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brokenfingers
05-04-2008, 10:16 PM
It seems like there’ve been some intriguing stories in the news lately that should have those with a writerly bent salivating.

To me, it seems like these news articles are just screaming “story” and allude to things behind the scenes that you and I are not privy to.

This thread is a place to post some true-life fodder for story ideas. You can comment on them and add your own spin etc or just give a brief quote of the story (please no links without an excerpt.)

Here are a few from headlines this weekend:


Authorities are investigating mysterious claims that a man killed by Houston police after a car chase was a CIA agent.
(http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353438,00.html)

Roland Vincent Carnaby, 52, was initially pulled over during a routine traffic stop Tuesday, but drove off when the officer discovered his concealed weapon license. A high-speed chase ensued, during which Carnaby was said to be armed.

Houston officers said they shot him as he was getting out of his Jeep SUV because he made a sudden move, according to MyFOXHouston. He died en route to the hospital, police said.

During a close inspection of Carnaby’s vehicle, police found two pistols and a rifle.

While the CIA denies that Carnaby worked there, friends insist he was a federal intelligence agent, according to The Houston Chronicle. His SUV was reportedly owned by the National Association for Intelligence Officers and he was the president of the organization's local chapter.

Friends say they witnessed Carnaby socializing with local law enforcement officials and high-level CIA bureaucrats.

Car dealer Alan Helfman told the Chronicle that he met Carnaby more than a decade ago when "a mutual friend high in law enforcement" brought him to buy a car.

Carnaby told Helfman that he was a federal officer who worked in intelligence, and the two became close.Hmmmm… C'mon, tell me that doesn’t sound like an opening for a thriller.


Here's another one that intrigued me:

Police: 'D.C. madam' kills herself in Fla. coastal town (http://apnews.excite.com/article/20080502/D90D6PP80.html)


TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - A woman convicted two weeks ago of being the "D.C. Madam" hanged herself Thursday, apparently making good on her vow never to go to prison for running a high-end Washington prostitution ring.

The body of Deborah Jeane Palfrey was found in a shed near her mother's home about 20 miles northwest of Tampa. Police said the 52-year-old Palfrey left at least two suicide notes and other writings to her family in a notebook, but they did not disclose their contents.

Palfrey apparently hanged herself with nylon rope from the shed's ceiling. Her mother discovered the body. Officers were outside the mother's white and pink home in the community of mostly retirees.

Blanche Palfrey had no sign that her daughter was suicidal, and there was no immediate indication that alcohol or drugs were involved, police Capt. Jeffrey Young said.

A man who answered a phone listed for Palfrey's mother declined to comment.

"This is tragic news and my heart goes out to her mother," said attorney Preston Burton, who represented Deborah Jeane Palfrey in her trial.

A federal jury convicted Palfrey on April 15 of running a prostitution service that catered to members of Washington's political elite, including Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. She was convicted of money laundering, using the mail for illegal purposes and racketeering...

One of the escort service employees was former University of Maryland, Baltimore County, professor Brandy Britton, who was arrested on prostitution charges in 2006. She committed suicide in January before she was scheduled to go to trial.

Palfrey said last year that she, too, was humiliated by her prostitution charges, but said: "I guess I'm made of something that Brandy Britton wasn't made of."Hmmmm… so TWO different prostitutes who were involved with high-power senators and influential people in Washington DC commit “suicide” after being arrested. Hmmmm….

Once again, sounds like the opening hook for a thriller to me.

Anybody else have any?

akiwiguy
05-05-2008, 02:05 AM
A bit off-topic (as usual) but your idea is a really good one brokenfingers. But something that I find even more fascinating, and probably we should all be recording as writers, is strange sometimes mundane events that we see everyday.

Example: The other day I was in a service station pumping petrol into my car and I heard what was obviously a domestic argument start in another car. It was loud, and everyone was looking around to see the source of this woman swearing like crazy. Then as I turned my attention back to the task in hand I glanced up to see dozens of twenty dollar notes floating through the air and two guys running running around trying desperately to catch them. The woman had obviously made a gesture. Kind of mundane but out of the ordinary, and i thought "Now this is like a scene from a movie or something." All day I had this image of money floating through the air stuck in my mind.

Sorry, off topic, and perhaps it a different thread possibility, but as well as big news stories it would be interesting to hear what others have mentally recorded recently from their own ordinary day to day lives.

A.M. Wildman
05-05-2008, 02:17 AM
It seems like there’ve been some intriguing stories in the news lately that should have those with a writerly bent salivating.

To me, it seems like these news articles are just screaming “story” and allude to things behind the scenes that you and I are not privy to.

This thread is a place to post some true-life fodder for story ideas. You can comment on them and add your own spin etc or just give a brief quote of the story (please no links without an excerpt.)

Here are a few from headlines this weekend:


Authorities are investigating mysterious claims that a man killed by Houston police after a car chase was a CIA agent.
(http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353438,00.html)
Hmmmm… C'mon, tell me that doesn’t sound like an opening for a thriller.


Here's another one that intrigued me:

Police: 'D.C. madam' kills herself in Fla. coastal town (http://apnews.excite.com/article/20080502/D90D6PP80.html)

Hmmmm… so TWO different prostitutes who were involved with high-power senators and influential people in Washington DC commit “suicide” after being arrested. Hmmmm….

Once again, sounds like the opening hook for a thriller to me.

Anybody else have any?

I'm following both of those closely.

Here's an historical mystery.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24453831/

brokenfingers
05-05-2008, 02:17 AM
A bit off-topic (as usual) but your idea is a really good one brokenfingers. But something that I find even more fascinating, and probably we should all be recording as writers, is strange sometimes mundane events that we see everyday.

Example: The other day I was in a service station pumping petrol into my car and I heard what was obviously a domestic argument start in another car. It was loud, and everyone was looking around to see the source of this woman swearing like crazy. Then as I turned my attention back to the task in hand I glanced up to see dozens of twenty dollar notes floating through the air and two guys running running around trying desperately to catch them. The woman had obviously made a gesture. Kind of mundane but out of the ordinary, and i thought "Now this is like a scene from a movie or something." All day I had this image of money floating through the air stuck in my mind.

Sorry, off topic, and perhaps it a different thread possibility, but as well as big news stories it would be interesting to hear what others have mentally recorded recently from their own ordinary day to day lives.

No, that's perfect.

This thread is for any strange and interesting true-life stories that seem to be straight out of fiction. Regardless of source.

Your story's given me some ideas already. :D

brokenfingers
05-05-2008, 06:54 PM
Here's another one:

Louisiana Officials Investigate Death of Woman Found Hanging From Tree as Homicide (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353986,00.html)


RESERVE, La. — The death of a woman whose body was found hanging from a tree branch in this southeastern Louisiana town is being investigated as a homicide, although there is no evidence of foul play, authorities said.

An autopsy was ordered following Thursday's discovery of the body by a St. John the Baptist Parish employee who had just finished cutting grass in a canal.

The body had not been identified, said sheriff's Maj. Mike Tregre. Tregre said standard procedure calls for an initial homicide investigation.

The body, which was decomposing, was hanging from a tree limb not far off the ground, Tregre said.

The parish employee, Lonnie Ellis, who was driving a tractor, said he saw the woman hanging from a noose in a tree inside a wooded area.

"It stung me," Ellis said. "I wasn't sure and I got a co-worker to come back and take a look. We thought it was a joke."


A mysterious woman found dead and decomposing under a tree. That doesn't sound like the opening of a novel?

And one thing that struck me is the similarity to another short already written with a similar premise:

Hatchie Bottom (http://chizine.com/hatchie_bottom.htm) by Barry Hollander:



The tree became famous after Caleb Johnson found a body hanging from a branch.

In the South that typically meant another young black man swinging from a rope. Lynching season was not so distant a memory for some, but that morning it was not a black man hanging from a tree, but a white girl.

Lucky for him he wasn’t alone. In his boat sat two other men—white men, all the better—who had paid for his help in scouting out a camp they wanted to build as a base for hunting, fishing, and serious drinking beyond the frowns of wives and Baptist preachers.

“Damn,” said the banker perched on the bow. “Look, there’s a body.”

P.H.Delarran
05-06-2008, 02:08 AM
I received a postcard in the mail today, one of those missing kids/Have You Seen Me? cards, for a woman missing 50 years. (http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewPoster&caseNum=1075813&orgPrefix=NCMC&searchLang=en_US)
they age progressed her to age 64.
it's already got my story mill spinning.

talkwrite
05-06-2008, 04:07 AM
I live in Houston-(land of the really undercover CIA agents) and after Enron, all my out of town guests wanted to see the "new" landmarks-the Enron E sign, the trial of the woman who ran over her cheating husband in a Mercedes ( 6 times),the house where the woman stabbed her cheating husband 136 times, the club where Anna Nicole danced and more. Doesn't the rest of America live like this?

StephanieFox
05-06-2008, 06:15 AM
Okey-dokey. Here's what caught my attention:
"An autopsy was ordered following Thursday's discovery of the body by a St. John the Baptist Parish employee who had just finished cutting grass in a canal."

Cutting grass in an canal? Didn't the mower get waterlogged?

talkwrite
05-08-2008, 12:34 AM
Girlfriend killer loses appeal

**
2008-05-06 16:36:14.000
**
**

A 31-year-old Mississauga man found guilty of killing his girlfriend
more than seven years ago, has lost his bid to have his conviction and
subsequent life sentence overturned.
Janusz Rybak will continue to serve out the duration of his 10-year jail
sentence, which was imposed on him by Justice Ronald Thomas when a
12-member jury found him guilty of second degree murder back in November
of 2003. Following the prison term, Rybak will be on lifetime parole.
Court heard Rybak strangled to death his girlfriend, 36-year-old Eva
Papousek, in her North Service Rd. apartment on Oct. 28, 2000.
Papousek, a divorced mother, real estate agent and former exotic dancer,
had allowed Rybak to move into the apartment nearly two months before
she was killed.
Rybak appealed his case, saying the judge made several mistakes,
including not properly instructing the jury before they began
deliberations and failing to provide Rybak with enough "interpreter
assistance," as he didn't speak or understand English very well.
The appeal judges ruled however, that neither Rybak nor his lawyer,
complained about the interpreter appointed to him during preliminary
hearings and the subsequent seven-week trial.
"The trial record contains no complaint about the competence of the
interpreter, nor of the manner in which the interpretation was
provided," the judges said in their ruling, released today. "At no point
did (Rybak) claim any lack of understanding of the proceedings or of the
interpreter."
Rybak also argued that the trial judge didn't instruct the jury that
they must find that the accused "foresees a likelihood that death will
follow from the bodily harm" he is causing.
The appeal judges said that didn't matter, given the cause of death was
manual strangulation.
"In practical terms, when the nature and extent of the force required to
cause death by this mechanism is considered, the significance of the
definition of murder to (Rybak's) liability for murder fades into the
background," the judges said.
Crown prosecutors Michael Cantlon and Andrea Esson said Rybak killed his
girlfriend on out of rage that was fueled by alcohol and her rejection
of him.
Papousek, who used Zelenka as her last name in the real estate industry,
intended to end the relationship with Rybak the night she was murdered,
court heard.
But both had been drinking heavily that evening. Toxicology tests showed
Papousek was more than two times above the legal Blood Alcohol
Concentration limit.
"(The high level of) alcohol enhanced her vulnerability," Cantlon told
the judge. "She was an unarmed spouse. She was murdered in the sanctity
of her own home."
Rybak was arrested the next day, on Oct. 29, while being treated in an
Orillia hospital for minor injuries received when he rolled Papousek's
car at a speed of 145 kilometres an hour on Highway 400 north of Barrie.
He told police he was on his way to Casino Rama, but prosecutors said he
was fleeing the murder.
After finding Papousek's credit cards, jewelry, purse and other personal
items in Rybak's possession at the crash scene, police checked her
Mississauga apartment where they found her fully clothed body lying on
her bed about four hours later.
lrosella@mississauga.net <mailto:lrosella@mississauga.net%20>

Snowstorm
05-08-2008, 08:04 AM
A friend told me she was sitting in a Laramie, Wyoming, restaurant and watched a woman walk down the middle of the street and enter a cowboy bar. She was wearing a wedding dress.

My friend wrote an excellent story about this incident.

P.H.Delarran
05-08-2008, 08:09 AM
A friend told me she was sitting in a Laramie, Wyoming, restaurant and watched a woman walk down the middle of the street and enter a cowboy bar. She was wearing a wedding dress.

My friend wrote an excellent story about this incident.
:roll:
have to laugh.
not that uncommon for the region ;)
I'd love to read her story.

HeronW
05-14-2008, 09:26 PM
Just saw this on CNN news--a bust of Caesar found in the Rhone river in Arles. The bust shows him older, tired, real. Why was it tossed away? What else is hidden?

Pomegranate
05-14-2008, 11:26 PM
Yesterday I was sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to change. A really scroungy looking vagrant was crossing the street. (Leathery tan, gnarly beard, tattered clothes, carrying a big lumpy black plastic bag...) The car in the lane next to me was a nice sporty sedan driven by a young man with a shaved head and fancy sunglasses. He called out to the homeless man, who walked up to the driver's window. They exchanged a few words and the vagrant got in the back seat of the sedan. The light changed and we all drove away.

I couldn't help thinking that I'd probably never offer a ride to someone I didn't know (I'm assuming they were unacquainted due to their respective circumstances). I'd be afraid that I'd end up a murder statistic.

HeronW
05-15-2008, 02:03 AM
From CNN a few weeks ago, a girl was born in the back country of India with two faces. Both sets of features work, she eats and digests fine. They believe she's a goddess reborn. What if she is?

brokenfingers
05-17-2008, 02:16 AM
'Crazy' Ants Swarm Houston Area, Ruin Electronic Devices (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355741,00.html)

DALLAS — In what sounds like a really low-budget horror film, voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers.

The hairy, reddish-brown creatures are known as "crazy rasberry ants" — crazy, because they wander erratically instead of marching in regimented lines, and "rasberry" after Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who did battle against them early on.

"They're itty-bitty things about the size of fleas, and they're just running everywhere," said Patsy Morphew of Pearland, who is constantly sweeping them off her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful. "There's just thousands and thousands of them. If you've seen a car racing, that's how they are. They're going fast, fast, fast. They're crazy."

The ants — formally known as "paratrenicha species near pubens" — have spread to five Houston-area counties since they were first spotted in Texas in 2002.


Yes, folks – another sign of the impending apocalypse.

Ants going crazy?! And invading homes and electrical devices and causing havoc?

It's like something out of a Stephen King novel.




Man Visits Mother's Grave, Finds His Own Already Occupied Beside Her
(http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355662,00.html)
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A southwest Ohio man who planned to be buried next to his mother found someone else already in his grave.

David L. Bingham says someone who shares his name has taken over his final resting place in Colerain Township. He said he hadn't visited his mother's grave since 2005, but was surprised to find someone had been buried next to her in 2006.

Bingham said the cemetery called it an error and offered to move his mother, the other David Bingham or to have Bingham's cremated ashes buried between them. He says he rejected their options.

The two David Binghams are not related.


Another “horror” story here. The story begins with the protagonist visiting his mother’s grave – only to find his own now occupied! Madcap mayhem ensues! ;)



Children's Remains Exhumed in Hopes of Solving 100-Year-Old Serial Killer Mystery (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,355679,00.html)

University of Indianapolis researchers who are waiting for DNA test results that may identify the decapitated body of serial killer Belle Gunness have decided to exhume the 100-year-old remains of three children in hopes of finding a few more clues about the widow accused of murdering as many as 30 men, women and children, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The children, uncovered in an Illinois cemetery, are believed to have died in a house fire at Gunness’ LaPorte, Ind., farm that put authorities on the trail of the serial killer. After the blaze, police found 11 dismembered bodies buried on the property.

There has been suspicion that Gunness staged her death because her crimes were about to be uncovered, the Tribune reported.



What a great premise for a historical novel or even a prologue leading into a modern horror or thriller story.





Man Attacks Bus Driver, Attempts to Commandeer Vehicle (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,356285,00.html)

MILWAUKEE — Police in Milwaukee on Friday were searching for a man who tried to commandeer a transit bus after beating up the driver.

Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies on Thursday released surveillance video of a man in a red shirt and bandanna boarding the bus in Milwaukee Wednesday, then pummeling the driver while saying "Remember me?"

"The suspect got onto the bus with the sole intent of attacking the bus driver and then ultimately making the bus crash," Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke told FOX News.


Hahahahaha! This would make a nice short story! I wonder what the hell that bus driver did to the guy?!?! :D

Little Red Barn
05-17-2008, 02:20 AM
Fish almost kills Kimmi.
Yesterday's news though... ;)