AUTHOR’S NOTE: for this week’s installment of Flash Fiction Friday, we had to write a story comprised solely of dialogue. So much fun! I love these types of stories. A very interesting challenge in which my innermost Tarantino steps into the spotlight.

Enjoy!


So, Mike Walls. That’s quite the rap sheet. We should give you a key.

What’s this about?

Where were you the night Maggie Ellis died?

Maggie’s dead? Nah, man, you playin’ me.

Don’t be a wise-ass. Tell me. Wednesday night. Where were you?

Shit. Working.

Where?

Donnelly’s.

When’s the last time you saw Maggie?

Lemme think. Must be three weeks back. At her job.

Wrong answer. I’ve got a witness puts you with her this past week. Saw you at the movies, all lovey-dovey. Even heard you call her cupcake. Says you were tongue-wrestling a lot. During the best part of the movie, too.

That be one lying witness.

I don’t appreciate this Mike.

Do I give a flying fuck what you appreciate, Detective?

Wednesday night. Between ten and midnight. Where was your ugly ass?

Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. They all the same, you ask me.

Donnelly’s. That’s that Irish pub down by the waterfront, right?

Best fish and chips in town.

I’ve been there. Never seen you though.

I work in the shadows.

That where you always work? The shadows? Were you in the shadows on Wednesday, Mike? Waiting for Maggie to come home so you could jump her?

Your imagination be wilder than wild, Detective.

Isn’t that your M.O., Mike? 1998. Lisa Ming. You jumped out of the bushes, pulled her to the ground and had your way with her.

I thought she was your sister.

And 2002. Wanda Polk. You caught her in a dark alley. A pizza delivery man who got lost because of his GPS saved her from your loving ways.

Past be the past.

Are you a changed man, Mike? Did you find God?

I’m changed, all right. But God ain’t the why of it. I did my time and paid my debt to society. That’s all on me.

Then you won’t mind telling me where you were on Wednesday. That way I won’t have to beat it out of you.

Ah! You’re killing me. Who’s gonna hurt me? You?

I won’t pass up the chance.

You don’t have the cojones to.

Don’t test me, Mike.

Look at you. You never laid a finger on anybody but your old lady. What a tough guy you are!

Watch your mouth, young man.

You can’t fool me. Look at them hands. Probably got a manicure when you finished cop college, haven’t had to get another one since. What’s wrong, Detective? Mommy didn’t love you?

Good-looking woman like Maggie, lives not even a block away from Casa de Mike. Every day, Maggie walks right by your window in a short skirt and a halter top. Flaunts her goods. And damn, those goods look mighty good. Don’t they, Mike? My guess is you got tired of beating your own rocks off. Decided you wanted a piece of that.

Wasn’t like that.

No?

Maggie wanted it bad. Bitch begged me for it.

Maybe, you being a changed man since you got out of the joint, you went about it the right way. Maybe you sent her flowers. Sang a love song under her balcony. Juliet, my Juliet.

Man, I don’t need to do all that. All I do is show up. Works like a charm.

Except with Maggie. What happened? Did she say no to you? Big man can’t handle rejection?

Ain’t never had to.

Really? Is that why you force yourself on women? Is it the only way for you to get off?

Nah, nah, man. All them bitches are liars.

Was Maggie lying when she filed a complaint two months ago?

Probably.

Says someone broke into her house. Turned it inside out.

That so?

Yup. Guy took a few lace panties. Maybe a bra.

Text me when you get to the part where I should care.

Mike, why don’t you tell me what I’ll find if I search your apartment.

Lots of cool shit, man. I got like a big man-crush on Batman, so I got plenty of stuff with him on it. T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs. I even got boxer shorts with the bat signal across the crotch. Glows in the dark.

You’re living the dream. Anything else?

Oh, and I eat Honey Nut Cheerios with whole milk. Buckets of it. Keeps my cholesterol low.

I won’t find those lace panties and a bra or two?

Only if your momma done forgot them when I kicked her out.

I’ve had enough of you. You can deal with Rick now.

Is it time for the good cop, bad cop thing? Man, you guys ain’t original. Crap’s getting old.

Wipe that smile off your face.

Make me, Mister Good Cop.

How do you know I’m not the bad one?

Please. The only bad thing about you is yo breath. So, bring me Ricky the bad boy. I’ll take my chances with him.

Can’t believe the mouth on you, Walls. Let’s see if you’re so tough when you step into the shower with a horny thug who’ll call you Baby while he tears you a new one.

That happen to you?

You killed her, Mike.

Fuck off.

Why did you kill her?

I’ll kill you if you don’t shut yo mouth.

Come on, spill it. Get it off your chest. Why did you kill her?

She deserved it, alright? I gave her what she fucking deserved.

Nobody deserves to be killed, Mike.

Fucking bitch always come around my way, asking do I got any dope. We got high, listened to some music. She danced a little, you know. Like one of them strippers. Teased me, lifting her shirt and rubbing her tits and all that shit. Only when I touched her, she got all shy and stuff. No, no, I don’t want to, Mike.

What happened then?

I slapped her. She fell and then got up and ran for the door. I grabbed her from behind and pinned her against the wall. I wanted to give it to her, you know. Only I couldn’t… well… you know. On account of how high I was. Ain’t never a problem for my soldier to step up, you know.

Of course. What happened next?

Next? Well, I choked her till her eyes popped out of her skull. Fucking blood everywhere. Freaky shit.

See? That wasn’t so hard, now, was it, Mike? Don’t you feel better?

END

 


Hope you enjoyed this one.

Like I mentioned above, I feel like this type of story brings out the Tarantino in me. To me, this guy is the master of all things dialogue. As is Elmore Leonard.

What about you? Who comes to mind when you think about dialogue?

11 Responses

  1. That was nothing short of perfect. I especially liked, ” Says you were tongue-wrestling a lot. During the best part of the movie, too.”

    How in the hell do you come up with this dialogue? If you get bored, let me know. I could use your help! 🙂

    Terrific and inspiring–although I’m not a Tarantino fan. Dialogue, yeah–action, not so much.

    1. Thanks for the fantastic comments, MJ!

      I understand what you mean when you say you’re not a big fan of the action in the Tarantino movies. You either love it or hate it. No in-between.

      But I do think that the man revolutionized dialogue. For our era, at least. Nobody does it better. Think of the scene from Pulp Fiction where Travolta and Sam Jackson are driving along, and Travolta is talking about Europe’s little differences. That whole scene just sings!!

      As for this particular story of mine, for these types of exercises, I try to put two characters who are at opposites in terms of the way they speak. It’s easy to do with a street-level thug and a detective. One will speak in slang and abbreviated words, whereas the other will be just a bit more formal, using less idioms and using complete sentences.

      I’ll be glad to help. Just drop me an email at [email protected], and we’ll see what we can do.

      Cheers!
      Seb

      1. I agree that having opposites makes dialogue easier, but the humor of what is blurted out is incredible. That, unfortunately, isn’t something to learn; either you’ve got it or you don’t. You and I are on opposite sides of the fence concerning this information. I wish there was a way to sharpen the blade of my tongue. Perhaps I should search for books to exercise my brain into it. The ability to be witty is a useful tool for writing.

        1. I’m not sure you need a book.

          What you can do is eavesdrop on other people while you’re out and about. We are lucky to be living in a time when people carry conversations on their cell phones and we can all hear what they’re saying. OK, it’s only 1 side of the story, but still. You can appreciate some of the lingo being used.

          Also, don’t think that this comes easily. During the first draft, the dialogue is usually flat, as I come up with the quickest answer, which is usually pretty lame. But then I go back and I think of something totally different for one of the characters to say.

          A great exercice to try would be to write your scenes only in dialogue. No action, no description, just people talking. Have your characters sit around a table and talk. You’ll be surprised at what they can say to each other. You can fill in the blanks later.

          Cheers,

          Seb

          1. This is probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten on writing. I’m going to start practicing this task to see what I come up with. As a screenwriter, this exercise is perfect! With limits on what can be said, every word needs to count. Incredibly great advice, Seb. Thank you!

  2. This is great. While reading this, I’m picturing the two of them in a small interrogation room; cramped, very uncomfortable, wooden chairs, overflowing ash trays on the table… One of my all-time favorites: A scene from a black and white film with a street hood and a rumpled detective. The voices you used sets that type of scene and it works beautifully.

    The suspect baits the cop; the cop threatens a visit from another cop. I’m sure that type of conversation wouldn’t fly today. It’s too insensitive and might violate his rights. But in the good old days…

    You do dialogue very well. You set the scene and let it roll. Terrific job, Seb!

    1. To clarify, even without your photo at the top, that’s exactly the room you picture when you read the story. All that’s missing is the smoke in the air, the overflowing ash trays, cigs dangling from both their mouths and the detective’s half-filled coffee mug. Of course, all the suspect gets is a smoke — no burger, fries or ice cream cone like in some of the current films!

      1. Thanks for the comments, Joyce.

        That’s exactly the image I had in mind when I wrote the piece. I found the picture only when it came time to post it here.

        Not much of what goes on in the story would fly today. Though I’m pretty sure the good cop/bad cop thing is probably still tried in some sheriff’s offices….

        Cheers!

        Seb

  3. Nice dialogue. I like the in your face arrogance of the perp, throwing out smart ass comments to the cop but never really getting a rise from him. Until he feels he has to outdo himself by confessing.

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