On my eleven hour bus trip to Madison I had a one hour layover in Chi-town or the windy city or Chiraq as some of the cities more street level residents call Chicago. I found out about this term because my seatmate from Chicago to Milwaukee was a young guy from the cities South side. According to him, Chicago's homicide rate is higher than New York Cities. He said the word ''Chiraq'' comes from the fact that the city is a war zone like Iraq. He said he was a ''gang-banger '' and that he managed to get some pot on the bus. Then he showed it to me! After he got over his shock that I don't smoke anything he told me some other things about his life growing up in Chicago.
Now, some people might say he had a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth! What if I had been some sort of undercover something? But, as a writer, I'm all about meeting people, especially strangers, and hearing their stories. Everybody has a story to tell and most peoples mouths run like a faucet! You don't even have to turn the knob because they do it for you. And that water always runs hot! Anyhow, you never know when you''ll hear an interesting word like ''Chiraq'' or some situation that you thought implausible. And since human behavior and emotions transcend time and space, nationality and race I can apply just about anything to my historical fiction.
Maybe in one way I am an undercover something; an undercover agent for life, people and their stories. I just put aside any judgements, open my mental files and listen.