Week #9 Story # 7

July 5th, 2015 by Ash

Two men in a mirror pool at piestany spa

This weeks story is actually a short play or screen play. †Sometimes I sit down to write a story and I find myself writing only dialogue. †During the process it occurs to me I’m actually writing a play or screen play. †I’m quite comfortable writing screen plays. †As an actor I get given a lot of film scripts to read so I feel very familiar with the way in which screen plays are formatted. †It’s quite different from writing a short story and I enjoy the departure.

I have to give credit to an amazing author Denis Johnson for a simple idea I borrowed from one of his amazing short story collections, Jesus’ Son.

 

SPA TALK

Mick is sitting alone in the leisure centre spa. He is in

his fifties, lean in the face and he looks like heís seen

some things. A.J arrives and hangs up his towel and puts

his drink bottle next to the spa. A.J is in his early

thirties, heís a little out of shape but has a youthful

energy.

MICK

Gidday

A.J

Hi.

MICK

How are you?

A.J

Good thanks. And you?

MICK

Good.

A.J

This feels good. Iím not sitting

too close am I?

MICK

No. Youíre fine.

A.J

Cool.

MICK

Itís nice and quiet today

A.J

Yeah itís nice

MICK

So what do you do?

A.J

Iím a writer

MICK

Oh yeah. Howís that working out

for you?

A.J

Pretty good. Although Iím having a

bit of trouble at the moment.

Thatís why Iíve come here. Bit of

break.

MICK

Whatís the trouble?

A.J

Well. Iíve realised Iím not very

good at dialogue.

MICK

I dunno what that means.

A.J

Well you know in a story when two

or more characters talk to each

other.

MICK

Yeah?

A.J

Thatís the dialogue.

MICK

Right. So whatís the problem?

A.J

My dialogue doesnít sound natural.

MICK

What does that mean?

A.J

When my characters speak, they just

seem, well what they say to each

other just sounds cliched and

wrong.

MICK

Whatís cliched?

A.J

(in a melodramatic voice)

I love you. Donít go!

MICK

What?

A.J

Thatís a cliche. Sorry. Didnít I

make that clear. Sorry.

MICK

Youíre fucking weird. I think

thatís your problem.

A.J

Youíre probably right.

The two guys look around the centre for a moment observing

other patrons.

MICK

Why donít just write down what you

actually say to people. Just write

exactly what people say to each

other?

A.J

Verbatim?

MICK

…..

A.J

Yeah well. Thatís the problem. I

do do that. I listen carefully to

what people say. The problem is

they always say cliched things like

“I love you. Donít go.” For

example.

MICK

I donít get it. Writing sounds

hard as fuck.

A.J

Yeah.

MICK

So are you going to write this?

A.J

What? You mean what weíre saying

right now?

MICK

Yeah.

A.J

I donít know. Maybe I shall.

MICK

Right.

After making this conclusion the two guys get slightly

awkward and self conscious.

AJ

So is there anything youíd like to

tell the people listening to this?

MICK

What?

A.J

Tell us a bit about yourself.

MICK

I donít like it.

A.J

What?

MICK

This shit. This writing shit.

A.J

Okay. Sorry. We donít have

  1. Sorry. Well what about some

advice?

MICK

Donít get married.

A.J

Right. Why is that?

MICK

Because you start out rooting each

other, then you root for each other,

then one day something changes and

all you want, is to see that other

person fail, so youíll be proved

right about everything.

A.J

Shit.

MICK

Right. And then they shoot you.

A.J

What? Youíve been shot?

MICK

No. She missed.

A.J

Wow.

Both the guys take a big drink out of their respective water

bottles.

MICK

What are you writing about at the

moment?

A.J

Itís a novel. About a writer.

MICK

Youíre a writer writing about a

writer?

A.J

Yeah.

MICK

Fuck that sounds confusing.

A.J

Yeah it is. I donít think itís

very good.

MICK

Whatís it about?

A.J

Well, the writer falls in love with

a beautiful jazz singer.

MICK

Oh yeah.

(They stare at each other a

moment. Mick waits for A.J to

continue but he just looks back at

him)

Then what?

A.J

Thatís it really.

MICK

Doesnít anything happen?

A.J

Well they find the affair difficult

because the jazz singers black and

the writers white and so theyíre

confronted with a lot of problems

about what society understands

about race and sexuality – oh,

theyíre a gay couple.

MICK

Yeah right. Canít choose who you

love.

A.J

Exactly.

MICK

But what happens though?

A.J

Oh. Thatís kind of it.

MICK

No wonder youíre having trouble

writing the dialogue, nothing

fucking happens.

A.J

Could be.

MICK

I donít read many books but I like

movies. I like that Mad Max movie.

A.J

Havenít seen it.

MICK

Thereís not a lot of talking, but a

lot of stuff happens. I liked

that.

A.J

(sighing)

Maybe youíre right.

MICK

Maybe. I donít know anything about

writing though.

A.J takes this in as he looks off into the middle distance. Then he comes back from his thoughts.

A.J

What do you think should happen to

them?

MICK

Who?

A.J

The people in my story.

MICK

Shit. I dunno.

A.J

I donít think Iím brave enough to

decide their fate.

MICK

Just donít let them get married, if

they get married, trust me, their

fate is sealed, I know that much.

A.J

(excitedly)

You know what. I think I just got

my ending.

MICK

Really?

A.J

Yeah. Thank you so much.

MICK

No worries.

A.J

Whatís your name?

MICK

Mick.

A.J

Mick thank you. My nameís A.J by

the way. Thank you.

A.J gets up out of the spa, grabbing his wattle bottle and

then his towel.

A.J

Thank you Mick.

MICK

Thatís alright mate. Have a good

one. Good luck with characters and

††††††††††††††††††† dialogue and all that.

A.J

Thanks. Bye.

MICK

See ya.

A.J exits leaving Mick alone to enjoy the quiet spa. He leans back.

THE END






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