I came to write “Credentials” when I wanted to expand on a secondary character I had created for an earlier story, because I was trying to write a book (Luminous Mysteries). The character had the name Belly Man. I had given myself that name one morning when, looking in the mirror, I was surprised to see that my physique had changed. That led to my feeling some affinity with the big guys. Belly Man in the earlier story was an ex-con, an entrepreneur without the big resources and status that usually come with that title, and of course heavy. But he had a mystery about him for his criminal past and his sense of entitlement. “Credentials” allowed me to go a little deeper into who Belly Man is, explore his power and his vulnerability. I grew up noticing men who had grand senses of style and confidence. Their style I understood, but their confidence I didn’t. When I started playing with the nicknames in the story, “Credentials” let me ask questions about identity, such as who do people think they are? Why?
Line Breaks is a regular feature in which accomplished authors introduce and share their first published stories with the Fictionaut community. Line Breaks is edited by Gary Percesepe. You can read “Credentials” on Fictionaut.