Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"I want you to write another paragraph but this time from the point of view of a character living in the past."
Louise Doughty, A Novel in a Year

As a young boy watching Checkmate, it was not the pretty ladies or the dashing young detective that grab my attention; it was the frumpy bearded overweight man talking with a slight English accent. A British criminologist, and one-time Oxford professor, Dr. Carl Hyatt is the brain behind the criminal cases Checkmate were hired to solve. He takes the smallest bit of evidence and solves the case. As a young boy, I was in awe over his three-piece tweed suit with chain across his potbelly accented with polka-dotted bow tie. In addition, I admired his top hat and cane; his cane seemed more for show than providing support, I thought someday I could get away with such a prop.
    In my twenties, I tired wearing tweed it just did not fit my personality and left fibers all over the evidence. I wondered if I could grow a beard like his but I recall the State Police had a clean-shaven rule. The only facial hair that I wore in my early days as a forensic scientist was a mustache. They were big in the 70s and my large upper lip was the perfect platform for a dark straight caterpillar mustache. My daughter Jenny was never fond of mustaches; she used to tell my father that he had to kiss her goodbye with “just one lip.” My father would puff out his bottom lip as far as he could and kiss her. She would squish up her nose, retract her lips, and say his mustache still tickled. The only similarities I ended up sharing with Dr. Hyatt was his home lab resembled my basement collection: walls lines with file cabinets, endless about of reference books, and old microscopes dotting each surface.

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