“North To Alaska” – 52 Pickup, #42

Question #42, 2/26/19

Beth Cook:
“I still want to (hear) about “the lost years” when Walt and Henry were adjusting to being civilians after the war. We know Walt was in Alaska and Henry in France. I‘m sure Walt found a mystery to solve.”


After Vietnam, Walt and Henry took separate paths—Henry was drawn to civilization via contacts he had met in Southeast Asia, finally coming to rest in France. I’ve got a novel in my head that takes place in the modern day but takes them both to France and involves, of course, a woman…

Walt, on the other hand, ventures to the ends of the Earth first to Johnston Atoll, at the pleasure of the Provost Marshal, puttering around a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—in essence, the Marine Corp puts him someplace where they think he can’t get into trouble. Long-haired and living in a shack alongside a rarely used runway in a Duke Kahanamoku Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and some tire tread flip-flops, Walt surfs and feeds the sharks meat scraps, checking to make sure the padlocks are closed on the largest chemical warfare stockpile in the western world. What could possibly go wrong?

Then there’s another novella I’ve started about Walt’s experiences in Alaska, specifically when Henry comes up to visit him while he’s providing security on an oil rig in the North Slope, entitled Tooth And Claw. There’s a geographic survey that will take them to the far reaches of a preserve, which Henry thinks would be a good idea to get Walt off the rig and not drinking.

I like circling around and telling what I sometimes refer to as creation stories, or the episodes that assembled the characters that we’ve gotten to know. The novellas are a different breed of cat with a much faster pace than a full-fledged novel, but I enjoy working in another format sometimes.

There are other ideas that I’ve got folders for, but those will have to wait until these are done.

—-Craig Johnson


2 thoughts on ““North To Alaska” – 52 Pickup, #42

  1. Exploring Walts life and Henry’s life before The Cold Dish, USC, USMC VIETNAM, is something I look forward to with relish.


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