I was cleaning up my hard drive and stumbled on some old stuff I had to do for a college writing class. So I figured “why not? I’ll share these on here.”
A Scene We Sculpted For Ourselves
Every woman remembers her father
the first man who loved her, and asked no price.
He looks in her eyes, knows what she’s in for.
A daily reminder of past sins—
careless flings and strung them along.
Forgiveness earned through his girl,
knowing he’ll see her go,
and experience the same.
Her first her always,
no strings attached
Random Dialogue Scene
I have no idea why I wrote this or what the prompt was for and what the parameters entailed. I have no memory of writing it, but reading this over now it definitely reminds me of the dynamic I used to have with my mom. Also it almost seems like an absurd play. There’s no indication of who’s speaking when, for some reason, which leads me to think it may have been in exercise in characterization to write characters with a consistent voice so one knows intrinsically.
“Everyone sit down now. I’m here, Jamie you sit there, and Robbie you’re down there. I made spinach casserole we can eat first, then we can start on the chicken.”
“Yeah, right Mom. You polish my shoes yet?”
“I don’t touch feet until after dinner. You should know my schedule by now.”
“Mom, why do you make spinach? You know nobody likes it.”
“Because it’s Thursday.”
“That’s my favorite day. Just awesome. Because we get to eat the most delicious spinach casserole that was ever made by humans.”
“Uh, huh. You finish your homework yet?”
“Oh yeah, I always do it just as I come home.”
“Then maybe you could help your poor overworked mother with your brother’s shoes and laundry?”
“Well, I do have a project I should get started on. It’s not really homework but it has to get done. You know what I mean?”
“Hey I don’t care who does it as long as it gets done,”
“Are you gonna wear that nice shirt I got you for your birthday tomorrow? You know it’s purple, so it’ll complete the rainbow I’ve been laying out for you the past few days.”
“Yeah, but I don’t like how it fits my frame. I think these abs deserve a better canvas to show off, you know?”
“Put it back, Robbie! We haven’t finished the spinach casserole!”
“Yeah, but I finished mine.”
“Then show us the kitchen garbage can, genius.”
“You know man, you don’t have to spoil everyone else’s fun.”
“I’m not having any fun, so I’m not sure what you’re going on about.”
“I suppose I should just give up trying to provide structure in your lives. You know, I read a dozen articles a day about the proper dinner schedule, and slave over a hot stove the rest of the time to make it happen, all for you nuts to ruin it with your impatience and ingratitude.”
“Well, maybe you could ask us once in awhile what we want. I like pizza, and when’s the last time we had that?”
“I hate pizza.”
“You ate plenty of it last time.”
“That’s because I was imagining it was this delicious spinach casserole and chicken. Yes indeed, that’s what I call a good meal right there, man. Spinach. Spinach and chicken.”
“I just don’t know why I bother with you too. Clear the plates when you’re done, make sure you put the leftovers in the bowl with the purple flowers on it.”
“Purple is my favorite color.”
“Then you can wear that cruddy old shirt tomorrow.”
“I could, but I’d prefer to keep it a sacred thing, something special to only wear on really momentous occasions.”
“Is every day not special? After all, you’re spending it with us?”
For this one, I had to take people whom I knew in real life and write as if from their POV. Coincidentally, the previous summer my ex-roommate, his then-girlfriend and I went out for drinks on my birthday. Stuff happened. I wrote this dialogue in the style of their conversation afterwards, as if I myself were not there.
In between the [blank] and the [retracted] was [redacted], and at this time of night, the lights across the water on both sides seemed to extend around downtown like a prison. If you were at the tip of the confluence, there was something absolutely eerie about it, like being on the edge of the world. The guy and his date sat under the fountain. The night was unusually cool, and the Uber fare was now triple the rate, meaning they would not be getting a cab anytime soon.
“At the end of the day though, and that’s all I’m saying, I was good at my job,” said the guy.
“I know,” she responded. “I know.”
“I’m just saying, you wouldn’t catch me acting that way. That’s literally all I’m saying.”
“I know.” There was a long pause. “I love the way the water looks at night, dont you? Like one of your black light posters?”
“Nah, they wouldn’t make a black light poster like that.”
“I mean, why would they? If I wanted to look at white lines I would just paint my room that way, y’know? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“I mean, I guess they could make that into a poster if they really wanted to, but I certainly can’t imagine anyone buying it. I know I wouldn’t. Why would I? If I wanted to see black and white stripes I’d get a picture of a zebra or something. And then if we’re going that route, I’d probably just get a picture of a tree frog or a rock fish. You know, something that looks cool. An animal that looks cool.”
“I mean, I guess the stripes on a zebra look cool. Not cool enough for a poster, but cool for like a horse. If you get me.”
They sat there awhile without moving, watching the cars go by on the nearby bridge. Occasionally she would check her phone. The rate still had not gone down.
“But like I was saying before though,” he reiterated “there’s just no way you would EVER catch me acting that way at my old job. We knew better than that.”
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore. That’s all I’ve heard you say since we left,” she responded.
“Well, you know, it really annoys me when you do this to me. I take you out, show you a nice time, and you can’t make conversation…”
“We got thrown out, Michael.”
“I know! That stupid manager was way out of line. Nobody ever acted like that at my old job. The customer was always first.”
“Even when they spilled bear all over floor on purpose?”
“Kim, I’ve been telling you from the beginning, you need to be more assertive.”
“I don’t wanna talk about it any more. I just want to go home. As soon as this Uber rate goes down.”
“Look, I’m just saying, at my old job we knew how to treat a customer.”
“You gotta let them know how bad the service is, or they’ll never learn. If I had acted that way at my old job, I would have been fired.”
“There are ways of doing that without making a scene, Michael.”
“Oh I agree, but it’s like I’ve been saying Kim, you need to be more assertive in life.”
“I mean, no one ever gives you anything unless you demand it. At my old job, you didn’t just get a raise. You had to demand one from the manager. And he’d be so impressed with your assertiveness that he’d give it to you on the spot—if you were a good employee. That’s the key.”
“I’m just saying, that waitress tonight was a shit employee. And someone has to tell you when you suck at your job, or else how do you learn?”
“Look, going back to assertiveness…I think I’m just going to go back to my place tonight. You can get your own ride home. Ok?”
“Kim, seriously, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I just wanna be by myself for awhile.”
“Look, the simple fact is, someone had to do what I did. At some point, that’s what was coming.”
“Well, I’m glad you volunteered yourself, like always.”
“Do you wanna tell me how you would have handled it?”
“What’s the difference? We can’t ever go back there now.”
“That manager was just way out of line. She wouldn’t even listen to me. I think it’s because the waitress was a woman. He just didn’t want to lose the eye candy.”
“…Look, my ride’s gonna be here in two minutes. I’m gonna go meet him.”
“Are you sure..?”
“Yes. I’m fine. I just want to go home. Goodbye, Michael.”
Also, the couple that inspired this dialogue exercise broke up soon afterwards.