S.G. Browne

Lucky Bastard San Francisco Blog Tour – More Nick Monday

When I started writing Lucky Bastard in the spring of 2009, my main character was named Jon Rolli. I wasn’t thrilled with the name but it held him in place. Once I finally made him a private detective, I decided he needed another name. Something that suited him better. Something with a little more panache.

Back in 1991, I wrote a screenplay titled A Fish Out of Water—an Airplane! and The Naked Gun inspired comedy spoof about a private detective in Chicago dealing with corrupt developers while trying to find a rare, stolen Australian myna bird purchased from a specialty hybrid pet store called The Fish Out of Water Pet Shop. That’s the screenplay over there on the left.

The script includes a lot of word play and silliness and characters with names like Nick Monday, Warren Peace, Sandy Beach, Al Chemy, and a band named Umbilical Dan and the Chords. Nothing ever came of the script, but I always liked the name Nick Monday, so I stole it from my Chicago detective and gave it to my luck stealing P.I. in San Francisco. I also took the name of the female lead in the script, Tuesday Knight, and gave it to my main femme fatale in Lucky Bastard.

Even though they share the same name, the Nick Monday in my screenplay and the Nick Monday in my novel are two completely different people. In A Fish Out of Water he’s easily confused, honest, and rarely gets laid, while in Lucky Bastard, he’s competent, steals luck, and has sex more often than Charlie Sheen. He’s also developed some repetitive consumptive behaviors that, while not destructive, are a definite by-product of his lifestyle.

Cappuccinos. Apple fritters. Lucky Charms.
Mochas. Mentos. Corporate-coffeehouse baristas.
Just to name a few.

And while you might think someone who was born with the ability to poach luck would live in a Pacific Heights mansion or own a place in Nob Hill, luck poachers live a nomadic lifestyle and often have to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice. Plus, there are definite karmic consequences to stealing someone else’s good fortune.

So even though Nick lives in The Marina neighborhood, with it’s Art Deco buildings and views of the Golden Gate Bridge and abundance of attractive Kens and Barbies decorating the cafes and bars, Nick ended up with something less than what he’s grown accustomed to:

I live in a studio on the third floor of a four-story building on Lombard Street, next to a dry cleaner’s, across from a transient motel, and just this side of dilapidated. Not my first choice for living accommodations, but sometimes you take what you can get. Or go where your mistakes take you.

Again, I’ve played with reality a bit here, as Nick’s building doesn’t exist in the location I’ve described. But I wanted him to live in The Marina, so I placed his fictional apartment building on Lombard Street across from the Bridge Motel. While The Bridge has recently been “cleaned up,” for years it was a crime-ridden motel whose residents had to deal with bed bugs, rats, and on-site drug deals.

Above on the right is Nick’s view of the Bridge Motel from the front door of his apartment building, where he often finds a homeless person and gets to enjoy the smell of fresh urine. The photo on the immediate left is from the parking lot on the side of the motel, which gives you a better idea of it’s unique neighborhood charm.

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Filed under: Lucky Bastard,Nick Monday,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:00 pm

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