Ronald Raydon Stories

Jason Torchinsky is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist and writes for the Onion News Network. He lives with a common-law wife, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.

On my way to my neighborhood auto parts store one morning, I saw a diminutive, shabby, bearded man standing by the side of the road with an armload of papers. As I approached, I saw a sign: "$1 Stories." Excited, I fished a dollar out from my pants somewhere and handed it to him out the window; I think he fanned out his stack of stories to let me pick, but he may have just handed me one at random. I can't really remember, and it doesn't matter, since so far everything I've read of his has been great in its own odd way.

crimetime_cover.jpg

UPDATE! I've reduced the posted story to just an excerpt; I was going back and forth about it, but enough well-meaning killjoys in the comments pointed out that as a copyrighted story, there were issues in posting it all online, especially since the donation I suggested went to the homeless shelter as opposed to the author directly, who is still unreachable. I'll keep trying to find him, and if I can hunt him down and get his ok, I'll put the whole thing back up, and possibly some more. Still, I encourage everyone to read the excerpt and donate to the LA Midnight mission, and I promise to reflect on what a monster I am. Thanks!

I've only seen him out there a few times, and each time I make sure to buy a story. The stories all have hand-illustrated covers, and appear to be written on an old typewriter and Xeroxed. The selection of stories is usually a bit weighted to the science-fiction side, with a good helping of mystery and adventure. He has at least one recurring character, Joe Cotton, of his Joe Cotton mysteries.

The author, Ronald Raydon, is a homeless man, and the only contact information included on the stories is an address for the Midnight Mission shelter in downtown Los Angeles. I've tried to hunt him down, but so far without luck. I'd like more people to know about his charming, funny, bizarre stories, but I'd like him to get paid for his work, just like he would if you happen to be lucky enough to find him on an LA street. So here's what I'm going to do: I've scanned and put up one of his stories on Flickr, A Crime in Time: Wise Guys Steal a Time Machine! (which is as good as it sounds; the main character is Paul Klee, which I think should give some clue about what sort of man Ronald Raydon is).

What I'd ask is that if you read the story, please donate $1 to the Los Angeles Midnight Mission, since that's the only known address I have for Ronald Raydon. If I can get ahold of him more directly, I'll set up a PayPal account just for him, but until then, I think this could work out well.

If anyone out there knows Ronald Raydon, or knows how to find him, please let me know, as I'd love to be able to get him his story-profits directly. Enjoy!

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