You can’t see us unless you read us. You can’t know him until you know us.

This morning there’s only three vying for his undivided attention, a smaller crowd than usual. It’s 4 a.m. Michael is the handsome, moody teenager leaning against the wall in the far corner. Scary Larry is a serial rapist and he’s licking the lipstick off the filter end of a Virginia Slims. I’m Andrew Barnett, an Anglican priest, standing beside a solitary lamp lighting a desk that Andrew Dabar, our writer and creator, rarely uses except for editing. He writes our stories lying flat on his stomach; he maintains this position all morning and worries that the hours-long smashing of his pelvis against the floor will eventually lead to ED. TMI? Never! Not in Mr. Dabar’s world.

I myself was born on paper the day Andrew heard a child screaming like he was on fire–only it was something worse. I found myself (literally for the first time in my paper life) running down a secluded path and straight into the arms of a monster. What I witnessed that day changed me. Andrew summed it up in one word: SNAP. It was that bad.

I snapped. He’s the one who snapped me. He does things like that. He breaks things and people and puts them back together again. It’s about redemption. I have yet to be redeemed. Andrew’s not finished with me. He’s made me a mercenary–killing human devils in the name of the Lord–bringing the lost children home.

It’s fun to watch Andrew Dabar approach his laptop with bed head and only one eye open in the morning. He transforms. Soon both eyes are wide–entranced–as he makes me act on what he sees, what he knows, and what he feels. Sometimes he breathes heavy (I wish he would brush his teeth). Sometimes he cries (don’t tell him I told you). He’s always remembering–trying to process, reconcile, or rationalize what he does–trying to save others from being permanently broken, especially himself. That’s why I’m his favorite character (sorry Michael, sorry Larry); he’s got a lot to confess and he’s praying for exoneration and redemption through me.

My wife Penny doesn’t care for Andrew because he ruined our marriage with that underground railroad of his. “His marriage is ruined and now he wants to ruin ours,” she said. I don’t believe that for one minute.

Andrew likes to drink when he writes. If I were a real priest I would tell him to knock it off or at least share. Sometimes, an authorial buzz makes my life crazy; at other times, vodka puts Andrew to sleep in the middle of a scene and I’m frozen in book time until the next day. I don’t like that.

I want to say more but Andrew is very private. If you want to know more about him, you’ll have to read what he writes. It’s all there–the facts are in the fiction.

Bless you, dear reader.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

______________

Andrew Barnett (from the popular short story, “Black and White”)