I’ve always dug the liner notes.
And I’ve always wanted to provide something in addition to the stories that I publish. I’ve seen some writers do it in their books. Well, I’ve got no short story collection. Just a few shorts out here and there. I figured Lou’s Version would be a good place to start writing some extras. It’s a favorite of of mine and it ended up on a podcast that I dearly love.
So, here we go.
The story itself is heavily inspired by a documentary titled, Rats (2016). I highly suggest it. If you dig the rats in the story, then I think you’ll get a kick out of the film. It’s terrifying.
Lou comes from one of the people interviewed in the film. I think I may have even stolen his first name. That may have been an accident. My dad’s name is Lou and, regardless of any one in the film, I wanted to name my main character after my father. Some of the mannerisms are attributed to him (not the killing). If you’re wondering, he quite liked being the main character. In some strange way, he was honored.
Rats was the beginning of the idea. I’ve never found rats to be particularly terrifying. They pop up in Lovecraft (rats in the walls and all that) and there are some Stephen King stories that use rats effectively. For me, I never had the inclination to use them. They felt like an overused trope.
But then Rats and an idea. I can’t tell you much else about it. It’s just how it came out on the page. You’ll think I’m strange, but the story really wrote itself. Lou felt like a character I knew in my head. Even if I had avoided rats, I’ve always been fascinated by a killer’s confessions.
Which brings me to another major source of inspiration. The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer (1992).
Whether it was good parenting or not, my parents must have watched The Iceman Tapes a dozen times when I was growing up. Richard Kuklinski. A true madman. As icy as his nickname.
I don’t know why but I always remembered that old documentary. I don’t know that I ever meant to write a character like Kuklinski, but I can’t say that I didn’t either. He’s a giant piece of shit, but damn he’s compelling.
Lou Sheehan and his rats and his long kill-list is my Richard Kuklinski. A guy who murdered countless people and then had the gall to go on TV to brag about it.
I wrote this story right before the pandemic. I kind of forgot about it. Now, I wonder if there are other stories for Lou. I don’t know. I never know.
The only other thing I can tell you is the trucking company where Lou takes his victims is based on a real trucking company. I grew up on a country road and a man named Schuck (Schuckie to the locals) ran a small trucking business out of a huge, decrepit old barn. In fact, I used to get the bus on the corner right on the edge of his lot. I figured something secluded and non-assuming would be perfect for the type of work Lou meant to do.
In the end, Lou’s Version is a big moment for me. I know it amounts to about 40 minutes of kick-ass narration. But it’s a story I love and one that really cemented for me that I could write. For better or worse, I could write.
I truly hope you enjoyed it.