“Spirits” is a story I developed back in 1989. At the time I was in my “blockbuster” writing phase, a time when I thought up many storylines I thought would make good summer blockbuster movies. Many of the plotlines I developed in my younger years have since been co-opted by several Hollywood movies, some of them blockbusters. For example, I wrote several short stories in the mid-1980’s called “G.I. Ants” about superhuman ants trained in special operations that escaped from a military laboratory and settle in a young boy’s closet. I think the CGI movies “Antz” and “A Bug’s Life” brought to life many of the ideas I wrote many years ago. I think some of the stories I created years ago would still make good movies. Of course, I wasn’t involved in any movie projects, but it’s great to know that through the years similar material has been incorporated into Hollywood screen plays.
“Spirits” is one of those stories. I never wrote it down, but I still remember the plotline well. Each week I will try to post a portion of the story on my blog until I finish the story. After I finish, I’ll start another. I will save each under the subject “Books” so you can read all of them together if you wish. This week I’ll start by fleshing out the story plotline. An important first step to writing a story is to develop a plotline and characters. If you have any suggestions on how the story should progress, I would love to hear them. Post a comment. I already have the ending in mind, but I will leave that for the dear reader to figure out.
Lucky Six Bar: A bar located just off the highway along the Coeur d’Alene River in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains. Built in 1958, the bar is reputed to be haunted. Locals allege that it sits on the site of a deadly confrontation between silver prospectors in the 1870’s and is close to an ancient Native American burial ground.
Steve Jones: A wealthy Northern Californian who retires to rural northern Idaho to pursue his dream of buying and operating a small western bar.
Amanda Jones-Davies: Steve’s wife, who has a great job in the Silicon Valley working as an executive for networking company Techyesology. She is very reluctant to follow Steve to Idaho. She lives in their home in San Jose and plans to remain there for a few years until she retires.
Harlan Jones: Steve Jones’ great-great grandfather.
Jim Cappell: Steve’s best friend and a divorcee, who lives in Cupertino but comes to Idaho for a couple of months to help Steve remodel and reopen the bar.
Chuck Dahl: The owner of Dahl Construction, a three-man operation charged with remodeling the “Lucky Six Bar.”
Dean and Donna Kirschner: The couple who sell “Lucky Six Bar” to Steve Jones.
Patty the Barmaid: Longtime barmaid at the “Lucky Six” who has many a story to tell about alleged ghost sightings at the bar.
George “Slouch” MacDonald: The crusty, cranky bar manager who has managed the bar for years with many a story to tell—if he ever will.
John “J.J.” Johnson: The chatty barfly who always stops by after a long day at the smelter for a brew and conversation.
Terry “Nape” Napier: A logger with quick wit and gruff mannerisms who also frequents the bar.
Joey Porter: An under-age local youth who tries to hang out at the “Lucky Six Bar.”
Tiffany Vann: A news reporter from KSEA-TV in Seattle.
“Smokey”: The ghost of a miner reputedly killed in a confrontation with a strong affection for smoking pipes.
“Big Bear”: The ghost of a miner, a burly man involved in a mining confrontation.
“Stern Joe”: The spirit of a Native American guardian.
“Hocapontas”: The ghost of an unknown Native American maiden.
Steve Jones has a dream. His dream is to get away from it all. As a computer engineer working for NanoTera, an Internet company, he made a fortune by cashing in his company stock options. Now he wants out. He’s tired of the Silicon Valley rat race. He’s tired of the 50-year-old rambler he bought for an outrageous price during the housing boom. He’s tired of wall-to-wall suburbia and mundane weather. He’s tired of the congestion and crowds. He’s retired, and his children have moved away to college. Aside from golf, he’s never picked up a fulfilling hobby like his friends. He doesn’t collect cars or own a water cruiser. No, Steve Jones wants to get away from it all and go back to the Wild West. He wants to buy a bar and retire in the Wild West. It’s his unshakeable dream. Unfortunately for him, his long-time wife Amanda has a great career with Techyesology and does not want to retire and does not share his dream. After much cajoling, she reluctantly agrees to support Steve and his dream on the condition that he returns back to the Bay Area frequently until she retires in a few years and hand the bar over to a manager who can manage the bar for him. He agrees.
Steve surfs the Internet looking for properties around the country. An Idaho real estate site features an old bar built in 1958 known as “Lucky Six Bar.” The price is right, and Steve buys it sight unseen. The property costs a fraction of the cost of home in San Jose. Little does Steve know, but he has bought more than he bargained for! He convinces his best friend Jim Cappell to join him in remodeling the property. The aged bar needs a lot of refurbishing. Steve and Jim fly up to Idaho to survey the property and to hire a contractor to remodel it. Arriving at the Lucky Six in a car rental, they quickly realize that the realtor’s photos were very kind to the run-down roadside bar and that it will need even more work than they anticipated. And so the adventure begins.