In my search for some good bad guys, I guess could have made Dave Rickles a villain. Lawyers–those 99% that give the other 1%, like my friend Tom, a bad name–are easy targets. Except it didn’t really fit into the story anywhere. What, was he going to have carnal designs on Adeline’s body or fiscal designs on her money and so wouldn’t hand over the letter? Hmm. Sounds like a weak subplot line. I’m not that desperate for a villain.
Instead, I used Rickles to poke fun at that species we all know and love to ridicule, the fanatic college alumnus.
People who attend college had a wide variety of experiences. They loved it or they hated it (or they hated it at the time but now remember it fondly). They drank a lot of beer or they studied and made the dean’s list (or occasionally, both). They bought sweatshirts with their school’s name and mascot and proudly wore them when they went home for Thanksgiving, or they hated their school colors and wouldn’t be caught dead in them. They went to every home football game and took road trips to all the away games they could, or they took advantage of the library being empty on game day and did their research then.
But no matter what the experience was like, most people who attended college eventually moved on to the real world. But not all.
You probably know at least one. They have this shrine in their home to the glory of their alma mater (if you’re a Texan, there’s a real good chance that they are either an Aggie or a Longhorn). Their office is decked out in burnt orange regalia, or their Suburban is maroon and they wouldn’t dream of drinking coffee except from their Ol’ Sarge mug.
I confess to not understanding the breed. As far as paraphernalia goes, I have a paperweight on my desk and window sticker on my car, both compliments of the annual fund. But no intrusive wall art that my visitors have to studiously ignore or comment on. Maybe it was because our football team–I went to Rice 1969-1974–was unwatchably bad.
Sorry–except for J.D., the fanatic college alumnus is about as bad as the villains come in Avalon, S.C. But . . . I’m seriously thinking about adding a hardcore bad guy in my current novel. Stay tuned.