Has Celine Dion ever stalked someone? How would All By Myself sound in a minor key?


Long tables are arranged into a rectangular pattern. Chairs line both the inside and outside of this rectangle. The inner and outer circles are segmented into gender, females on the inside, males on the outside. A woman in a nice red dress (I don’t know how to describe clothing. Trust me, it’s a nice dress. If you saw it you’d be all “oh wow, nice dress.” Take my word for it) holds a stopwatch in one hand and a microphone in the other. For anyone who has had the fortune of never going to a speed dating event, it’s a speed dating event. The woman in the red dress (Sophie) clicks her stopwatch.


The men on the outer ring stand up and shift over to the seat on their left. One guy anxiously tries to keep talking to the woman he was seated in front of. She’s dismissive. Typical Carl. Why you gotta play them like that, Carl?

CARL: I give great massages, I swear.

DARRYL: Sorry bud. You know how the game goes. [He points to the woman to his left] She looks nice, why don’t you tell her about your hands too?

CARL: One of these days it’s gonna be Carl’s turn. [He moves on in a huff]

[Darryl sits down in front of Karine.]


DARRYL: Nice to meet you. I’d offer to shake hands, but I can’t hold a candle to Carl. I’m no masseur. Is talking about yourself in third person the new thing?

KARINE: Let’s say it is and you’re on strike one. I’m Karine.

DARRYL: Harsh pitch. I’m-

KARINE: Darryl, right?

DARRYL: [Flinching] Well that was half past odd. How’d you know that?

KARINE: Every night in my dreams I see you, I feel you. That is how I know you. Go on…

DARRYL: I just realised how creepy so many love songs can be. Context is everything I guess. Wait, that was really unsettling, how’d you know my name?

KARINE: Dude, you told Hilda to my left all of two minutes ago. We’re next to each other, of course I’m eavesdropping on everyone. You work in a factory that produces pickled onions, right?

DARRYL: Oh no, not at all. I make up a new profession for every person I talk to. Just for you, I’m an elocution coach for birds.

KARINE:  I bet she was wondering how you hadn’t killed yourself yet.

DARRYL: Rough. I bet those factory workers have a real canning-do attitude.

KARINE: Ugh. Strike two.

DARRYL: And here I thought I was knocking them out of the park.

KARINE: You’re not my type anyway.


KARINE: Yeah, I’m more into the factory worker archetype.

DARRYL: Oh shoot, that gal Hilda to your left was just talking to one. Cute dude, nice butt. You just missed him.

KARINE: Guess I’ll keep waiting for my ‘Jack’ then.


[Darryl stands up, leans onto the table]

DARRYL: Nice meeting you Karine. By the way, that Titanic thing you did earlier, SUPER creepy.

KARINE: Didn’t you kind of love it though?

DARRYL: [Smiles] Of course. Everyone has a type, right?

[Darryl turns to his left. Carl is still seated. The woman and he are wide-eyed, engaged in avid conversation. Darryl gestures towards Carl].

DARRYL: See, everyone. Who doesn’t love a massage?

[Darryl pats Carl on the back and grabs a chair away from the group, allowing Carl to stay seated.]

KARINE: [Calling out] That is a nice butt. See you in my dreams. [Winks]


(For no reason other than running out of time. I had no particular goal with this except for shoehorning in that creepy Titanic thing. See yoose tomorrow.)

Talking about talking.

Well there goes that experiment. Barring yesterday’s gig review (I needed to get it done and I was too lazy to write twice in one day), my attempt at doing a week of dialogue was a mixed bag. It’s not a skill I’ve refined, nor did I put a lot of time into each entry. Writing dialogue is simply an area I’ve often been interested in, but haven’t veered towards. Thus my week (six entries in all) involved trying a few different scenarios on for size.

Each entry involved very little pre-planning. Most of them I toyed with in my head during my workday. I tried to imagine basic scenarios with some kind of differential. There didn’t need to be conflict per se, but I knew things would work better if the characters could be parsed from one another. The one stipulation I had for the week was to not mention gender. Why? Because I don’t know whether my dialogue comes across in a gendered fashion. I was curious about gender neutral notion, to see how characters would evolve stripped of descriptors. The goal was to have them sculpted by their views/opinions and not to have that coloured by preconceived assumptions. How much does a character’s gender shape how you internally define that character? I don’t know how important it really is, being a socially constructed concept and all. I’m not gonna claim some kind of “I don’t see gender” mantle, I definitely had gender in mind when I wrote. I’m curious to hear if any of you readers placed certain genders on certain characters and how that matched up to my views.

I quickly learned that I have a habit (as I’m sure most people do) of creating characters as a mouthpiece for myself. I wanted to move past it as best I could, but “best I could” meant that characters were often pop culturally obsessed or intentionally possessing widened perspective. I didn’t want to straight up write two dimensional cardboard cutouts, but simultaneously was writing each entry in just over 30 minutes, which didn’t give a hell of a lot of time for development. It’s damned hard to tap into the kind of empathy that lets you think like an entirely different person. I feel like the characters that felt less developed were those more distanced from myself. I tried not to set up straw man characters, to make sure they were at least more nuanced than sticking to one central conceit. Still, a few came off a little stagnant.

It’s really evident how much I was stumbling by reading the first few lines of each conversation. I began each piece with one line and in my head improvised the dialogue that would flow from that point. I didn’t know how well I’d deal with conflict. The friend calling the other friend out on being narcissistic, tensions of a date that wasn’t working out, the introvert vs extrovert conversation. That one was actually the piece that had me sweating. I’m pretty extroverted and don’t have a lot of experience looking at things from an introverted lens. I didn’t want to short-change either side, but didn’t have as much capital of experience to put behind the introvert. How was I supposed to drive their through line of action without creating a narrow petulant teenager?

The other tension that surfaced was attempting to not make everything a lesson or have some kind of greater resolution. Characters didn’t have to evolve in half an hour. Situations didn’t necessarily have to come back around into a verbal ouroboros just because it was a neat bow to tie. People don’t. Situations rarely have a clean ending. Yet I have this predilection for personal growth and change that’s almost patronising. Once I start writing characters, I want the best for them. Killing my darlings is hard and while they don’t all have to be Mary Sues, I just want them to be happy. I want characters to undergo challenges, to face up to them, get hurt and come out better off in the end. Most of all I wanted conversations to feel like they could’ve come from real people. Like my characters could come off the page enough for people to identify with a little.

Is dialogue something I’ll dip back into? I think so. It’s a nice way of working out how to set a scene rather than falling into my patterns of stream of consciousness ranting. I want to try different differentials and see how they work. I’d like to play with age, status, gender and feel out those tensions. Like everything else I do in this project, my fervent wish is to improve, to experiment more and understand the hows and whys of stylistic changes.

Cheers for coming along for the ride.

Tumbling down tumbling down tumbling down.

O: Oh lookie, they’re on a date.
P: They are?
O: Sure, they totally are.
P: And you can tell because?
O: Because they look awkward as fuck. Just watch the body language. Look did you see that involuntary twitch? Things aren’t quite clicking there.
P: If it is a date, don’t you feel a little skeevy watching them?
O: Not in the slightest. They don’t know that we’re perving on them. Plus, if they’re looking around for us instead of interacting with one another that’s on them. Shitty date central.
P: I dunno. I feel a little off about it. Like we’re sending bad mojo their way.
O: Come on. Where’s your sense of adventure?
P: Adventure? We’re commentating helpless wannabe lovebirds.
O: Creepy people aren’t allowed to have creepy adventures?
P: I can’t speak for you, but I’m hardly a creep.
O: Then consider this me tempting you to the dark side. Anyway, it’s a karmic confluence.
P: Go on? Throwing out $10 words doesn’t make it true.
O: We’ve all had shitty dates and a sprinkling of schadenfreude makes the world go ’round.
P: You know, logic means nothing if it’s not based in reality. I hope it works out for them. I’ve got no reason to rain on their parade.
O: Are you sure? Haven’t you had enough crappy dates that’ve made you wish someone else would cop one for once? Oooh, I’m intrigued now. What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
P: Pass.
O: No deal. If you’re that reticent surely it was some kind of horrorshow.
P: Who uses “reticent” in everyday speech? Are you trying to pay off your degree one $10 word at a time?
P: It’s actually not what you’re thinking.
O: It’s exactly what I’m thinking. Did you end up with a sloppy fish mouth kisser? Splitting the bill with a lush? Did you abscond a poker game at an underground meth lab moments before SWAT swung in through the windows?
P: Worse.
O: WORSE? Was there grand theft auto involved? Grand larceny? Did you watch a pirated VHS of Grand Torino on an oil rig?
P: It’s “Gran” Torino, not Grand.
O: I KNOW. It just didn’t fit with the rule of three up to that point.
P: You’re such a dork.
P: Are you frothing at the mouth?
O: What?
P:  It wasn’t bad. They weren’t bad. I don’t have any truly bad date stories. I don’t have fraught adventures up my sleeve. I don’t have a litany of manic misadventures and chaotic amorous encounters. I’m not that kind of person. If a date is bad it just means something didn’t click. They weren’t as witty in person as they were online. They looked at their phone too much or had conflicts in personal politics. I never faced down the Yakuza or, I dunno, had to defend Neo Tokyo from ancient celestial beings intent on the utter annihilation of humankind. ARE YOU HAPPY?
O: Not one iota. My stories are lame too. I just hoped you had something better.
P: Oh. Well I guess we’re both lame then.
O: Yep. Hey, you want a chocolate milk?
P: I’d love a chocolate milk. Thanks.
O: How the hell did chocolate milk even happen? It’s like humans got jealous about cows’ superior milk production skills and had to one up them. It’s probably the most American product ever.
P: Yeah, but it’s fucking delicious, so ‘murica got one right. Oh, looks like their date didn’t work out after all. You called it.
O: Damn straight.
P: You’re still creepy though.
O: Damn straight.


Please don’t believe that I know what I’m writing about here.  I’m 98.9% extrovert.

F: If you were a dog, what breed would you be?
H: Some kind of cerberus. A hound of Hades. Three heads, gnashing teeth and powerful jaws. I’d be a beast of annihilation. I’d cause my enemies to quake in fear upon seeing my very visage. None would dare cross me, lest they find themselves deep within the bowels of my master’s terrain. You?
F: That’s a bold call. Is that more wish fulfilment? Or what you see as an actual reflection of your personality? Cause I’ve known you for a while and that seems a bit off. You may look a bit grizzly when you’re hungry, but you’ve got a heart like a Beanie Baby.
H: Have you met me?
F: C’mon, do you honestly think you’re that bad?
H: Ask my exes.
F: Seriously, you always do this. You make yourself out to be this unapproachable monster when in fact you’re a sweetie that sometimes just likes their alone time. Be real with me here. Why the constant act?
H: Because making good friends is hard. If I push and people come back, usually they’re keepers. You stuck around, right?
F: So you’re conducting an ever occurring series of shit-tests? That seems equally ineffective and, well, counter-productive.
H: I repeat, you stuck around, right?
F: Did anyone else? Just because my skin has dragonscale levels of resilience, you can’t assume everyone else will be the same. You’re one of my best friends, but I can’t be your only lifeline.
H: I don’t need people around me. If people choose to stick around, that’s their choice.
F: COME ON. You’re not a teenager any more, you can do better than that.
H: Why is this your business anyway? I can live my life the way I want.
F: That’s true. Maybe I’m imprinting my values on you, but mostly it’s about wanting you to be happier. I’m not saying you’re unhappy, but think about what you get out of our friendship. You could have more of that in different ways by branching out.
H: It’s “mostly” about wanting me to be happier? What’s the other part.
F: Of course you’re gonna snipe that out. Cards on the table, it’d be nice for you to have other people to bounce off. I can’t be the answer to all of your problems.
H: Fine, I won’t come to you anymore.
F: NOOOoooo. Jesus, dummy. Of course I’m happy to be here and listen, but I can’t do it all the time. That’s not emotionally sustainable. Plus, I can’t be the only one influencing you. If you’re only listening to my voice and the voice in your head, you’ve got two opinion leaders in your life. How the hell is that gonna be balanced?
H: People are dumb. I don’t need-
F: NOPE NOPE NOPE. Stoppit. You’re not a narrow-minded idiot and we both know that. You’re being deliberately obtuse and it’s unbecoming of a fine young upstanding citizen as yourself. Just be real with me. Why are you being such a dick about this?
H: I’m not being a dick. I just don’t need a wide circle of friends. I can get by alright without a ton of people. I’ve got hobbies and interests. They’re just not social ones. I don’t have to be you, y’know.
F: I know. I know and maybe I’m being unfair. Am I entirely off base though? Why would more people be a bad thing? Why not try opening yourself up a little bit?
H: It’s hard, okay? It’s hard. What if I say dumb things and people judge me and I feel like a worthless piece of shit and just want to fly the fuck away from everything?
F: Well that’s when you snap out and bite them in half with those gnashing cerberus teeth.
H: Hardy har har. I’m serious. I mean, I know it’s not always gonna be like that, but knowing and “knowing” are two very different things and it’s hard to convince myself that the outcome isn’t gonna be bleak 90% of the time. I’m not an unhappy person, you know that.
F: You’re not.
H: But it’s a lot of effort. You talked about emotional effort dealing with my stuff? It’s emotional effort for me to deal with people in that kind of social way. I can’t just be punchy and likeable on a dime like you. It’s really fucking hard for me. It’s so much easier to not have to think about it. The less I have to deal with new people, the less stress I have in my life. I know you’re right that I can’t always rely on you, but the alternative shits me to think about. I don’t want to have to think about it, so I don’t. I just don’t.
F: That really sucks. I’m sorry you have to deal with that on the regular.
H: Thanks. I guess I’m dumping emotional weight on you again though.
F: It’s fine. Just because I don’t want to be your repository for everything, doesn’t mean I don’t care. Plus, I like that you said I was right.
H: You’re a fucking Jack Russell, you know that?
F: Yip yip!

Let’s be real here. There is no alternate reality in which I don’t see Space Jam 2.

Why do I feel like I’m locked into a week of dialogue now? I don’t even think I bothered to think of characters this time.

S: But what if they don’t get the most important part of the franchise?
R: Jordan’s retired. He could come back. He’s probably just living off legacy sales of nike stuff. I’m sure he could make time in his busy schedule for a project of such artistic import.
S: Jordan? I’m not talking about Jordan. Clearly Bill Murray is the crucial cog in this well oiled machine.
R: Aside from the Loonie Tunes? And, like, the awakening for furries worldwide?
S: Do you think Bugs ever does that girl bunny dress up thing for Lola? You know, for spicy nights in the bedroom?
R: I wonder if that was an awakening for people who like dressing in drag. Bugs Bunny: Drag icon.
S: It is pretty fun, you know.
R: Space Jam? Once a year I get this insane itch to watch it again. Maybe some things should never be unearthed though. “What is dead can never die” and all that.
S: I was talking about dressing in drag. It’s fun. Drag parties are fun.
R: Oh?
S: Yeah, it’s fun to get into the spirit of the whole thing. Borrow something from a friend and dress like you normally wouldn’t.
R: I’ve never gone to one. How many years do you think we still have them for?
S: What do you mean? Still have them for?
R: Well with non gender binary kind of stuff making its way into the mainstream, how long is there gonna be a novelty to wearing clothes from another gender? Like, isn’t it gonna be pretty arbitrary if everyone can wear what they want whenever they want?
S: I guess. I never really thought of that. Wait, does that mean I need to feel shitty about this now? Like, am I offending people by doing the drag party?
R: I don’t have a good answer for you. I really don’t know. Do you know non-gender binary people?
S: One or two.
R: Maybe ask them? I can’t sit here and pretend to know. I’m just here thinking about the validity of Space Jam in 2016.
S: Was there validity to Space Jam in 1996? We both know the website holds up in any case.
R: Michael Jordan was a pretty big deal. Like, everyone loved him. I loved him and I didn’t even play sports. He just seemed awesome.
S: It’s funny, but the target audience for Space Jam 2 would probably be more excited for Bill Murray than any basketball player. I mean hell, I’m one of them.
R: Why is Murray so important to you here? Is this because of that Wes Anderson binge you did last summer?
S: There’s just something about Murray. Remember the original? He was this wistful benevolent spirit just wandering through the film spreading joy. Think about it. He wasn’t even playing a character. That Neuman guy from Seinfeld? He had a character. Bill Murray though? He was just Bill Murray playing basketball in Loonie Tunes land. I like to think that’s what Bill Murray does in his spare time, y’know? Just traipses in and out of various intellectual properties for the sake of something to do. I’m pretty sure he’s just Dream from Sandman, but for movies.
R: Do you think Bill Murray ever dresses in drag?
S: I can’t think of anyone more comfortable in their skin than Bill Murray. I’m sure he just wears whatever is around him. Like, if Björk’s swan dress was on his living room floor you can bet your sweet ass he’d put it on and act like he wasn’t wearing a large fake swan.
R: Yeah, but wouldn’t you too?
S: You’re right. It’s a pretty awesome dress.
R: Think they’ll get Björk for Space Jam 2?
S: We can only hope.

That speakerphone thing really happens. I’m tempted to get one of those voice modulator helmets just for when she calls.

More dialogue. I wanted to find some neutral location with no pre-existing connection.

R: I’ll have the “Florida Sunrise” thanks.
G: It’s pretty sweet. You sure you’re in for that?
R: Yeah, that’s fine. I have a sweet tooth. It’s 100% my style.
G: Okay. Just trust me, the orange flavour shot really does have a syrupy feel to it.
R: No worries. I’m sure I can handle it.
G: Righto. $4.20, thanks.
R: [hands over coins] Here you go. That was kind of neat by the way.
G: What was?
R: You warning me about that whole syrupy thing. Like, if I wasn’t into it then ordered it, that would’ve bugged me heaps. At the same time, you’re talking down your product in a kind of way.
G: [collecting grinds in portafilter] Yes and no. The people who love it love it, right? I’d rather people are happy with what they’re taking away. [levelling grinds] At the same time it doesn’t affect my bottom line, I just work here. [grabs cup and squirts in flavour shot]
R: I think that’s pretty cool.
G: [pulling shot] It’s no biggie, I know how I’d want to be treated as a customer, so that’s how I treat customers. Golden rule kind of thing. [grabs frothing pitcher]
R: Does it get hard at times? Like, if you’re in a shitty mood is it hard to be nice to people?
G: [filling pitcher with milk] It’s hard to say. Case dependent, y’know? [begins steaming milk]. I try to go for the whole “shit at the door” mentality. If I’m having a turd of a day that’s not their fault. Why would I make it their problem?
R: But if they’re being a right prat?
G: [stops steaming] Slams down pitcher and swirls milk] Then yeah, there’s a pleasure of sorts in serving them the same attitude right back.
R: And your boss is okay with that?
G: [pouring the milk] My boss is pretty understanding. They’ve worked the industry for years, they know the deal. I’m left to my own devices a lot of the time. [passes drink to R] Plus I’m a rock solid barista. There’s not much to complain about.
R: [takes a sip] Holy hell, this is syrupy.
G: [raises eyebrow] You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
R: No, it’s good. It’s smooth as. I just get what you were talking about.
G: [cleaning bench] What about you? Do you get customers where you work?
R: Not customers, [grabbing a lid] but office dynamics are a trip.
G: And are you a “shit at the door” kind of person?
R: [sighing] I get frustrated. I’m good most of the time, but I get fed up every now and again.
G: Oh? Go on.
R: People just get so damned passive aggressive. They send emails to people within walking distance all day long. Then when they don’t get a response quickly enough, they’ll start backstabbing each other on a dime. It’s like, this technology is convenient, but if someone’s within talking distance maybe go do that?
G: [laughs]. I love pet peeves. Got any more?
R: Oh, this one lady is within walking distance, but she’ll never talk to us. She calls. Every time.
G: The Worst.
R: It gets better. Or worse, depending how you feel. She puts everyone on speakerphone.
G: Wait, what? She’s in talking distance, right?
R: Yup. Maybe 40 feet away. So you hear yourself reply on her phone. Whenever she does it I instantly hang up and walk over there.
G: So she’s got you on a Pavlovian thing?
R: Oh God, you’re right. There’s no winning. She really is the worst.
G: Bummer. [smirking] I guess you should just quit, right?
R: [sarcastically] Totally. Just pack up my things, throw ’em out the window, walk out the door and fly straight to Florida. Drink these Florida Sunrises every day.
G: One flaw in your plan, I won’t be in Florida. How are you gonna get your drinks?
R: Damn. You’re right. You taking applications here?
G: No such luck. See for yourself, it’s pretty dead here. I’ve been talking to you for maybe 10 minutes and nobody else has walked in.
R: I joke. Mostly. I do like my job and there’s gotta be something shitty about every job.
G: Like customers giving me orders while they’re in the middle of a call?
R: People do that?
G: Yeah. I just tell them “it’s okay. I can wait”. I just stand there. They get shamed out of it pretty quickly.
R: I like that. That’s good. Hey, I’ve gotta get to work. Speakerphone lady isn’t gonna phone herself.
G: If she did though, she’d get some negative feedback.
R: [laughs] Thanks for the chat, eh? I’ll have to pop back in again.
G: See ya.

I once watched an episode of Wife Swap where the proxy wife made her doomsday prepper swap husband sell his hovercraft to pay for his kid to record a rap single for the sake of his self-esteem.

More dialogue. It’s kind of fun to write something different for a change.

T: Hi, I’m T. You must be B.
B: Excuse me?
T: It’s me, T from Ok Cupid. Sorry, my hair was a bit longer in my profile pic.
B: Oh, this is embarrassing. I think you’ve got the wrong person. I don’t even have a profile.
T: I’M SO SORRY. Geez, you looked so much like the picture. Sorry, I must have total facial aphasia or something. I just… I’m gonna go. Sorry again. Sorry. [quickly walks off]

*Three Minutes Later*

T: Wait a minute. You’re definitely B. You were messing with me, right?
B: [smirks] [holds up hands in surrender] Guilty as charged.
T: Aww, geez. Freak me out why don’t you? Here I am staring down everybody in this park. They must’ve thought I was crazy or something.
B: No way. You didn’t even have a tinfoil suit.
T: No, just a much heavier jacket than I needed. [puts down jacket]
B: Indeed. You a doomsday prepper or something?
T: What?
B: Lugging around that thing like an emergency bivouac. Awww, did you plan to hitch us up a cosy date hammock?
T: It’s a jacket, not a hammock. I’m just saying it’s hot today.
B: Yep. It is.
T: …
B: …
T: Did I do something wrong?
B: I’m not sure. Are you a felon as well as a survivalist? Ooh, are you hiding out from the law? Am I your hostage?
T: What? No. Can we just… So, do you come to this park often?
B: Only when I’m looking to dig up treasure. Say, you’re a survivalist. Do you have a shovel hidden somewhere on your person?
T: You keep doing that. Why can’t you answer a straight question?
B: Why can’t you ask a good question?
T: Seriously? I’m just trying to find out more about you and so far I’ve gotten nothing.
B: To be fair, it’s not like you’re giving me anything either. “How about this heat? Do you come here often?” How’s that gonna lead to anything interesting?
T: If I don’t know you, how am I gonna jump straight into these tangents and flights of fancy? I just wanted to break the ice a bit first.
B: Well you’re certainly… pick-y.
T: [flat stare] What?
B: You want to break the ice. You’re a pick-y one.
T: … was. Was that meant to be a pun?
B: [smiles] Yeah. Like an ice pick. [does an axe swinging motion] Pick-y.
T: [smiles] That’s SO dumb.
B: I know. Isn’t it great?
T: It was a little cheesy.
B: Yeah. It was pretty bad.
T: No, I mean, like, [holds up hands in a cheese grating motion] grated cheese. I was doing the punning.
B: Oh. [grins] OH. Nice one. Maybe you’re less of a doomsday prepper and more of a… “parmageddon survivalist”.
T: …
B: …
T: … I don’t know if this is gonna work out.
B: Hahaha. “So awkward”, right?
T: No, I mean it. Something just isn’t clicking.
B: We just broke the ice. [faux melodrama] Who knew you were so cold underneath it?
T: I’m not trying to be rude or shitty or anything. Honestly though, something’s off, right? Like we’re hitting all the beats, but only one of us is on the half beats and it’s throwing off the rhythm.
B: Well it’s not like these always have to work out.
T: You know, lately mine haven’t. I’m getting kind of burned out on this whole thing.
B: Bummer. That sucks. No harm though, these things happen.
T: Yeah. I hope I didn’t make you feel like you owed me anything.
B: Not at all. Let’s just chalk this one up to a mis-punderstanding.
T: [chuckles] You don’t turn it off, do you?
B: Not till I die. Nice to meet you. Hope your next date goes a bit better. [offers hand to shake] No hard feelings?
T: [shakes hand] Of course no hard feelings. [picks up jacket. Walks away]

B: [calling out] I’ve gotta ask, why did you even get in touch in the first place?
T: [Turns around] Oh. There was this poem you posted. The Pablo Neruda one. “But I love your feet, only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.”
B: It’s a lovely poem.
T: He’s a wonderful poet. My mum used to have that up on our bathroom wall when we were kids. It always made me feel warm inside. She died a few years back, but seeing that on your profile that warmth came back. I hadn’t read any of his stuff since she passed. After you reminded me, I went and devoured his works. I just thought that if you could bring something amazing like that back to my life, well. You’d probably be a pretty amazing person.
B: [smirks] I am, you know. But maybe it’s not me that your feet were walking towards. I hope this whole dating thing works out for you.
T: You too. [starts to turn away. Turns back] Hey, thanks for being kind.
B: What can I say? I’m a pretty amazing person. Have a [holds up hands in a cheese grating motion] grate… day.
T: I’m going now. [smiles] The Doomsday clock waits for no prepper.

Chipotle syrup is a real thing and it’s glorious.

More dialogue for dialogue’s sake. Let’s see where this goes.

K: I mean, I probably spend at least two hours a day deleting emails. At this point I’m basically going to work to eat lunch and even that’s getting tiring. I’ve tried all the good spots in a 500m radius and we keep getting the same food trucks passing by. You can only eat so many sushirritos before fusion is the new bland. Plus my boss is never really around, so we have the run of the place. I come and go when I want and nobody even notices. Well, maybe my co-workers notice but they don’t say anything.
A: Uh-huh.
K: I know, right? It’s the best and the worst rolled into one. I should probably quit, challenge myself and all that, but when the money’s so good to be doing practically nothing what recourse do I have? Kids starving in Africa and all that. Anyway, I’ve had enough of that new Justin Timberlake song already. We get it, you’re rich, sexy and happy. So are your friends. Go rub it in someone else’s nose. When did paint by numbers promotional tie ins for summer kids’ flicks become the new ukulele 1,2,4 beat?
A: Why are we here?
K: What do you mean? Why would you even say that? You know this is the only place where we can get chipotle infused maple syrup. What other point is there to being awake on a Sunday morning? Or do you mean on a larger philosophical scale? Like, here I am rambling on about work and a lack of fulfilment when I could be off exploring Ghana? I should, I know. At least before I’m 35. I feel like my travel over the past few years has been so Pan American. It’s like, see how others live, y’know?
A: I think I mean me. Why am I here? Me, sitting here in front of you while you prattle on about meaningless shit.
K: That’s so fucking rude! Why would you say that?
A: It is, I know, and I should apologise. Really though, I’m just way too fucking tired. You haven’t asked me a single thing about myself. You’re not letting me get a word in edgewise and even if I did, I feel like you’d just use it as a launching pad to talk about yourself and your opinions some more. We’ve-
K: That’s really fucking hurtful. It’s not like I’m-
A: There you go again! Do you realise how frustrating it is to have to mitigate everything I say to cater to your conversational dominance? Please for fuck’s sake just let me finish my sentences and I’ll do the same. Okay?
K: [blinks] Okay.
A: I called you here today because I wanted to catch up. It’s been about five or six months since we last saw each other and it was the same thing then. We used to be so close, but now whenever we get together we just talk past one another. Like, we’re talking but it’s not a conversation.
K: Thats… fair. I guess. I just. I don’t know where to start.
A: [sigh] I’m not saying we have to jump into deep and meaningful stuff. It doesn’t have to be heavy or anything. I just want to shoot the shit like we used to. Hell, remember when F left me? I was a mess. I spent hours crying on that fucking playground in the rain. You sat with me and talked at me until I stopped crying. What was it? Animals are all the wrong colour or something? That was kind. It meant something to me. You mean something to me and I want to remember why. Because meeting up twice a year to talk about the day to day isn’t cutting it for me anymore.
K: Okay. You’re right. Okay just give me a second to think here. It’s kind of a massive spanner to throw into the middle of a conversation.
K: THE SCENE IS SET. You’re in a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop-
A: [laughs] NO FUCKING WAY. It’s been years since we’ve done this.
K: [faux frown] Now who isn’t letting the other finish?
A: [grins] Sorry, sorry. I was just excited. Okay, what do I have? How many are there?
K: You’re in a coffee shop. What else do you need? There are four of them. They have switchblades.
A: [cracks knuckles] Step one is to fish the coins out of the tip bowl and throw them as they walk in. As they’re flinching away from the tiny shrapnel I’ll knock the first guy out with a well placed ceramic bowl thrown straight at the face.
K: Got it. One down.
A: I’ll set all the steamers to full to cover my tracks and start pulling shots for extra steam. I’ll pick them off one by one through the smoke like Batman.
K: A bold move. You are the night.
A: Exactly. I’ll duck down and turn on the brew. They’re gonna have to walk around that cramped counter and they’re not gonna see it coming. That’ll slip at least one of them up, right? Some Spicoli style scalding?
K: I’ll give it to you, but I think you can do better.
A: Noted. I’m rusty here. Uhh, I’ll tip the grinder out onto the floor just to make it harder to navigate, then the first dude to thrust at me is losing a hand. The last guy isn’t like, deathly lactose intolerant or anything by any chance, is he?
K: Allergic to penicillin, actually.
A: I can work with that. So the portafilter I hadn’t cleaned yet will be red hot. I’ll parry the last guy’s knife thrust with the portafilter and brand him in the face and while he winces in pain, I’ll rush to the medicine cabinet and grab some painkillers. I’ll crush them up and force feed him. SCENARIO ACED.
K: [laughs] That was sloppy, but not bad for your first scenario in a while.
A: [chuckling] Remember how we’d always mess around like this? Why did we stop?
K: I’ve got no good answer for that. You’re right, but it feels like it was so gradual that we never noticed. I guess it felt like too much work having to upkeep it all the time. Oh Christ, did I just say that? I sound like such a joyless asshole. I’m not joyless, right? You don’t see me that way, do you?
A: Honestly?
K: If anyone can be, it’s you.
A: No you’re not. You’re not a shitty person and I’m not pandering just ’cause you’re in front of me. We’ve been drifting and I’ve noticed, but I never known how to say anything without being blunt. I guess that’s kind of shitty in itself. I was rude earlier, I’m sorry. But I was also telling the truth when I said that you mean something to me. It’s sort of naive of me to expect that we wouldn’t change.
K: Yeah, we have. That doesn’t mean everything has to change though. We’re still friends in ways that have nothing to do with what we do or where we are.
A: Well, except for the chipotle infused maple syrup.
K: [laughs] You’re right. That has exactly everything to do with where we are. Hey, what are you up to now?
A: I was gonna go shop for fruit and veges. How come?
K: Well that playground isn’t far from here. We could go there and just shoot the shit. I never did tell you why giraffes should be teal, did I?
A: Nope. That sounds nice. Real nice.

Writing lion after lion.

Today I was thinking how writing dialogue would be fun. Then I realised I didn’t have a script or any desire to make a thing. Then I realised I didn’t need that. This is a blank canvas, I can do what I want here. So I wrote a meaningless bit of dialogue without context just to see what writing dialogue feels like. I feel like the characters were kind of poorly defined, but oh well.

G: I just don’t understand why they rebooted Voltron.
B: What do you mean? You used to love Voltron.
G: Yeah, I loved it. I wanted to live inside that world. To pilot a large robotic lion? To join together into a colossal humanoid robot with a fuck-off sized sword and repetitive but satisfying transformation sequence? Of course I loved it but that’s not the point. There was a time for that. Why does it need to happen again?
B: Why not? Stories get rebooted all the time. People enjoy seeing variant takes on the same concept. Plus rebooting something means they can try more contemporary slants on things. How was Voltron meant to have any notion of like, non-traditional gender roles? Those conversations didn’t exist at the time, but you can’t say it wouldn’t be at least slightly interesting to see how it’d shake up a trope ridden 80s cartoon.
G: It just feels like reboots are all we’re getting these days. Why can’t we see more interesting, original scripts?
B: *Sigh* I know why you feel like that, but they are out there. New stuff comes out all the time, it just doesn’t get as much coverage. I’ll turn the question around, how often are you looking for it?
G: Well I talk to friends, read my Facebook feed… Okay, points to you. I don’t really put in a ton of effort. Why should I though? It’s TV. It’s supposed to be about leisure, why would I put work into that?
B: Because you want results? I know that sounds dumb when we’re talking about TV shows, but how can you expect all this shit to just come to you?
G: It still seems counter-intuitive. I’m basically researching in order to find something to relax to. We’re living in the future. Shouldn’t the internet just know what we want?
B: Well obviously they’re trying. Netflix algorithms and stuff. Still, do you really think an algorithm deciding what you want to watch is as simple as knowing other things you’ve liked and tying together the linked commonalities?
G: Yeah, it’s always off ever so slightly. Like, just because I want to watch a comedy, that doesn’t mean I want to watch something silly. Maybe I want rapid fire one liners, or I could be in the mood for dark character driven comedy.
B: Exactly. Your mood at the time comes into it so heavily. We expect so much, but think about what the demands we’re placing actually mean. If you say “I just want them to know what I want”. That’s what you said, right?
G: Uhh, “the internet should know”, or something like that. Semantics, who cares?
B: Imagine trying to create that algorithm though. You’d be using code to map out a neural network of needs and wants which could change in an instant based on your fickle mood. You could (and do) turn on a dime and you expect it to account for that. I mean, remember last week when we went out for tacos?
G: Yeah, we got tacos. So what?
B: “We got tacos.” Not until we took turns shitting on every other kind of cuisine out there. “You know what B? Maybe I don’t want tacos after all. Maybe it’s a pizza night.” Then sushi, kebabs. Some misguided idea of putting poutine on a pizza…
G: You best tread lightly. You know a poutine pizza would’ve been junk food Nirvana. Like, our arteries would’ve hardened and in our death’s journey, found transcendence. Carbs on carbs on carbs. What other point is there to life?
B: We flipped and flopped between choices until the taco place was open. We had so much choice and analysis paralysis took us on a 360° trip. We took what was left and it was fine. Unexceptional but fine.
G: Well nothing quite felt right at the time. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted until I heard the right word. Then when I did, you weren’t into it. I could’ve done sushi.
B: But I’d just eaten tuna for lunch. I’m not looking to perform ritual seppuku via mercury poisoning.
G: Anyway, it’s not like you to take a tangent without doing some kind of verbal ouroboros. I’m not gonna forget that day you spent three hours ranting about the causal link between plastic playgrounds and the bystander effect. Where are you heading with all this?
B: Geez, this is a smorgasbord. Where do I start? So plastic playgrounds are safe, right? You’ve gotta be a clumsy fucking kid to damage yourself on one of those. Sometimes though, safe and reliable is what you’re looking for. Think about taco night. On any other night I could’ve been perfectly happy with sushi, but it wasn’t the right time. Tacos did the job. Safe, reliable. Unexciting.
G: Hey, don’t shit on tacos now.
B: I like tacos. Sometimes I crave tacos. I fucking write sonnets about how much I want them inside me (in a sexual way too). This mortal shell for a corn shell. That’s the point. Sometimes they’re not too appealing. Sometimes they’re exactly what you want. It depends on your mood. Just because you don’t want tacos, doesn’t mean other people don’t.
G: Of course not. The world doesn’t revolve around me. I just wish it did.
B: Hence Voltron. It’s a safe call, because Netflix knows there’s at least some fanbase kicking around. It’s gonna be hard to fuck that up. You might not be in the mood, but others will be. Plus if it’s what you want, it’s EXACTLY what you want.
G: Fine. You win. Go you. Have your reboot. You know what I want now though?
B: If you propose putting potatoes on pizza again I’ll lace your coffee with mercury. Cheese curds be damned.