The following is the fifth part of the F. Paul Wilson Interviews Repairman Jack series written by F. Paul Wilson. F. Paul Wilson, the New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack novels, lives in Wall, New Jersey. In 2008, he won the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mind Of The Geek would like to thank F. Paul Wilson for contributing this content. You can check out previous parts of the F. Paul Wilson Interviews Repairman Jack series at Literally Jen, Fade Into Fantasy, Horror Drive-In, and Horror World.
The Repairman Jack interview – Part 5
Continuing my talk with Repairman Jack in post-Nightworld New York, all pretty much trashed by the Otherness. I’m throwing in some questions asked by readers. Bear with me if he’s not all that cooperative.
He’s adamant about no more stories after Nightworld, so I’ve gone back and written a trilogy based on his first years in NYC, before he became That Guy. Cold City is the first.
Still at his table in the rear of Julio’s which is still functioning, though barely. Sunlight filters through the dead plants hanging in the shattered windows, and glints off the Free Beer Tomorrow… sign. (Today the beer’s free for me since Jack sprang for a couple of Yuenglings.)
FPW: On a subject similar to the Semmerling – what about Ralph?
RJ: My old Corvair? Same problem as the Semmerling: too identifiable. Bought it when I was twenty-two and quickly realized it was a dumb ride for a guy who wants to stay under the radar. Everybody noticed it. Imaging trying to tail someone in that thing. Good luck. I wound up keeping it garaged most of the time. Finally got smart and sold it to a collector.
FPW: For cash, of course.
RJ: Of course.
FPW: Okay, here’s another one from a reader: “How does he stay off the radar in the post 2001 security environment?”
RJ: Well, that “security environment” is all blown to hell now.
FPW: I’m sure he means between 9/11 and Nightworld.
RJ: I was fortunate to have been born before a Social Security number became mandatory as soon as you were born. When I worked as a teen, it was either for myself or off the books. Before 9/11, even if you had your own SSN and wanted to become
someone else, it wasn’t too hard. You latched onto the number of a dead guy who wasn’t in the SSDI –
FPW: The what?
RJ: The Social Security Death Index – it lists upwards of 90% of dead SSNs, but even in this day, lots of deaths go unreported. Especially if you know where the bodies are buried. You use that to establish a credit history by getting a credit card – sooo easy – and paying your bills promptly and to the penny. With money orders, of course.
FPW: Of course.
RJ: Fake ID – a driver license and such – can be purchased without to much hassle, though the better it is, the more it costs.
FPW: But after 9/11?
RJ: After 9/11 the hunt was on for terrorists. Everything got closer scrutiny. If, like me, you had identities established before the attack, you were okay. But after – a whole different story. And things got progressively worse as time went on. DNA technology
got better. Cameras started springing up everywhere. You pretty much couldn’t make a move without someone recording you. And onboard computers in cop cars made fake licenses of lesser quality highly vulnerable. Big Brother is here and he’s ugly as sin.
FPW: Some people think that’s a good thing, find it comforting.
RJ: Yeah. The I’ve-got-nothing-to-hide crowd. Which completely misses the point. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
FPW: Here’s one you’ll love: “Goku or Superman? Post-Crisis.”
RJ: (laughs) You do have geeky readers, don’t you.
FPW: I love all my readers, especially the geeks. But that’s not answering the question.
RJ: Post-crisis? Goku, of course. No question.
FPW: Now who’s the geek?
RJ: (shrugs) But ain’t I a cool geek?
RJ: What about the Mikulski brothers?
FPW: They’re in Cold City – major players, in fact.
RJ: You didn’t give them first names, did you?
FPW: You never told me their names.
RJ: That’s because to this day I don’t know them.
FPW: You told me they called themselves Deacon Blue and the Reverend Mr. Black. Why would I change them?
RJ: Because you tend to improvise if it suits you.
You catch part six of F. Paul Wilson’s Interview with Repairman Jack series on December 1 at Open Book Society.