Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dialogue Exercise

From the Files of the FooDaddy...

This piece was written years ago, before I even knew what a "blog" was. I had been working on a story about a little boy who goes on a journey with a talking yak named Duke and has many adventures. It was exceedingly lame, but not without a lame kind of charm. In the same vein, we have this little smattering of dialogue, which I edited and updated slightly.

And here you thought you were done getting these copy'n'paste posts!

FooDaddy showed his friends the story he’d written. They were all sitting on a couch or on the floor of his apartment, surrounded by amplifiers from the 70s.

“Why’d you make me a talking yak?” asked Devin.

“No way am I that ditzy. I don’t even have a Grand Marquis, or whatever,” said FooDaddy’s girlfriend Megan with a frown.

“Oh, baby. I wrote this before I even knew you. Remember me telling you about Anna from work?”

“Yeeeeaaaah…” she said uncertainly.

“Well, that’s who Jessica is. I’d have put you in there, but I haven’t written any parts for a curvy nuclear physicist yet,” he said, patting her reassuringly on the calf.

“So I’m involved in the study of sub-microscopic particles?”

“Like FooDaddy’s sex appeal!” said Devin, whomping FooDaddy with a throw pillow.

“Where’d you get Herschel from? Jim I can see, but… Herschel? Like, your grandpa or something?” asked Clark.

“Dunno,” said FooDaddy. “I guess he’s like that jolly, dirty guy everyone likes?”

“Hey, boy, come lookit this. They finally got an LCD monitor with a multicolored LED backlight into production. Samsung, of course!” said The Father.

“Could you ask your dad to put on some pants?” whispered FooDaddy’s girlfriend, Megan. “It’s starting to make me nervous.”

“Dad! Pants!” FooDaddy suggested. The Father continued to stare at his monitor and work his mouse’s scroll wheel.

“Fascinating,” he mumbled.

“I still don’t get why I’m a yak. I don’t even know what yaks look like,” muttered Devin into his glass of Pepsi. He reached for the television’s remote control and began chewing on the buttons.

“Pfft. Never said you were,” rebutted FooDaddy. He smiled at his winning comeback.

“Yeah, but you gotta admit it kinda fits,” offered Megan. She dodged a kick from Devin, which knocked over her can of Cherry Coke.

“Aw, man. You spilled my container of sugar and fun.”

“I’m perfectly fine,” said FooDaddy with a grin.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said, kicking him in the shins. “I was talking about the wondrous Cherry Coke.” She went to fetch a roll of paper towels.

“Oh, yeah, it actually does fit,” declared Clark, returning to topic and jabbing the air with his index finger. “Psychologically, I mean. For instance, take the fact that Devin's horny. Yaks have horns. This could have all taken place subconsciously in FooDaddy’s shriveled little mind, and it came out through his fingers without his even knowing.” He finished by taking a victory swig of his Cherry Coke.

“Good thinking, Asimov,” said a sarcastic FooDaddy.

“Haw! Did you just call him an ass-muff?” Devin hooted.

“No. Az-ih-mov. Isaac Asimov. He’s like, the science-fiction author. You know the movie I, Robot?”

“Yeah. The one with Will Smith?” Megan said, stooping to apply paper towel to the Cherry Coke puddle.

“Well, he wrote the book the movie’s based on,” said FooDaddy. He threw a cashew at Devin. It bounced off his forehead and into oblivion behind the television.

“Hey, ass-muff! Where’d you get peanuts?”

“It was a cashew. I found it in my pocket.”

“Man, that’s weird,” said Clark. He checked his own breast pocket hopefully.

“You guys are all weird,” declared Megan, hand on cocked hip.

“That’s enougha your sassery, woman!” said FooDaddy, putting his foot down. Megan smiled winningly and pranced over to the garbage can to dump a handful of soggy paper towels.

Sassy Woman and the Pocket Cashews would be a good name for a rock band,” said The Father, shuffling over and tugging a pair of slacks into place.

“That’s a good one!” said Devin, and punched FooDaddy in the biceps. “Your dad’s awesome.”

“How about “Mystery Nut and the Pantsless Father?” suggested Clark. They all laughed and threw debris at eachother.

“Mister FooDaddy’s Dad? Sprocket’s chewing on your pillow,” said Megan, returning to the group and poking The Father in the elbow with one finger.

“Sweet bare-assed doctor of crap!” bellowed The Father and sprinted to his bedroom. There were muted thumps and scufflings, and a gray and white cat came sailing out of the room, bounced off a wall and landed in the midst of the gathering in the living room. He gave an interrogative mewing noise, and tossed himself into Clark’s lap and fell asleep instantly.

“Stupid cat,” said FooDaddy, poking the purring Sprocket in the tummy. Sprocket came instantly to life and bit him on the knuckles.

“Aww. He’s being a bastard!” exclaimed Devin proudly. He spit out a piece of the “volume up” button from the remote he was chewing on. “Hey! Crotch bandit! Can I get another Pepsi?”

“Go ahead,” said FooDaddy. Devin leapt to his feet and charged headfirst into the refrigerator with a rattling crash.

“So what’s the plot, exactly? What’re the Little Boy and Duke trying to accomplish?” asked Clark.

“If I know FooDaddy,” said Devin from the kitchen nook, his voice muffled by refrigerator contents, “it’s gonna have something to do with a quest for men of a certain lifestyle.”

“Then wouldn’t you be in the story?” Clark snorted.

“Ow, my soul,” Devin said, returning to the gathering and clutching his chest, a pained expression on his face.

“You don’t have a soul,” said Megan and grinned.

“Yes he does. It’s the size of a raisin and smells like dead lemurs,” said FooDaddy.

“So Duke and the Little Boy are trying to find a new soul raisin for Devin? One that contains glee and smells like fresh cookies? Sounds like a good idea to me,” said Clark. He chewed up an ice cube.



“Oh.” FooDaddy furrowed his brow and stared off into space for a couple seconds. “I guess I hadn’t really considered a whatchacallit...plot.”

“You should have them team up with Jim and go run for President,” suggested Megan. “To, uh, make it a law that all old men have to be crusty.”

“That already is a law. Like, a law of nature,” said Devin, returning to the couch with a full glass of Pepsi.

“Nature smells like horse farts,” said Megan. They all looked at her. “Well, it does!” she insisted.

“Probably,” said FooDaddy, “but it’s still got laws and stuff. One of those is that old men have to be crusty and vaguely evil.”

“Your grandpa’s not,” countered Megan.

“Look. Let’s just get this straight now. I’m always right. That’s a law of nature. You might want to write it down.”

“Or get it tattooed on your arm!” said Clark. Megan hit them both in turn with the throw pillow.

“Is your grandpa that short little Smurf man?” asked Devin, taking the batteries out of the remote and stuffing them down the front of his pants.

“Smurf Man would be a good villain for Batman to fight!” hollered The Father from his room. “I can see it now! Batman and…” he trailed off into inarticulate mumblings.

Found this bit of rubbish in a folder on my laptop while I was doing some cleanup. Figured I'd give it a home here on the Blog. It's encouraging that I can actually tell the difference between my old stuff and my new. I like to think I'm improving.


Jack W. Regan said...

Me loves dialogue. If I could write stuff with nothing but dialogue, I think I'd be happy. Of course, happyness is somewhat overrated these days. (I'm trying for some advertising revenue, just in case you all thought I forgot how to spell.)

"...FooDaddy’s shriveled little mind..." That's one of my favorites. Not because I necessarily agree with the statement, but because it sounds hilarious. "Wizened" would also work well there, as in "FooDaddy's wizened little mind." I've just always thought "wizened" was an amusing word and I use it whenever possible. As in:

"Haha! Your car is wizened!"

(After buying a fast food hamburger.) "Hey, this burger is wizened!"

Anyway, I would like to personally thank you, O Wizened FooDaddy, for almost single-handedly keeping the Blog afloat the past few weeks. I fully intend to be back soon!

Jack W. Regan said...

And I know what you mean about looking back at some old stuff and seeing room for improvement. I do that, as well. There have been a few times I've hauled out some ancient works or works-in-progress, thinking I might retool or complete them, only to discover that they are so crappy that any results I might get would hardly justify the work involved in fixing them. Discouraging in one sense, but also, as you say, a good sign that skill is improving. I can only hope.

Anonymous said...

I think this is really funny.

I do think you have improved, not to say that the older stuff isn't good.

love the part that Devin is chewing on the remote to the T.V. He sounds like a dog my cousin had once. oh well.

TSB: I agree that wizened is a funny word.

Anonymous said...

Pants, feh.

Wizened pants. Hmm.