Writing Exercise: Dialogue

As I explained in last week’s post, these characters–in fact, this particular scene–is something I’ve had in my head for a while, but nothing came of it. Desmond did make an appearance in an Intro to Fiction exercise. I finally wrote this out for my Advanced Fiction dialogue exercise. I think this was trying too hard–the crassness feels forced to me–but life goes on.    

“‘Desmond has a barrow in the market place, Molly is the singer in a band/Bradley says to Desmond, ‘Girl, I like your face’, and Desmond says this as she takes him by the hand…”

“Go have a seizure,” says Desmond as he slides into the shotgun seat. Bradley snickers as he starts up the engine.

“I love you too. Watch it, buddy. If you don’t lighten up I might just take you up on that.” He scans the intersection. “Where to?”

“Where else?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Venice Beach, that restaurant in that Hong Kong movie with the dumplings made from human fetuses…that reminds me, Char called.”

“She called you?”

“Yeah. She’s pretty pissed about your telling her to, ah, ‘Abort that shit.’”

“Why? I thought she did.”

“Well, yes, but—” Bradley shakes his head. “You know, if you’re going to be all pissy at me for serenading you with the friggin’ Beatles, you can’t literally do your pretty face like that.”

“What, this? It’s sunscreen. I’m at high risk for melanoma.”

“I’m fucking Irish and you put your sunscreen back in your fanny pack instead of offering me some. Wow. I see how it is.” Bradley makes a left turn towards Desmond’s apartment in North Hollywood. “See, this is what Char was complaining on about. You’re such a dick to people who love y—” Bradley’s voice trails off.

“As I was saying, if I got a seizure while driving, well, I’m a screenwriter, it’s not like I got anything to lose. But Desmond ‘Hymen’ Roth? Well—”

“I told you to stop calling—” Desmond looks up from his phone and stares at his best friend straight in the rearview mirror.

“Talking to you is like losing your virginity to a particularly large pencil sharpener because the prom queen got a restraining order and the pencil sharpener is roughly the correct size and shape.”

“Go on,” says Bradley, pausing at the red light.

“Every time, every time you open your mouth, I tell myself, you know, Desmond, this is it, just this once Bradley is finally going to say something that isn’t as emotionally and spiritually satisfying as getting lost in a maze of funhouse mirrors before a routine liposuction. And every time, every time, a swarm of goddamn flies might as well come out instead of words. Not even flies. Bats. Vampire ones.”

Bradley pulls into Desmond’s driveway. “It’s intellectual junk food. No, that’s a little harsh. It’s intellectual instant noodles.” Desmond steps out of the car. “Thanks for the ride. How’s your sister?”

Bradley looks at his pretty face. “Still underage.”

“Do you chew your mother with that mouth?” As he closes the door, Desmond finally looks at his friend. “Hey. What’s the matter?” He pauses. “It’s not Becca, is it?”

Bradley shakes his head as Desmond turns away. “Becca? Nah.” He doesn’t take his eyes off of Desmond once as he goes into his apartment.


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