expensive. I had a clunky cell phone but it didn’t work in Europe. But I would need to explain why Randy would have a problem like that today. Then I mention “Bill”, and some other agents, and leave open the question as to whether people like Ali Mogul really exist or are just meta-characters in Bill’s book (sort of “nocturnal animals”).

Wikipedia link for Krakow picture, p.d.

(Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 1 PM EST)

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