Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Character Interview: Scott McGowan from Rock Crazy

By Rochelle Weber (Guest Blogger)

Rock Crazy by Rochelle Weber: Abandoned, pregnant and bi-polar, Katie McGown’s going crazy on that God-forsaken rock the Moon!

Hello, everyone. Today I’m interviewing Scott McGowan from Rock Crazy, by Rochelle Weber. We’re sitting at a table at Jake’s Place. It’s a sort of “al fresco” place across from the town square in Rockton, inside Mt. Aragaeus on the Moon. The tables are separated from the square by a low fence and only the kitchen is enclosed. We sit well inside, near the kitchen. The waitress looks to be about thirteen and is, in fact, the owner’s daughter. She glides up to the table, her blonde ponytail half-floating in the low lunar gravity, unruly wisps floating at the sides.

Hi, Scott. S’prised you’re here on Katie’s day off. But then, she’d prob’ly get upset if she saw ya with a lady, even if she is out with Don Larsen.” Anger flashes from her dark blue eyes as she proffers her hand. “I’m Lena Johnsrud.”

A man glides out of the kitchen with a slight limp.

Be nice, Lena. Scott is giving this lady an interview.” He grins, his blue eyes twinkling. “Jake Johnsrud. What can we getcha? We grow real Angus beef. Only place in town that has real beef. And the wife made cheesecake.”

Lena, her grin mirroring Jake’s, nudges him with an elbow. "I helped, Daddy!"

Um, cheesecake and coffee are fine. I’ve read about your wife’s cheesecake, and your help, Lena.”

Cheesecake and coffee comin’ up.” He turns to his daughter. “C’mon, Lena. Let’s let these people get down to business.”

Okay, Daddy.”

Q: Now, Mr. McGowan, What's your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about YOU?

Scott: I’m just a regular guy. I spent several years in the Navy’s nuclear program riding submarines. I was an engineering lab technician, in charge of safety and radioactive waste, which means I did more paperwork than engineering. Now I’m a rent-a-tech, working outages at various nuclear power plants around the world, and now off-world.

My wife’s the colorful one in the family. She has severe bi-polar disorder. I’m working an outage on the Moon and I’ve divorced her to try to get her to face her disease and have a chip implanted in her head that’ll regulate the hormones and proteins that control her moods—especially her rages.

Q: Can you tell us more about your wife?

Scott: Wow! Katie! I really do love her, but I’m reaching a point where I can’t live with her any more. Her bi-polar rages are getting more and more violent. We want a family, but even Katie’s afraid if we have a baby she might go off on him or her and hurt it or worse. The only answer I could come up with was to strand her on the Moon. If she has to stand on her own two feet, maybe she’ll finally face her disease and have the surgery.

Q: Are there any more complications?

Scott: Katie’s pregnant! I’m gonna be a dad! She's agreed to have the surgery, but the doc says she can’t until the baby’s born and she has to go off her meds. We’re all in for a rough ride.

Q: What’s your next move?

Scott: I told Katie I still love her and I want us to be a family, but she wouldn’t take me back! When I let her go I knew she might meet someone else, and she doesn't know it, but I’ve been keeping really close tabs on her. Before we came up here, her brother arranged for her to get a job waitressing here at Jake’s Place and Jake and Annie Johnsrud agreed to keep an eye on her. She wasn't even seeing Don yet when I offered to take her back, but she says she can’t trust me anymore.

Jake says I really hurt her. I told her I only dumped her so she’d get help. She said I only want her back because of the baby. I said with her disease, I didn’t need to take her back to get the baby. Boy, did she get mad. I guess that was the wrong thing to say. I never expected to really lose her!

Q: But, isn’t Katie dating someone else? In fact, aren’t they on a date right now?

Scott: Yeah. He’s a miner named Don Larson, and he’s a nice guy. We’re friends. Man, I guess I really screwed up. She’s never dated anyone else in her whole life. She said she wants to see what it’s like dating other people.

Promiscuity can be one of the symptoms of the manic side of bi-polar disorder. Katie’s symptoms run more toward rage, but what if she starts… They should be back from the Apollo 11 site by now. I shoulda taken her there before we split up, but I started work as soon as we got here, and I didn't have any days off. Aw, man… What if she likes him?
Q: It sounds like maybe you have to work to get her back.

Scott: Yeah, but that's hard to do when I'm working an outage. Not many days off—

Lena passes our table carrying a stack of empty plates. “Hey Scott, Katie and Don’re up the hall a bit, and it looks like they’re headed this way.”
Scott: He must be bringing her here for supper. I gotta go. If she sees me with another woman, she might think… Geez, I don't know what she'll think.

Scott leaves just as Lena brings my cheesecake.

Good think Katie didn’t see you two together. She’d really get mad.”

She didn’t see Scott get up from the table?”

Nah. You guys're sitting far enough inside, she probly wouldna seen ya from the hall. She just saw him leave. Anyway, hope you like our cheesecake.”

The cheesecake is every bit as delicious as advertised.


This is the beginning of Rock Crazy.

Red Rage

Champaign, Illinois
September, 2065

They were on Earth, at a bar near Champaign, Illinois, part of the Chicago metropolis, which had sprawled across the Midwest and even down to Cairo, Illinois, where it merged with the equally sprawling Greater Memphis Area. They were there to sing karaoke, and Katie McGowan was ‘sober,’ as usual. She was on too many medications to mess with alcohol.
She didn’t remember, later, what the woman said that triggered her. She didn’t remember deciding to react. She just remembered the hot, red rage. And the split. She watched herself do it as The Voice kicked in.

You can’t do this,” it said. “This is inappropriate behavior.”

Katie tried to stop herself, but she couldn’t. Her arm rose, as if of its own accord, and poured the pop on the woman’s bleach-blonde, over-processed head. The woman came off the stool and shoved Katie. She flew across the room, seemingly in slow motion. Of course she threw her right arm out to break the fall, and she still hit her head on the floor. But the pain in her wrist was worse than the headache.

I told you not to do it,” The Voice said. “Now, at least stay down. Don’t try to fight her. You’ve already lost.”

Katie lay there gasping for breath, smelling the old, stale, spilled booze and beer that had seeped into the floor. Someone helped her up. It was Scott, her husband, and she was wrapped in his arms while holding her wrist. The woman wanted to come after her again, but people restrained her.

The screaming started. Katie cowered in Scott’s arms screaming and screaming and screaming, while The Voice told her to stop acting this way, and people tried to restrain the angry woman, pop dripping from her soggy bangs.

Get her out of here!” the manager demanded.

Looks like her temper matches her red hair.” She heard someone comment.

Scott half-carried her outside. She was hysterical and still screaming. The other woman followed them out to the car.

What the fuck’s wrong with you, you crazy bitch?”

Katie couldn’t answer. All she could do was scream. Just scream. No words, just that high-pitched wail that was a good octave above any note she ever managed to reach when she sang.

Now why can’t you reach this pitch when you sing?” The Voice asked. “Stop it or you won’t be able to sing at all. Ever again.”

She threw herself across the hood of the sky-car, feeling its warmth. She kept screaming, and the pain flared in her wrist again. Her throat was sore, and her voice was going…gone. The screaming subsided, and she began sobbing, hoarsely. Damn it. Her physical voice really was gone! The Voice was merging into the background, but now her mother was there. Linda Snodgrass had been dead for over five years, but she still appeared and yelled at Katie.

You stupid bitch! I told you ladies don’t fight. What the hell did you think you were doing?”

I don’t know why I did it, Mama. I think I broke my wrist,” she mumbled.

Serves you right.”

I’m sorry, Mama. I’m sorry.”

Quit whining, or I’ll give you something to be sorry for.”

Her mother faded away, and she started hearing what was going on around her again.

Scott was there, and the manager, and the woman who had shoved her, and several bystanders, but all she could do was cry and say, “I’m sorry,” over and over.

Who’s she talking to?” the woman asked. “She really is fucking crazy!”

Katie’s bi-polar.” She heard Scott explain.

Get her out of here!” the manager yelled.

I’m so sorrrrrreeeeeee,” Katie wailed hoarsely. Someone stayed with her while Scott went back inside to get her sweater and his keys. She was powerless to stop this stage, as well. The sobbing and apologizing would go on for another hour or so. It was part of the pattern. She would apologize to everyone she met. And she would cry until she dehydrated herself and ran out of tears.

Scott came out of the bar and handed her sweater to her. She reached for it with her right hand and dropped it. He picked it up and put it across her shoulders. Then he unlocked the sky-car and helped her into it.

Your wrist’s swelling up fast, baby. I brought you some ice from inside.” He handed her a bag of ice wrapped in a bar towel. “Your eyes look more red than green right now, and you’re so pale your freckles really stand out on your nose.”

I’m sorry, Scott. I’m really sorry.”

He was oddly supportive this time. “I know you’re taking your meds. I’ve been giving them to you myself. And you still went off.”

W-why?” Katie sobbed. “W-why? I’m s-sorry. I’m s-so s-sorrrrreeeee!”

I don’t know. I don’t think the meds’re working,” he said. He reached over to pat her hand, but she was holding her right wrist, trying to cushion it and keep the bag of ice steady.


Rochelle Weber said...

Thanks so much for hosting us, Lisabet!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Rochelle,

Welcome to Beyond Romance! Rock Crazy sounds like a really original book.

Thanks for being my guest.

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