James Bailey is the author of Man Interrupted a Los Angeles Times Bestseller. Man Interrupted is based on Mr. Bailey’s life long struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. After recovering, he was encouraged by his friend Mel Brooks to write as Mel felt James was a very talented and creative person. James met Mel Brooks when he was a struggling young actor.
James resides in both Louisiana and California where he continues to write and act.
Charmer Lewis had the looks of a male model and the smarts of a Harvard student. One would think he would be on top of the world, but that was not the case. Even as a small boy, he was always wondering why he was on this planet and the true meaning of his existence. He excelled in sports, but never enjoyed them. Not really. A home run or a strikeout never affected him like his peers. He was a beautiful man, with many female admirers, but had no real interest in anyone or anything His whole family died in a car crash when he was in his late teens, and, although saddened this happened, he really never had a deep connection with any of them. All of these things started to go round and round his brain until one morning, he got up and decided he had to do something drastic. Hence, he walked out of Harvard and stuck his thumb out at the nearest highway. Not soon after his trip takes him to uncharted territory when an escaped mental patient he encounters at a local diner accidentally shoots and kills the waitress who serves them. Now he not only has an unwanted guest to accompany him, but the fiance of the now deceased waitress, who just happens to be the local sheriff, in hot pursuit. During this journey he runs into a cast of quirky and unforgettable characters who believe that happiness for them could be found at the 50th anniversary of the Roswell UFO crash or in a pint of Vodka.
I had stood on the side of the highway with my thumb up, waiting for a ride headed west. I was in Louisiana. One could ask why I was there. I, Charmer Lewis on the other hand, would answer, and only to myself, why not?
A few years back I met this girl from Europe, and she was bicycling all across America by herself. I asked why she would take such an undertaking, especially alone. She replied, “Why not?” The beautiful European girl was right. I would never ask anyone again their motivation for whatever challenge or adventure they were undertaking.
“You meet interesting people when you travel alone,” I said to the girl as we were about to part ways.
“Exactly,” said the young woman. Even though I meant what I said, I was also trying to give her confidence about being alone.
Hey, when you are standing alone in the middle of nowhere, you have plenty of time to reflect on past experiences. I had been at that location for about a half hour and decided to cross the highway and stick my thumb in the opposite direction.
I was a very impulsive hitchhiker, and yes, I was thinking, “WHY NOT?”
A loud commotion across the way suddenly caught my attention. A pack of vultures were devouring a dead dog. The Louisiana heat was so intense that day, that some of the dog’s entrails were literally frying on the asphalt. The wind was blowing, but offered no relief.
I remembered some guy from Arizona telling me once, “Charmer, the wind blowing on a hot day in the desert is like sticking your face in front of a hair dryer.”
I decided this day that when I passed this story on, I would add Louisiana to it.
From the horizon, I saw a car approaching westbound. I quickly grabbed the little duffel bag I was carrying and jumped to the other side of the highway. A loud crack of thunder suddenly exploded in the distance, momentarily diverting my attention from the oncoming car.
Ominous clouds seemed to pop out of nowhere. My gaze shifted quickly back and forth, from the clouds to the oncoming car. Almost in a panic, I moved my thumb up and down as the car got closer and closer.
The driver of the vehicle seemed to slow down almost as if he or she was checking me out. Whoever it was looked very old. I made my way toward the car, but before I got near the door, it sped off.
“Screw you!” I shouted.
The weather was no excuse for my angry temperament. I knew better. Patience is the one and only real rule of hitchhiking. That said, I was not a patient man.
I was not your usual transient in many ways. How many guys who went to Harvard would be on the highway with their finger stuck up their bunghole hoping for ride? I had told an acquaintance once that I was going to ride the highways of life, hoping to stumble on the reason for my existence. If that endeavor was accomplished, I would write a book about it. I believe, at the time, I said it because it sounded cool.
The lighting exploded again. I was not afraid of much, but for some reason I was terrified of lighting. That said, I was more terrified of living than dying.
The lighting exploded again, and I could see a tree limb falling. I anxiously looked around again before crossing the highway, and began hitchhiking back the other direction. SHIT! The lighting exploded right behind me, and I felt a weird feeling behind my head. I took off running toward an abandoned field.
Best place to buy your book