Fiction Friday – 29 August 2008 Dialogue bits
This Week’s Theme: Step 1. Go to a busy locale ? a cafe or coffee shop would be easiest. Sit down with a notebook, and make sure you look busy, so people don’t know you’re listening. Now write down random snips of their conversations. Don’t take whole lines or even sentences ? just a few words here and there. Try to get 10 bits.
Step 2. Now use all 10 in a cohesive scene of dialogue.
So this week I’ve been surrounded by the silent (the Tube), those not speaking English (the Tube again), the too foul-mouthed to use (the firm I work for) and the privileged so cannot be repeated (the firm I work for again). So my snippets come courtesy of the citizens of the world, via Twitter. The snippets will be in red.
“Sorry I’m late, traffic was murder. Think someone up there likes me though. Actually got a parking space today!”
He didn’t look up from his laptop. Just kept tapping away at the keys, muttering. I coughed politely before continuing. “So, uh… how’s it going?”
“Real productive this morn. Or I would be if this damn thing actually worked. I swear to god, I can grab the latest feeds from the satellites, get through the encrypted channels… can I send an e-mail to my wife? Can I hell…” He stabbed at the keys a few times more. “Oh, oh, wait. So I can use Contacts to start an email, but the link is super small. That’s just useless, this whole damn computer isn’t much bigger than my shoe, how the hell am I supposed to see a link that small.” He slammed the lid shut then looked up at me.
“Wow, you really do look like Estevez.”
“Yes sir, that’s why they recruited me. I’m a pretty good match. Almost exact, in fact. You can tell us apart because one of us has slightly smaller ears.”
I smiled. “The fact you can’t tell shows that they picked the right guy sir!”
He snorted. “Sit your ass down son, let’s get some chow. I think my stomach is trying to eat itself from the inside out. Try the chowder.”
He removed the laptop from the table and placed it in a small holdall by his feet. I glanced down. “I’m with you on the shoes!”
I flushed a little. “The computer… it’s… you said… about the size of your…” The words fizzled out under a withering gaze, before he spoke up.
“Estevez was leading a recon team into sector alpha, but we lost contact with him last week. His equipment had been fritzing since they arrived, and the last message was just garbled. We’re pretty sure they haven’t been attacked, just that the communications equipment is dead.”
“Too hot for it to work?”
He shook his head. “It’s not so much the heat… as it is the humidity. Gets into the casings, shorts the circuit boards.” He paused as a waitress brought two bowls of hot clam chowder. She smiled at me, then him. “You two gents want anything else?”
“Nothing for the kid over there sweetheart, but any time you want a real man…” he flashed the golden badge and ID card at her. “Then you just look up the Major.” He winked at her as she smiled politely, intimidated by the badge, and quickly walked away.
“Sorry about that squirt, don’t want her coming back any time soon while we’re talking. And…” he chuckled. “Well flinging poo at you satisfied my urge to brag.”
He glanced around, checking that nobody was listening. Just when Estevez goes dark, all of a sudden the Zarkov mob roll back into town. I don’t know if it’s coincidence, but given the history between old man Zarkov and Estevez, I don’t think it can be. They’re beginning to make a big noise at any rate. Only a week, and already they’re taking control, as if they never got brought down. Fortunately, Estevez kept the location of the drum secret, otherwise all hell would have broken loose. But I know Zarkov wants it, wants it bad, and his boys show up just when Estevez goes dark? Maybe they’re on to something. Maybe we’ve got a mole. I don’t know. But we want you to show some face, help spread the rumour that Estevez is back in town. Might shake them up a little, keep them subdued.”
I nodded. It made sense. Estevez had pretty much eradicated the Zarkov family – if he were to be seen about town, it might just put the frighteners on them. At least make them think twice about gearing up for war with the other families. I stood up. “I’ll get right on to it sir. I know a few places where I could go, get seen by some of the snitches. They’ll get the word out.”
“Good. Get on it.”
I took a step then turned. “Hey what’s that drum thing you were talking about?”
His face remained impassive. “You don’t need, or want to know son. Trust me.”
I nodded. Probably true. Time to be seen by the Zarkovs.