Rick Townsend is the main character of my current work-in-progress called, “The Practician,” let me tell you a little about him. Without describing his physical characteristics, because I’ve not settled on that yet, I will give you something of his bio.
Rick is many things to many people, but on the surface he is an avid and very successful treasure hunter. He is considered to be the world’s leading expert in hunting down lost treasures, though he rejects the title, chalking his many successes up to luck. His main focus is on marine treasures, a field of expertise he stumbled onto as a child and has pursued ever since, though he has been hired on occasion, as in this case, to hunt down land based treasures, for which he has also succeeded spectacularly, living on the residual percentages from these and from his own finds.
Before he was hired to work “The Pit,” he was focused on finding the 1584 wreck of the Spanish galleon, “El Dorado,” aboard which lies a 3800 pound table made of solid gold, along with many other treasures. But Rick had been sidetracked even before accepting the contract from Blair and Matthews, a small law firm in Halifax. Too much income, a laid back lifestyle and an overwhelming need to forget painful times in his past, led him to drinking, a binge he’d been on for nearly a year before his best friend, King Arthur Jones, was able to convince him to give it up and get back to work. The offer from Blair and Matthews came just in time to save him from himself.
Before that, before his successes, before the wealth and income, Rick had been in special forces in Afghanistan, working for the CIA, doing wet work, most of which he would very much like to forget. And before that, before college, as a young man, he’d grown up in a house where his mother held seances and told fortunes for a living. His father had been a moderately successful magician, an entertainer, who thought, like most fathers that his son would follow in his footsteps. He’d tried to teach Rick the art of magic, but Rick was shy of performance and very little interested in a life of illusion. Most of the disappointment his parent’s felt lay in the fact that Rick had the “gift.”
They had spotted it when he was very young, second sight, inherited from his maternal grandmother. Rick’s gift was exceptional, more powerful than his grandmother’s, or his mother’s. Worth a fortune in the family business, but for Rick it was deeply disturbing and he did everything he could to suppress it, in spite of his parent’s desperate encouragements to do otherwise.
When he left home and the strange, small town of spiritualists he’d grown up in, he swore he would never return. He hadn’t kept that promise. He loved his parents, irrespective of their occult way of life and, when they needed his help, he hurried to their aid. He could no more leave them behind than he could the gift that often drove him to drink. Better to work, however, and, since he was stymied at the moment in his pursuit of the el Mayor, working The Pit would suffice nicely.