Author's Notes on
"Blondes, Blondes, Blondes!"
by Jack Bludis
.... "Blondes, Blondes, Blondes," started out as a novel that capped out at 40,000 words. It sat around for a long time before I decided to cut it back to short-story length.
... Cuban yachts did come into the Baltimore harbor. God knows what, other than tarantulas, came in on the banana boats from South America. There is historical evidence that Baltimore was the easiest port to get away with importing illegal immigrants. So why not the other way around, I figured?
... An elderly aunt of mine once applied for a B-girl job back in the fifties and turned it down when she learned what she'd have to do. I overheard her tell her mother that she thought a man followed her afterward. I think that is the "germ" of the story as my father used to call it.
... The Baltimore harbor of this story is a far different from the present Inner Harbor that gets play on NFL football. Racial bigotry was the rule rather than the exception. People were far poorer, but they didn't know it.
... Although I was not very cognizant of the world in 1947, I do have memories of a few years later, close enough to get the "feel" of that time. In the 1950s my father worked around the corner from Baltimore's Block. His shop was one floor over a boxing gym. The basement apartment featured is an actual place that I remember from my Grandmother's house on West Lombard Street. The place still had a pull string "crapper" that was there when they moved out in the early 1960s.
... I grew up in Ken Sligo's neighborhood. Some of the characters are based on people I "knew of" rather than knew personally, including a heroin addict who came back from WWII with the morphine habit. Progress, I suppose, of a sort.
... Sligo made his debut in"New Guy on the Block," published in Bob Randisi's anthology, Mystery Street and is now on my website. Detective Vyto Kastel was in that story. He is also a minor but important character in "Pigtown Will Shine Tonight," in Laura Lippman's anthology, Baltimore Noir.
... I have a novel that includes both Sligo and Kastel sitting in my desk now.