An Unexpected Interview with the Incomparable Luis Ortiz

He shows up when he feels like it

Paul Combs


Photo by Ricardo Dominguez on Unsplash

I mentioned in an article yesterday about finishing the first draft of my next novel that the characters simply will not shut up. As if to prove me right beyond all doubt, this morning while I was toiling happily away on the next ode to the great Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen, one of those characters showed up in my office, insisting that my next article be an interview with him.

Let me be clear, lest you question my mental stability more than you already have, that while my characters talk to me, I don’t actually see them, except in my mind. But when you spend months, sometimes years, with even fictional people, they have a way of becoming part of your life.

This particular character is one that’s been around for a while, since long before the publication of my first novel, The Last Word, in 2014. In fact, Luis has been yammering at me since the early 1990s, and in all that time he still has not grasped that I cannot understand him when he speaks to me in Spanish. He plays a fairly small yet entertaining role in the first novel, becoming a more prominent player in each successive one. I don’t mention this fact to him, as his ego barely fits in the room already.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce the one, the only: Luis Ortiz.

Me: Good morning, Luis.

Ortiz: Good morning, bro.

Me: So what exactly are you so eager to talk about?

Ortiz: My new novel, of course.

Me: I think you mean my new novel.

Ortiz: You are merely a poorly paid scribe; I am the star. Now, Jorge Luis Borges…he was a writer.

Me: Actually, you’re a fairly minor character in the books.

I can see that saying this is a huge mistake. Ortiz is indignant, and rises from his chair (at least in my mind I see him rise from a chair).

Me: Where are you going?

Ortiz: Ortiz is never a minor character. Remove me from your silly little plot and watch everything fall apart. I am the straw that stirs the drink.



Paul Combs

Writer, bookseller, would-be roadie for the E Street Band. My ultimate goal is to make books as popular in Texas as high school may take a while.