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Thread: Calamari

  1. #1
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    Calamari

    This was written primarily as an exercise in dialogue at the prompt of Nika Harper's vlog. Opinions and tips welcome.

    ----

    The door opened sooner than I expected.

    A fireball of screeching bolted bast the door and under the table.

    “Why is the cat on fire?”

    “Ok, I know this looks bad but…”

    “Yeah, it really does. Turn on the lights, you moron. Get the fire thing.”

    “The what?” I scrambled.

    “The extinguisher!”

    FOOOOOSH

    She picked up the cat and held him to her chest. “Well now he’s going to be scarred for life, what freaking happened here?”

    “Ok I realize I forgot our anniversary this morning and…”

    “…” she stared.

    “…and I wanted to do something nice for you when you got home from work, so I made plans.”

    “Some plans.” She shut the door nuzzled the cat to her neck. The cat meowed.

    “Ok give me a second to explain. After you left this morning I felt like you were upset with me…”

    “I was”

    sigh

    “I know. So I went on your computer to see…”

    “You got on my computer? Seriously?”

    siiiigh

    “I got on your computer so I could find what food you’d bookmarked on that recipe site so I could try to make something for…”

    “You can’t even cook, what were you thinking?” she indignantly sat on the bar stool and stroked the cat who was letting out a constant but quiet whine. Her eyes left me for the first time since she’d stepped in the kitchen.

    “…so I could something make for dinner and surprise you. I grabbed the recipe for calamari and had to figure out how to fry it…”

    Her eyes shot back to me.

    “…so I went online and watched some tutorials. I knew you were going to be home soon so I lit the candles and sat them next to the stove.” I paused to gauge the situation.

    Her shoulders dropped slightly and she looked briefly at the floor, then back to me. “Wait. You put candles next to the stove. With the grease.”

    “I looked away for two seconds.”

    “Bill loves fish. You had calamari in the pan.”

    “Yeah, so I heard a noise and looked over just in time to see him try to lick the calamari, I tried to reach for him but he jumped when the fry grease spattered or something. He tried to run but did that running-on-a-slick-surface thing, hit the candle which fell into the pan. Fire shot up into the air and flaming grease landed on him. That’s about when you walked in. I’m so sorry.”

    She looked at me for what felt like hours.

    My heart sank.

    She started laughing. Uproariously laughing.

    “You complete and utter dolt.” she shouted, between gasps for air. I started laughing.

    The cat mrowled.

    She put the cat down and walked over and we hugged, laughing uncontrollably.

    I suggested, “let’s go get someone else to make us calamari.”

    She hooked her arm in mine, “Let’s.”

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrtiddles View Post
    “Why is the cat on fire?”

    “Ok, I know this looks bad but…”

    “Yeah, it really does. Turn on the lights, you moron. Get the fire thing.”
    I feel like you can get a pretty good feel for the 'I' in this story (desperate, apologetic), but with the 'she', you can just barely make it out. Certainly not in any way that allows the story to flow easily.

    The dialogue itself is fine, but you can't get much of a sense of how anything is said by the character most times, I think.
    "Why is the cat on fire?" is read very casually on its own, not a hint of outrage or bewilderment. Same with various other lines by the same character.
    Toward the end, you do get a better feel for the character; she sits indignantly, her eyes shoot, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrtiddles View Post
    She looked at me for what felt like hours.
    Again, I feel like emotion could be conveyed a little better here. How did she look at the character? Did she stare longingly? Did she have fury in her eyes?

    Lastly, the sighing. From my understanding, the character is feeling irritated, and the sighs were more internal than anything, to show the reader a level of exasperation. Try italicising to make it clearer that it was not an external sigh, perhaps?

  3. #3
    in a blue moon amuse's Avatar
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    This is cute.

    A "fireball of screeching" could be edited ever so slightly to give the picture you intend. Only because 'screeching' isn't a noun.

    The extinguisher's "FOOOOOSH": that took me a moment to realize what it was. Perhaps you could liven that up a bit. Her cat did just catch fire and this man does NOT want to be in the 'dog house.' Perhaps you could first describe his thoughts and/or body language as he picks it up/aims so we can see/feel what's going on with him?
    Sorry re: all the forward slashes!

    Love that your first reply was from garlic!!!
    shh!!!
    the air and water have been here a long time, and they are telling stories.

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for your replies, folks. This is why I love writing and collaborating. I'll work on this. Cheers.

  5. #5
    I loved this too much, although I had a hard time following it, and read it as the guy being the one walking in and the girl being the one cooking, but I may have just been confused.

  6. #6
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    I don't like the use of 'sigh' as if they were sound effects or a psuedo emoticon. It really doesn't work IMHO and it gives me the impression that you just don't want to go to the trouble of writing a full detailed short story for the reader. There seems to be no real regard for the welfare of the cat either which is probably in need of medical care since a) it was on fire and b) it's just been doused by extinguisher, yet they both decide to have a laugh and go out for dinner.

    You've got a plot here but it needs more work to be believable.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

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