“Take me hoooome country roooooads to the plaaace where I be-”
The off-key crooning reached her through the ageing bathroom door.
“Are you done?” she enquired tentatively.
“-looong! West Virginiaaa Moun-”
“Hey! Are you done?”
“Nope! Mountain Mamaaaa-”
“Well how long are you going to take?” She asked hopping from one foot to another.
“I just got in. Another 45 minutes maybe?”
“45 minutes? Look I really need to go”
“You always do this. Every fucking morning. What’s the point of waking up early-”
“I know. I know. I’m sorry but please just today” she whined placing her forehead against the door.
“Fine. But you’ve got to wait. I’m halfway through Greenspan’s interview on Econo-“
“I’m about to soil myself and you want to – look just get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!” she screamed not caring if the neighbours heard through the thin walls of the apartment.
“You know that attitude won’t help you.” Even though she couldn’t see him he raised his nose snootily as he said this.
“Fine. 5 minutes. I’ll be back”
She stomped off not waiting for the rest of his taunting comeback.
“Ok. Keep walking. Take your mind off it. Don’t think about it. Dust something. Plump a cushion. What should I make for dinner? Maybe I should call Mom. Maybe I should pack my lunch. Maybe I should do the dishes. Maybe I should have married someone who could afford a flat with two bathrooms.” She muttered as retraced her steps back to the bathroom door. “Right. Time’s up!”
“You’ve been gone exactly 30 seconds… and all your screaming has frightened my bowels. I get another extra minute.”
“I hate you. After I go I’m leaving you.” She hissed as she rattled the doorknob.
“But after you go won’t you already be – gone?”
“Ha Ha! Smarty pants”
“Since you’ve been goooone”
“Kelly Clarkson? That’s it! You’ve had it” She screeched pummelling the door with both hands.
“Are you trying to break the door down? How very Jack Nicholson…the axe is in the airing cupboard. Heeeer’es Johhnie!”
His bellowing laugh shook her out of the demented door banging and she backed away.
“I’ll teach that lying, sneaky, smug, two face-”
“There. All yours.” The narrow passage reverberated with the whooshing of the noisy cistern and his voice.
“Ass hole.” She muttered kicking him as she entered the bathroom.
She sat down and sighed in relief as the anger flowed out.
“You there? I love you.”
Two characters are 'talking'. Pretend it's a script, with no prose at all in between. Your characters are in conflict (that doesn't necessarily mean an argument.) Make the dialogue work very very hard. Consider the possibilities of irony, misunderstanding, humour, subtext, differing perspectives, contrast between voices... What is NOT said?
IF you have time, go back and add only the most necessary prose in between the speaking parts:
-- to identify or locate characters (eg "she was still in her school uniform", "he was sitting on a pile of pumpkins", "they had reached the top floor where the view...", "It was 1789 and Paris was...")
-- to clarify important or unspoken action (eg "he dropped the gun", "her perfume reminded him of his stepmother", "the car didn't stop", "the chandeliers shook with the first roll of thunder"...)
Please bring clear copies to class next week. Your work will be read out by others.