Met up with Charles Ardai at the Black Orchid a couple of nights ago. He was kind enough to blurb my forthcoming book, THE CONCRETE MAZE, and we got to talking. I let him know that one of the incidents - a body found in several pieces scattered throughout NYC was based on a true story. Now, if you've read the book, please don't give away what went on, but let me give the base story here. When I was young, my family moved to Puerto Rico for a short while. When we came back, we had to stay with various people for a couple of months until my parents could get jobs, an apartment, etc. Essentially we were homeless and the kindness of friends and relatives kept us off the streets (not that my parents would have moved from PR without assurances of having a roof over our heads...) For a period of three weeks or so, we stayed with my mother's best friend and her family. The thing of it was that she had a son who was maybe 22 years old. I was about 12 when I met him. As the age difference would suggest, I was no more than a blip on his radar. There was a hint he wasn't running with the most wholesome crowd. Whatever crowd he was running with felt they no longer wanted him around. A few months after my parents settled down (or maybe a full year later) my mother got a phonecall from her friend. The son, whose name I don't recall, had been found dead. In several places. This was the early eighties, the Bronx was full of rage, it was nothing for three or four to be murdered on a night. His story wasn't to be found in the papers - sensational for the fact that he'd been cut up after being tortured, but not sensational enough to warrent precious column inches. NYC averaged (averaged!) 5 or 6 murders a night and since Staten Isalnd was relatively quiet, The Bronx often had to take up the slack. In any event, the effect of this discovery, the fact that he had to be sewn together like Frankenstein's monster, pieced together like..., well, you see the harshness of this. The woman, his mother, was about as close to destroyed as a person can get without the destruction being complete. This didn't leave me. The story is one of two true stories I consciously wove into the novel. I hope to honor the people in the true stories (the other story I won't tell here, but maybe in person - that other person still lives, you see) with what I've written in this novel. And to honor the mother whose tears flowed.

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