A little fiction fits the bill today, I think. And once more I offer you a trifecta to bring me right up to date with the Writing 101 challenges and a little extra for the Daily Post challenge of the day. So what we are dealing with here is Give & Take – depicting a disagreement through dialogue; Death to adverbs – write a descriptive piece without any adverbs (I think I’ve managed that) and Devil in the Detail – show don;t tell, describe your scene richly enough for the story, yet not so much it becomes a distraction.
So here we have it. As ever, your feedback is most appreciated on the piece, and on the response to the challenges.
I love this spot. The people watching is second to none.
The diner attracts all types. I’m in the corner booth with the best view of the whole restaurant. Two booths ahead the old couple sit. They’ve used that same booth all the time I’ve been coming here, which is 7 years or more now, ever since I moved to this place to escape a lifetime of memories and broken dreams. I call them Duke and Miss Daisy. Most likely they’ve been coming here since the place opened and they were high school sweethearts. There are a few other regulars, too. A couple of local delivery drivers usually stop in here for a late breakfast, once their produce runs are done. The two generally sit up at the counter on the red-topped chrome stools, about half way down the length of the bar. This place is one of the last of the classic diners, all chrome and flash, red leatherette upholstery like a 50’s rod. People come here because they’ve always come here, certainly not because the food is good.
Just across, the teenagers usually gather. Today though, there’s just one couple down there. From where I’m sitting I can see his back, her face. There’s tension in the air from the feel of things. The sharp, jerky twitch of his shoulders, the way she’s leaning forwards into his face as she speaks, then leaning back with a slump. She looks to be crying, whether through sorrow or anger it’s hard to tell. Certainly not happiness though.
I get snippets of their conversation, staccato like a radio coming in and out of tune. I tune in to the whining voice of a young man with no escape, no way out of a desperate situation. Ah the pains of youth.
“I can’t …. It’s not that simple,” he’s rebutting some ultimatum she just dropped in his lap, by the sound of things. The look on her face suggests a loss and dismay I find hard to accept. I look away guiltily for having eavesdropped. Her response brings me straight back.
“You have to. You don’t have a choice. I – I don’t have a choice.”
“But it’s not what I want.”
“This is not just about you.” Her words hiss through clenched teeth. “This is about you, me and … and,” she breaks off, leans back and looks out of the window, forlorn and broken.
“But my folks, you know how they are.”
She looks back at him, and I can see the fire burning in her eyes from here. This guy should be combusting by now. “Your folks. Your frickin’ folks. This is none of their damn business.” She is struggling to keep her voice low, but the venom leaks through, loud and clear.
The waitress is moving down the row, topping up coffees. She gets to their table and fills their cups. Both smile up at her as though this is the best day of their lives. As soon as she moves on, the girl leans in again.
“You just find a way to fix this before anyone else gets hurt” She pauses, sits more straight. “You know, my daddy wants you to go hunting with him next weekend. Wouldn’t do for him to be mad at you when you’re all alone out there. You know how protective he is of his little girl.”
With that, she stands and strides from the diner. Buddy is left looking lost and alone.
So what was all that about, I wonder. I take out my notepad and make some notes, keeping the scene fresh for later when I’m at my typewriter.
People watching. I tell you, it’s better than any TV show.