"The Wire" Tour Re-cap: How Quality Research Impacts Storytelling

I learned very early on as I was finding my way to the court room, that it was imperative for me to visit and study the scene where anything pertinent to a case had occurred.

Oftentimes, there would be one or more tangible things that came to the fore, substantive things such as heights, distances, colors, signage, lighting and the like.

Sometimes, you’d find a witness or someone who knew something about what happened at the scene of the crime.

Even if there weren’t such things, I could simply get a sense of the place and initiate thinking about how the facts, as they were known, fit into the space of the place. If you just ‘see it’, it so greatly enhances your chances of ‘getting it right’.

As I’m now writing the sequel to my first novel, FRIDAY CALLS, I have several segments of the story structure that will lead a few of my characters to Baltimore. They will not be going to Charm City as saints or benefactors. Rather, they will most likely be up to no good.

As Baltimore was the locale for the iconic HBO series, ‘The Wire’, a wonderful tutorial on drugs, homicide and the crooked, rotten underbelly of a city teetering on anarchy and lawlessness, I needed to know and see more.

I found my new friend James and his Charm City ‘Wire' Tour online and was able to verify its legitimacy and its thoroughness. I booked on with James about two months ago and flew into D.C. a couple weeks ago. I took an Uber up to Maryland one morning and off we went for a five hour look-see, up into the wasteland that is northwest Baltimore.

He showed me bad neighborhoods, worse neighborhoods, murder sites, strangulation sites, police substations, strip clubs, bars, taverns, cemeteries, and scores of hollowed out, marginalized human beings who had given up on the system and basically dropped out of the game save for hanging around, hanging out, grifting, stealing, dope and violence in all forms, large and small.

It was fascinating and very sad too. The blight seemed so endless and hopeless. These places and these people are society’s discards. Along the way of the day, I learned a great deal about the business of illegal drugs.

As a quick footnote, if you don’t have time to watch the six-plus seasons of ‘The Wire’ (And I think you should as it is Classic Crime Television!), go to YouTube and spend an hour and a half watching, ‘The Avon Barksdale Story/Legends of the Unwired'. It’ll get you nicely up to speed.

James told me that Baltimore is rotting out from the center, that corruption is rife from top to bottom, and that no one trusts anyone. The future of future is bleak.

So, as I continue my writing on the sequel entitled, YOU HAVE YOUR WAY, I continue to develop a greater understanding of the distance between the Haves and The Have-Nots and also, the human capacity for regular, day to day venality no matter how large or small.

As the oft-quoted New York cab driver’s creed goes: Whenever they say it’s not about the money, you can go to be bank and be sure that it is.

I’m looking forward to having something new for you all in the next few months. Fair to say, I’m excited about it!

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