Sunday, March 04, 2012

30 Day Writing Challenge - Day 4

Image (c) 2010 Laforet Visuals
I puzzled for a while about today's challenge - Dialogue Only, Please - and messed around with various possibilities ranging from a conversation between a psychiatrist and their patient, to a conversation between a person and their future self on the telephone.

But, then I decided it might be fun to add something to yesterday's writing challenge and use this as a chance to flesh out and provide another perspective on a few characters we met there. You'll probably need to read yesterday's story for this to make any sense at all!

I think Elmore Leonard was perhaps an influence on this a bit - I've always had a soft spot for this work and his oddball characters and the quirky humour that runs through his work. Hopefully I managed to capture a little of that in this...

One Day Earlier

“You sure he’s asleep?”
“Man be snorin’ like pig.”
“Like a pig, you say?”
“Like a pig.”
“Don’t believe I’ve ever heard a pig snoring”
“Well, sounds pretty much same as that.”
“Good to know. So, you talked to the others on this?”
“Talked to Big Jake some this mornin’ an’ Ike and me had words last night.”
“An’ they say if you lead, they’ll follow if you catch ma drift.”
“So it’s all on me?”
“’Bout the long an’ the short of it, Slim.”
“I’ve got to know you’ve got my back if this goes down, Little Jake.”
“Surely do. I tell you, I ain’t go no love for ol’ big bossman Bob.”
“He ever hear you call him Six Fingers?”
“Hell no. Last fella did that was Billy Arbuckle back in Texas. Fella got gutshot an’ left in the desert for the vultures.”
“I always wondered about that nickname.”
“I’m guessin’ it’s on account of him only havin’ six fingers.”
“I get that. No, I mean I always wondered what happens if he goes and loses another finger.”
“Well, I guess he becomes Five Finger Bob.”
“I guess—“
“Unless he loses that last finger what he’s got on his left hand. Then he’d be One Hand Bob.”
“Name’s got a nice ring to it.”
“Surely does. Why, if it were me, I’d be thinkin’ bout’ choppin’ that finger off just to change ma nickname.”
“We seem to be getting ourselves distracted from the point here, Jake.”
“What was the point?”
“Point is, we need to work out a plan. I’m guessing we’ll be reaching Desolation in no more than a day and we need to be sure how this goes down.”
“Way Bob tells it, the plan is we go in an’ kill that Ringo fella.”
“Exactly. We go in. Bob waits outside why we do his dirty work.”
“Well, he is the boss.”
“I know that. Just seems unfair. We do all the hard work and then we split that bounty five different ways without Bob having so much as pulled a trigger.”
“Well, see, that’s how I put it to the others.  Unfair is what it is. I mean, all Bob has done is chase this fella for two years ‘cross five states an’ lose four fingers and lead us to Ringo’s doorstep—“
“True words, my friend. True words.”
“So how this gonna’ work? We could kill him right now while he’s layin’ there snorin’”
“You know how to get to Desolation from here?”
“You said it weren’t more than a day’s ride.”
“Yeah, but in which direction?”
“Hell if I know.”
“So I guess that’s a no then, we don’t kill him now. We need him to take us to Desolation.”
“I guess. Then what?”
“Well, first we kill Ringo. That’s the easy part.”
“There’ll be four of us and jus’ one of him. Why, by the end of it, he’ll have more holes in him than one a’ them fancy cheeses.”
“Then I say we call Bob in to show him the body. When he comes through the door, we blaze him down.”
“Sounds like a plan I can live with--”
“But Bob can’t. After that, the bounty only has to go four ways.”
“That is sure easier to figure. I told the other fellas, four ways is always a lot easier to figure than five.”
“Feel sorry it had to come to this, but we got to look out for ourselves.”
“We do at that. Bob been lookin’ out for us, but this here be a cruel world.”
“That it is. Let’s get back to the fire before we’re missed, got a feeling our lives are going to take a whole different direction once we get to Desolation…”


Yasen D. said...

My stories always end up over alteast 1000 words. How do you people keep yours so short?

Esther Zuidgeest said...

30 day writing challenge

'how are you?
'And you?'
'I'm alright'
'Found a new boyfriend yet?'
'Why are you asking that?'
'I don't know'
'Look i don't have time for trouble'
'Ok, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ... sigh. How are your dancing lessons?'
'I quit. I started doing some sewing with my mom's sewing machine. I'm getting quite good at it.'
'Ok that's cool. I'm still playing soccer with the guys and such.'
'Its getting late, I'm gonna get going now.'
'Ok good luck!'
'K, bye'

redacted said...

@Yasen, the experiment is to set your own rules. If you want to tell large stories, accept that it takes a lot of time, if you want to tell short stories, know that you don't have to tell much; To get your point across. Bend the rules when it suits your needs. My experience is that a story starts with one sentence we really want to say anyway, then the art becomes: Building a story to give that one sentence 'power'. It might also help to stop the comparison games, its part of the 'competition religion' and saps your motivation. Its probably why in the prisoners dilemma, 'defect' is played more often.

redacted said...

Esther, I really like how at some point it becomes difficult/impossible for me to keep track of who says what. Perhaps it really does not matter. I secretely hope that the one going to the dancing lessons is a boy and the one playing soccer a girl. But perhaps that is not true either. Maybe they are two girls or two boys. Perhaps its just one person. Nevertheless, the mutual loneliness drips from the screen. I likes it ^^