The history behind “In The Loop”

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THE STORY IN BRIEF
Morris’ life begins to unravel as he confronts a weird passenger in his car.

HOW IT WAS WRITTEN
In some ways, “In The Loop,” the fifth story in The History of Soul 2065, is one of the most autobiographical stories in this book. For the last six months or so of my father’s life, I spent the greater part of my days (and some nights) driving back and forth to accompany my parents to doctors’ offices, then to sit with my father in hospital rooms, and then to help care for him at home when aides either didn’t show up or couldn’t be found.  And then, eventually, to help with all the errands demanded after a death. It all became a numb blur of trips back and forth.

Occasionally, I wished (rather guiltily) for some kind of escape. Or for everything that I, and my family, was going through to be done with and part of our past. From that came this story.

“In the Loop” was accepted by Descant, a quarterly Canadian literary publication that was looking for stories for its Fall 2003 special science fiction issue. The magazine, which had started publication in 1970, shut down in 2015.

He was not surprised that there was an hallucination sitting next to him in his Honda Civic on the side of the Belt Parkway, although perhaps he should have been.

In the Loop

NOTES ON THE PEOPLE
As described above, Morris’ experiences are not completely fictional. However, Morris is. As is his visitor.

NOTES ON THE PLACE
Morris is driving along the Belt Parkway, which runs along the west and southern shores of Brooklyn. There are a few rest stops along the parkway that lead onto small parks along the shore or, in a couple of cases, actual beaches. At the time this was written, which was in the early 2000s, these rest stops were not terribly well maintained. From what I’ve seen, things have improved slightly since then, although I’ve still seen a lot of litter on the parking lot and beaches, especially in the summer months.

The shopping center mentioned is the Gateway Center in East New York, which took several years to be built and finally opened in 2002.

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