Who’s Who and What’s What in the 318
As the dude writing this fictional series of the trials and tribulations befalling men and women in a place with which many of you are familiar, I sometimes forget that the characters leading these colorful lives are ultimately most familiar to me. Additionally, because so much time passed between the series of cliffhangers that concluded the third part of Stories from the 318 and the beginning of part four, several people expressed the need for some sort of character guide.
If you have not read the first sixteen chapters of this series, several major plot points are revealed below.
STORIES FROM THE 318
CAST of CHARACTERS
Trystan Alexander Van Meyer
As the stories open, Trystan is a 34-year-old professional living in the upstairs portion of a shared house on Gladstone Boulevard, in the heart of the Highland area. As the stories’ central character, most of what begins late one hot, summer night in Shreveport is happening as the result of something from Trystan’s past, but the true nature of this secret has not yet been revealed. After Trystan receives a series of frank and overtly threatening text messages from an unknown number, he makes a drastic decision that sets in motion the chain reaction of events that are currently transpiring.
When his suicide attempt is thwarted in a last minute save from one of his closest friends, many of the people in his life gather at a Level One Trauma Center to pray for his safety. After slashing his wrists and forearms with an old-fashioned straight razor, Trystan is committed to the hospital for a seventy-two hour hold during which time a Caddo Parish Coroner will have to come to assess his condition to determine whether or not a lengthier hold is necessary.
Trystan is a generally friendly guy who has very solid, interconnected circles of friends, and all of them are totally shocked because everyone thought that he had come a long way and was living a good life; however, it soon becomes clear that Trystan was selective with who in his life had certain details of his personal dalliances. For instance, his best friend had no idea that he was dating a much younger guy.
Trystan Van Meyer’s much younger boyfriend, Walker is a student at Centenary College who will be graduating in December with a degree that he considers basically useless. His plans to begin a secondary degree program at Louisiana Tech in Ruston have been recently complicated by the fact that he has met and fallen in love with someone he considers the love of his life.
Raised in a staunchly conservative family, Walker has kept his sexuality a secret from everyone in his life and it was only by chance that he was introduced to Trystan at a recent Texas Avenue Maker’s Fair by a mutual friend who had a feeling that – if he were gay – he would really make a connection with the guy he now finds himself dating. Walker is a young man with several deviant behaviors, one of which includes spying on his neighbors through a window telescope. Coincidentally, before they met, one of his favorite people to watch while pursuing sexual arousal was Trystan.
When Walker receives text messages and communication similar to that which befell his boyfriend, his attempts to contact Trystan lead to his discovery of the attempted suicide. His meeting with Mrs. Van Meyer is awkward and reserved as he is torn between his passion for her son and his desire to keep her personal life private.
Susan Elizabeth Dupree
One of Trystan’s closest friends, Susan is the single, successful daughter of a prominent Shreveport dermatologist. She’s recently bought a nice house in South Highlands and has a strained relationship with her father who left her mother in disgrace following a divorce and subsequent marriage to a woman that Susan despises.
Susan is prone to odd, somewhat clairvoyant visions of the past, present, and future, and the people in her life know that these strange feelings that she gets often come to fruition. On Thursday morning, Susan goes out for her normal, daily run when she is overcome by an overwhelming sense that something is very wrong and it involves her beloved buddy, Trystan. In the midst of the vision, she vomits on the jogging trail near Marilynn’s Place and dashes home in an attempt to contact Trystan.
While at her house, Susan also attempts to contact a recent one night stand as she realizes that her spates of vomiting may be indicative of early pregnancy. When her communication with Trystan is not returned, she dashes off to the house on Gladstone to find Trystan bleeding and incoherent on the floor of his shower.
Once Trystan is transported via EMS, Susan pockets the collection of suicide notes she found on the table outside his bedroom door and joins his mother and another close friend at the hospital.
Parker is the mutual friend who introduced Walker and Trystan at the Maker’s Fair. Along with several others, she has known Susan and Trystan for the majority of her life, having grown up together and gone to all the same schools.
A dedicated and hard-working sociology student, Parker is also a recovering alcoholic who has grown closer to Trystan than ever before as both of them share addictive personalities, long-standing battles with alcohol and an assortment of other drugs, and the friendship that has increased since she was the person who introduced him to Walker.
As part of her senior year project, Parker recently conducted a series of interviews on the private sex lives of Shreveport-Bossier men she met after posting an ad on Craigslist. Trystan agreed to be her test subject, and the details of his interview are slowly revealed throughout the chapters of these stories. When Parker returns from a trip late Wednesday night, she discovers that everything associated with these interviews, including the laptop containing the recorded files, is missing from her apartment. Not only has she lost the months of work that she invested in this endeavor, but she realizes that whoever has the laptop is in possession of the very personal details in the lives of the male subjects she swore to protect.
While seated in the emergency room waiting area, Susan smells alcohol heavily on Parker’s breath and realizes from her overall presence and demeanor that Parker has relapsed. Susan still intends to give Parker the envelope Trystan left for her and whisks her away to the bathroom to make the transaction and to ask whether or not Walker is someone Trystan has been seeing. Their hallway encounter is interrupted by the arrival of another very close friend with whom they have all grown up.
Bryan Blackthorne returned to the sprawling grounds occupied by his family late Wednesday night after working out at a twenty-four hour gym and hooking up with an as-yet unknown character with whom he has been having a quiet, but peaceful affair. From Bryan’s thoughts and actions, it seems clear that he is a good and decent man at heart. He lives in a self-sufficient apartment converted from his family’s pool house and he nostalgically falls asleep wondering whether or not it’s possible that he is falling in love. His reverie is so intense that it carries him off to sleep and leads to his eventual dismissal of a late-night text message that was sent in a similar vein to those received by multiple other characters.
One of the gang who grew up with Parker, Susan, and Trystan, Bryan has weaved in and out of their lives over the past few years for a variety of reasons. He has unresolved resentments towards Parker for the difficulties that he endured during the depths of her alcoholic behavior, and he had a secret sexual friendship with Trystan all through their high school and college days. Additionally, Bryan recently slept with Susan in a moment of carelessness and may be the father of her baby, though he doesn’t yet know that.
On Thursday morning, Bryan checks his phone and discovers that he received messages from his mother, who he marvels at being up oddly late yet again and from an unknown number that he dismisses as having gotten the wrong person; and early morning messages from Susan asking him to meet for coffee later and from his sister, Claudia, who is on her way to town for a wedding.
When Bryan goes to the bathroom to empty his bladder, he is overcome by a sudden excruciating sensation upon urination that leaves him breathless, scared, and on his way to the hospital to get checked out.
Running through the long list of things that he could be suffering from, he is totally shocked to run into Parker and Susan in one of the hospital’s hallways.
He is even more shocked by the amount of blood all over Susan’s clothing.
Bryan’s sister, Claudia, is on her way back into town to attend a big, weekend-long wedding and she is clearly looking forward to hanging out with her brother.
Claudia is the one of the few people who knows about his past relationship with Trystan as she is mentioned to have walked in on the two of them while they were in high school.
Additionally, Claudia had a brief romance with Parker Matheson and was integral in organizing one of the interventions made in an attempt to get the girl sober.
Bryan’s mother. She is also acquainted with the parents of her son and daughter’s closest companions.
Her long-standing friendship with Susan’s new stepmother was cut short when her secret addiction to crystal meth was discovered in the dressing room of an upscale shop in Dallas.
Melora Van Meyer
Trystan’s mother. She is incredibly devastated by her son’s suicide attempt and questioning all of his closest friends with prayers that he hasn’t fallen back into the drug addiction that she helped pull him through.
In a tender moment, she has the opportunity to meet her son’s boyfriend before being called back to see Trystan’s condition.
Dr. Nathaniel “Nate” Dupree
The affair that he had wrecked his marriage, led to a messy divorce, and now has his daughter barely speaking to him.
He is now stuck in a loveless marriage to a woman that he realizes only married him for his money and seems to be keeping from him a variety of secrets, including an affair and an opiate dependence.
Kate is a woman who is pretty much universally disliked by everyone. Vain and surface-oriented, she has obviously manipulated her way to having the appearance of a perfect, storybook life. With a freshly built house in northern Bossier and a husband who is a doctor, Kate has worked her way to getting everything she could ever have dreamed of possessing, but she doesn’t seem to have many friends. The woman she was always closest to, Mignonne Blackthorne, was revealed to be cheap and trashy when Kate discovered her smoking meth and she clearly no longer loves her husband. In fact, she seems to be repulsed by him.
With a mounting dependence on narcotic painkillers and a recently ended affair with one of her stepdaughter’s boyfriends who was also her drug dealer, Kate has now found herself spending her nights in the arms of a much younger man in the Dupree pool house and relegated her husband to sleeping in another bedroom down the hall from her own.
After an early morning shower, Kate barely acknowledges her husband and heads out to meet up with the person supplying her with the little blue bunnies for which she has such a fondness.
The horny emergency room physician who signs the death certificate for one patient and the commitment form for another all during one very busy shift in a Shreveport Level One Trauma Center.
The young emergency room nurse who is trying to hold it all together while getting hit on by Dr. Sheridan and trying to find the time to take a smoke break.
A Centenary student who lives across the hall from Parker and upstairs from Blair. Late for a meeting with her adviser, Jamie discovers Parker’s laptop returned outside her door, but doesn’t think much of it as she rushes off to her appointment.
When a bloody, dying woman is wheeled into the emergency room, he is the first investigator on the case and the man who Blair presents with the woman’s identification bearing the name of Kate Dupree.
Hypersexual and exceedingly randy, Patrick drives his black Jetta down Shreveport-Barksdale Highway to meet up with a dude on his lunch break.
The two have been texting all morning and Patrick is eager to make the most of his one-hour lunch in the confines of his apartment near Shreve City. When Patrick invites his gentleman caller in for an early afternoon of sex and sweat, he has no idea that he’s opening the door to his death.
Now you’re ready for Part IV.
Chapters 17 and 18 are already out and Stories from the 318 will return next Wednesday with a new chapter and new revelations in the lives of these wacky men and women. I hope you enjoy.