Today’s prompt was to write a story using only dialogue. So, I gave it a shot. I didn’t even use any tags. The hardest thing was thinking about pauses. I wanted a moment for my two characters to stare at each other in silence and have the last person to talk be the first person to talk after the pause. Without any tags, that was impossible to convey. It’s also longer than it should be. But at least I’ve written something and the day is done.
Thank you for reading!
“What do you think? The red suitcase or the black and white striped suitcase?”
“I love the red suitcase, of course. The red really stands out. But it has that wonky wheel. And the black and white striped suitcase was from your mother. It’d make her happy if she knew. But it is a bit smaller than the red suitcase. Not a lot. Do you think it will matter?”
“I don’t understand. Why are you packing a suitcase?”
“Seriously? What do you think I’m going to do? Hold all my stuff in my arms? Shove it in my purse? Oh I know. You want me to wear everything all at once. Like we’re war refugees. What? Why are you staring at me?”
“You can’t expect a person not to stare at the freaks in the circus.”
“Excuse me? Hey. I’m sorry for being prepared. I’m sorry for trying to have a plan. Sorry I have suitcase choices. What kind of life have you had anyway that makes a person with a suitcase question a freak?”
“Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“Why do you think I’m packing? You think I set out all those clothes for fun? Look at this. Look! I’ve got my toothbrush and deodorant and shampoo right here. What about you? Have you prepared anything?”
“You’re just mad because you aren’t ready. You probably don’t even have any clean clothes to pack, do you? I bet you don’t even know where your suitcase is. Well, if you think I’m going to let you have one of mine, forget it. Hell. I’m going to go ahead and pack both! So, I’m going to have clothes to wear for any weather and…what? Why are you laughing? You won’t be laughing when you have to go naked everywhere. And people will, point and say, who’s the naked idiot? And you know what I’m going say back? I’ll tell you! I’m going to say—”
“Nothing! Nobody’s going to be saying anything.”
“Well, most people probably won’t say anything because most people are polite. But somebody’s going to say something because somebody always does. Like that Suzie Squire across the way. Her skin could be falling off and she’d still find time to say something.”
“Suzie Squire’s already gone.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that. I’m just saying that there is always a Suzie Squire around. Oh, but what do I know? It’s not like I’m going to be here.”
“Because I’m not going anywhere with you. Don’t roll your eyes. I’m going to take me and my very full suitcase far away from you. You can go your way and I’ll go mine.”
“You won’t last five minutes. Not even three.”
“No. I won’t.”
“Oh no you don’t. Don’t you try and make me change my mind by pretending to agree. I’m not falling for that crap. I’m going to finish packing my suitcase and then I’ll go on without you.”
“You can’t go on without me.”
“Oh yeah? Well, I don’t have to wait here. I can take my suitcase and my damn fine self away from you. I can go next door to the Silverton’s or I can go over to Brindi’s and order myself a beer. That’s right. A beer! Or I can head down the street and keep walking until it’s over.”
“But for the love of atoms, you don’t need a suitcase.”
“What’s it matter to you if I have a suitcase? You never know. We might end up needing it. We might! Always be prepared. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. Don’t look like that. Here. Give me your toothbrush. I’ve got room for it. And we can share toothpaste. And the hairbrush. That’s right. Pack something to sleep in, an extra pair of jeans, and a few pairs of underwear. Oh. And socks. I think socks will be useful. Really. I remember hearing that homeless people need socks. If they need socks, then we’ll need socks. Now stop crying and close the suitcase. Wait. Throw in the box of tissue.
“C’mon now. We’re in this together. It’s not like you to cry. I mean, it’s okay to cry. It’s understandable. Everybody’s going to be crying or passing out drunk before the end. Right? Why should we be any different?”
“Don’t be silly. Now, I bet everybody’s at Brindi’s drinking everything she’s got. Might as well, right? Not like we have to worry about hangovers!”
“I’m glad you picked the red suitcase.”
“Thank you, sweetie. I love you, too.”
2 thoughts on “The 16th Story”
Haha — well done, you!
I once tried to write a dialogue-only story but wasn’t crazy with the results. It didn’t use tags, either, and the inability to even say, like, “She opened the door” drove me nuts. Had to replace it with lame, unnatural things like, “Why are you opening the door? Going someplace?”
I struggled with the impulse to write stage directions.