Location, Location, Location

Much of Pirates of the White Sand takes place in a diner/bar on a lonesome stretch of highway. I don’t mind a few other buildings around, perhaps a gas station maybe even a fleabag motel. Urban is right out. Little outposts like that used to dot the highway along the famous Route 66, back in the day when half the fun was getting there. Now Interstate freeways have been cut across the land, draining the life and the commerce from the smaller roads, replacing Ruthie’s diner with a drive-through window where quality is measured in seconds.

Still, I figured there must be something around here that came reasonably close to that description. Maybe on the outskirts of town, where buildings get sparse but there are still people nearby. Maybe along some 2-lane blacktop that allows savvy motorists to cut a corner and save a few miles.


There are some restaurants out there, big contrived things built to appeal to yuppie bikers and Sunday drivers. There are few of those, but they outnumber the crappy dives. We’re not looking for either of those, so now we are going to construct one. Yep, that’s right, unless a location miracle happens in the next couple of days, we will begin the task of converting a somewhat suitable cafe into a diner. Ahhh, the miracle of film. Need a counter? Put one in. We’ll have to be able to remove it during the cafĂ©’s regular business hours. No problem, apparently. Alas, no matter how much we dinerize the place, it’s still lacking, especially the exterior shots.

So I was back from the Black Hole, and searching for the miracle location, when I got the call from our part-time editor, Charles the First. (Charles II is a camera operator.) First Chuck was calling with (for me) good news. He had suddenly and unexpectedly become unemployed, and wanted to celebrate. I considered, and realized that there were several important issues I needed to discuss, in particular if they could somehow edit out the big, busy freeway that went right past one potential location. (“No problem”, 1st Chuck said, but I’d have to see it to believe it.) I invited Bonnie along, but she wisely demurred. We went our separate ways and after I armed myself with a twelve-pack of ESB I was on my way.

1st Chuck was in fine fettle, and had a good head start on me in the drinking department. It was a lead he would never relinquish. Ken was there as well, and 1st Chuck’s mother substitute/landlord. 1st Chuck fired up the barbecue and one rack of ribs later we were all feeling just fine. We stayed up too late and I slept on their couch, where I was visited in the night by giant dogs.

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