Jason Breen   7 comments

We usually interview our good guys and gals when we do character interviews. How about we do an interview with our favorite bad guy?

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A Hard Prompt

I don’t really write a lot of bad-guy characters. In Transformation Project, the Big Bad is a world gone crazy in the grips of ongoing terrorist attacks and my town doesn’t know who might be the perpetrators (that’ll come later in the series). I figure my characters’ various reactions to society going off the rails is conflict enough and so I don’t really need a particular bad guy. But I do have characters who act in awful ways because … well, let’s ask Jason Breen why he is the way he is. Here’s an interview Click Michaels did with Jason. For his own safety, Click probably shouldn’t run this on his radio broadcasts.

The whole book series is premised on the idea that a small town in the Midwest must cope alone when terrorists attack major cities, shattering the communications and supply grid. It’s now January in Emmaus and things are looking bleak for the citizens of the town.

Jason Breen is Marnie Callahan Delaney’s father which makes him a shirt-tail relative of the Delaney family who are the main focus of the series.

The Interview

CLICK: Jason, thank you for talking with me today. As the town’s unofficial news source, I’m trying to get to know the residents and I’m curious about you. Tell me something about yourself.

JASON: Well, thanks for talking with me. My bark is bigger than my bite, I tell you. Let’s see — I own Liberty Trucking. I’m the father of two — used to be three. My company keeps the town supplied when we can find anything out in the world worth bringing home.

CLICK: That fascinates me. You’re a marauder?

JASON (Laughing): I prefer “provider.” I can get things the town can’t and it gives the town plausible deniability. They can throw us under the bus if someone comes to complain.

CLICK (chuckling): C’mon, man. You’re a highwayman.”

JASON: Sometimes. (shrugs) I prefer to engage in voluntary exchange if possible or to take what nobody seems to be claiming. That’s getting harder though. The last time we were out, we found a lot of other marauders. It’s not a safe world anymore. But Emmaus would become a lot more unsafe for my family if the townspeople couldn’t get what I can provide. Do you know how scarce antibiotics are now that China’s no longer sending them and pharmacists are no longer selling them?

CLICK: I like antibiotics. How did you get into that business?

JASON – Yeah — I was a mechanic for Frelander’s Garage. Had just had my son. Well, my ol’ lady had just had my son. I dropped a car off at this guy’s house. He didn’t answer the door, so I left the bill and the keys in the screen and headed home–or — well, I was young. I was probably headed to the bar — which I was legal by then. Anyway, I woke up at the crack of dawn to cops handcuffing me at gunpoint.

CLICK: Why?

JASON: The guy was dead. Someone beat the crap out of him. It must have been around the time that I dropped the car off.

CLICK: Was that the only reason they suspected you?

JASON: I didn’t know I knew him–we’d met at the bar a few weeks before and he got a little rowdy with one of the bartenders, so I kicked his butt. I guess something I said sounded like a threat. But I was over it as soon as he left the parking lot. I didn’t even really remember him by the time he died. But, there were people in town who liked me for it. They put me in county jail, wouldn’t let me have bail, basically found me guilty without the jury even deliberating. I went to Levenworth. But Jacob Delaney — you knew Jacob, right?”

CLICK: Of course.

JASON: He and Carl Sullivan — you knew him too?

CLICK: Yup.

JASON: They believed I was innocent, so they paid for a lawyer for an appeal and DNA evidence showed it wasn’t me. It took almost three years to get out though. And when I got out, nobody would hire me. Even though I’d been exonerated, I couldn’t find a job. My ol’ lady didn’t want to pull stakes — she’s got family here — but I was pretty sure I needed to leave the state or move to Kansas City or Denver to find a life again. That’s when Jacob stepped forward and gave me a lifetime lease of $1 a year or 1% of the profits on the land here by the airfield and he staked me a loan for my first truck.

CLICK: That sounds like a legit business. How’d you end up smuggling?

JASON: It wasn’t like that. When I was trying to find work, I started delivering cannabis to some of the towns and then once I had my truck, some folks asked if I’d haul booze. Do you know Kansas still has dry counties?

CLICK: No. That’s fascinating.

JASON: Of course, I guess it doesn’t matter now. There’s no real law but what we make now, right?

CLICK: I think Rob Delaney and your son-in-law might disagree.

JASON: You mean, they might pretend to disagree, but they’ll still not ask any questions when I show up with something they need.

CLICK: Tough times do change the view of the law, yeah.

JASON: Anyway, it was never a mainstay. Mostly we were a cartage company – moving furniture, hauling firewood or lumber, groceries for Huffman’s, materials for half the businesses in town. I was barely doing the booze at all except for a few old-time-sake customers and if my guys were making cannabis deliveries, that was on them – a little gravy for them from my meat-and-potatoes. Besides, it was legal in Colorado.

CLICK: So you have a reputation in town….

JASON: It’s not deserved. (Stares at the ceiling, chuckles) Yeah, maybe it is a little. I don’t much care for all those people who judge me. It’s my life and I wasn’t guilty. Stop looking down your noses at me. So, I guess maybe I’m a little gruff, pushy even.

CLICK: Didn’t you threaten to kill Shane Delaney when he helped to put your son in prison?

JASON: Yup, and he richly deserved the threat, though I’m glad I didn’t go through with it. I’ve never killed anyone and I don’t think I want to.

CLICK: What if the town needed you to help with defense?

JASON: Nah. I’d defend my compound, but the town’s on its own.

CLICK: I’ve heard people say you’re a libertarian.

JASON: Yeah … kind of. I believe in liberty, hence my company name. But obviously I violate the non-aggression principle outside the borders of the town, so I can’t really claim I’m a libertarian. But, here’s the thing — I figure if people don’t value their stuff enough to defend it, I might as well benefit from it. You lean to be practical in prison. Ain’t nobody innocent in there, not even the ones that are not guilty of the crime they were incarcerated for.

CLICK: Your son did about five years for conspiracy to commit treason. Was he guilty?

JASON: Of shooting his big mouth off? Sure. What 18-year-old isn’t? Of acting conspiring to overthrow the government? Naw. The militia were just preparing for the collapse when it came. And turned out they were right. Is that treason or just good future-gazing?

CLICK: What about now?

JASON: Josh is doing his own thing and I don’t ask. When they’re adults, you gotta stop asking.

CLICK: Was that your rule with your daughters?

JASON: Marnie’s like her mother. Callahan women are a force of nature. Marie never got to be an adult and I don’t want to discuss her.

CLICK: How do you think the future is going to work out?

JASON: We’ll have a future. Life as we knew it is in transition right now, but the world will go on. That’s why I’m trying to keep my neighbors supplies with food. I don’t want to be living in the middle of nowhere all alone. Can’t get a lot of customers that way.

CLICK: Thanks for talking with me.

JASON: Sure. Just, you know, be respectful about what you run about me and I’ll stay friendly like.

CLICK (laughs nervously): Absolutely. I might not even use this interview.

JASON: That might be a healthy choice.

Posted December 15, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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7 responses to “Jason Breen

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  1. Jason has an odd sense of almost-but-not-quite loyalty, I’d say.

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    • He does. He’s definitely has some sociopathic tendencies. But a guy like him is essential for a community during the apocalypse. Someone has to be willing to go out, take the risk, grab what doesn’t belong to them and bring it home. And it highlights the hypocrisy of modern society. We don’t steal when we live in abundance, but we don’t ask questions when that food is life and death. Jason points out that the Delaneys and all the other “good folk” of the town just want to survive. They wouldn’t do this themselves, but they’re more or less okay with him doing it for them. So long as they can pretend they don’t know.

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  2. That’s a nice insight, the definition of truth, of right and wrong, is always flexible. One mans hero and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Texas has dry counties, too. Nice convo.

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    • Alaska has dry villages too. It’s easier for them because everything has to come in by airplane or boat. There’s a fair number of states that allow counties to vote themselves dry. People still drink, they just have to drive 20 miles or whatever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used that bit once, the drive for vice. It’s crazy, I’d drive through east Texas and two feet across a county line there’s a neon drive through liquor. Store, toothless topless bar and a roadhouse.

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