For last night’s Writers Group meeting, we had a little assignment given to us. As a passenger on a crowded bus, we overhear the spirited and loud conversation of the elderly couple in front of us. In one page (300-400 words) write the action & dialogue. The point is to test flexibility in writing dialogue & ability to present two completely different characters.
I thought I would share my attempt with you…
Overheard on a Bus…
The only trouble with Paris in the summer is the tourists. I excluded myself from this category since I was in the city on business. It just so happened that I had a day off between meetings. That was how I ended up on the open-top bus.
I climbed the perilous staircase, the vehicle lurched forward and I clutched the handrail to steady myself, terrified at the thought of landing on the lower deck in a tangle of broken bones. Peering around from my precarious position, I spotted an empty seat near the front. When the driver regained a semblance of control I stumbled towards it, heaving a sigh of relief as I plonked my rear down in the plastic bucket-seat.
“I think my whatchamacallit is broken.” The yell came from the elderly man seated directly in front of me. The little old lady next to him patted his knee and leaned over to shout in his ear.
“No it’s not, Stanley. They’re just taking a break, is all.”
Stanley ceased fidgeting with the earphones that plugged into the side of the bus and looked at her.
“Really? Doggone Frenchies, always going on strike, eh Millie?” He roared with laughter at his own joke. I guessed he was from Texas.
Millie looked less than impressed. “Now don’t be rude about the locals, Stanley.”
“Aw, I was only kidding,” he protested. “Say, what’s our next stop?”
I silently awarded him ten points for his diversion technique.
They pored over the pamphlet in her hand. Stanley turned it upside down and Millie snatched it from him in annoyance.
“The Lowvree,” she announced after a studious moment. The woman was clearly well-educated.
“That big gallery we saw yesterday, the one with the glass pyramid out front.”
“Oh yeah, I remember.” He nodded slowly. “Geez, that was a waste of time, don’tcha think?”
“Yeah. The statues were OK but I don’t know what the big deal is with that Mona Lisa picture. I thought it’d be bigger. Oh, here we go. They’re back on,” she said pointing to the earphones he still held in his hands.
Stanley obediently shoved the earpieces in, almost knocking his glasses to the floor in his haste.