Thought I’d practice some dialogue. It began as a 100-worder and grew. I quite like these three characters, might work on them some more. Strong language.
I hover on the pavement, waiting for my new workmates to follow me out of the building. Home is left, but I think Amy goes right. I point right.
‘I’m going this way,’ I say.
‘Oh okay, well, I’m up here,’ says Amy, pointing left. ‘See you tomorrow.’
‘I’ll come your way,’ I stutter, taking a spade to the back of my dignity and giving it solid whack.
‘Are you sure?’ she says.
‘Of course,’ I say.
‘Great, you can meet Graham. He’s meeting me on the corner.’
I meet Graham. He is a fitness instructor and DJ. We talk about football.
‘You Arsenal then?’
‘Of course,’ I say.
I’m not Arsenal. I’m the opposite of Arsenal. Had Graham been the perceptive sort, he would have intuited a hint of a beat of a pause before my reply.
‘Reckon those cunts up the road will ever finish above us?’
I glance at Amy, but she’s texting a friend.
’No way,’ I say. ‘Not those idiots.’
He looks at me odd, like I’ve farted, shakes his head and walks on. We walk in silence for a while. We walk past my house but I can’t say anything.
‘What do you do then? You a pen pusher like Amy?’
‘Yes, for my sins.’
Graham looks at me odd again.
‘Oh nothing, it’s just an expression.’
Graham seems to stop walking when he’s thinking. He smiles
‘I think if I saw you in the pub, I’d think you were a wrong’un,’ he says.
‘Yeah, you know. A bit…’
‘Weird? Yeah, I think I come across-
’Nah not weird. Gay. A bender.’
‘Oh right, well, that’s ok.’
‘But you’re not are you?’
‘Yeah. An uphill gardener.’
‘Not tonight Matthew,’ is what I almost say. Instead I snort a ’no.’
‘Good. Listen, I’ve got a spare ticket for Saturday if you wanna come.’
‘Um, I think I’ve got-‘
‘Otherwise it’ll just be me and Amy.’
‘-nothing on that day. Yeah, I’m free on Saturday.’
‘Great. It’ll be nice to sing some songs. She won’t sing when it’s just us and no other wanker sings in our section.’
Graham stops at the gate to a semi-detached Victorian house with a red front door.
‘This is us,’ he says.
‘Yeah, me and Ames. Moved in three weeks ago. I’ve got another couple of houses around the corner.’
‘Wow, you’re doing well.’
‘Fingers in pies, my son. Where d’you live then?’
I point into the middle distance, away from my house.
‘About a 10-minute walk up the hill.’
‘Alright, see ya Saturday… sorry, I didn’t catch your name.’
‘Jonas. As in the whale. Cool.’
I go to shake hands, but it morphs into a weird hug, back-thump thing that knocks the wind out of me. Amy glances up from her phone to say goodbye.
‘See you tomorrow,’ I smile.
She nods, they let themselves in and I continue to walk further away from everything I know.