Monday, January 28, 2008

Rene C. Clayton - Private Eye

Back in the day when I wanted to be a mystery writer, I created a black gay detective: Rene C. Clayton. ("The 'C' is for 'Christopher' and no --- 'Rene' isn't a girl's name.") Rene was located in Washington, D.C. He lived in an efficiency in Dupont Circle. He was addicted to coffee. He would never wear slacks and god forbid --- a tie! He supplemented his dead end job with freelance graphics projects. Deadbeats would often stiff him. He'd have to use his wits to track them down. Stake-outs were a breeze. He knew how to find a clue. He could get out of a jam. He was in an on again/off again relationship with his ex, who masqueraded as his side kick. His best friend was hot. He had a crush on an older straight police detective whose feelings toward him were more brotherly. His "muscle" was his lesbian gal-pal. His father always worried too much and his little brother was pesky. And, because he'd read too many Nancy Drew books as a child, he often saw a mystery in everything.
Rene never really made his dynamic debut as I'd always envisioned. There's a completed novel (which feels extremely dated now), an unfinished novel (which was actually going pretty well), a ton of incomplete short stories and a bunch of drawings. One story though, "Justifiable Disappearance" was actually published online by Blithe House Quarterly many, many years ago. Who really remembers what happened after that? I think life just got in the way. But, Rene C. Clayton has always been in my heart. He's sitting there, impatiently tapping his foot, waiting to spring into action. And who knows? Maybe he'll return in some other form. Most likely as a comic strip.

Rene helping a gay youth escape!
Rene, not so lucky himself. Captured, bound with his own coat and tossed into the back seat of an abandoned car!!!
Rene --- in a dangerous situation!!!
Rene --- investigating a drive by shooting.

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