GETTING IN TOUCH

This is a dialogue heavy piece. I’ve messed about with dialogue like Roddy Doyle’s “Two Pints” series. (see “Uber” below) He’s excellent at capturing voices, such an important part of writing. I think what characters say shows us more about them than anything. But you have to take care and think about how ‘ordinary’ spoken discourse, conversation reveals character.

This piece is a first draft but I wonder if it gets anywhere near doing the job I want it to. One of the characters harbours the secret that he’s been in prison. I think that’s enough for now. Tell me what you think.

“You’ll regret that,” I said. “You ought to get in touch.”

He said he didn’t know their number any more. “And I’m not going round there.”

Then he went on a tirade about his parents not understanding. I tried to point out that dropping out of university and going away who knows where was not an easy thing for anyone to accept.

“Freedom,” he said. “I do nothing illegal.”

“Apart from the substances.”

“They should be legal.” He shifted in the chair. “If you know what you’re doing they’re OK.”

“Listen,” I said. “You’ve come this far today.”

He bowed his head.

“You said you wanted to see me and we’ve talked about things that happened all that time ago.”

“Yeah.”

“You can’t just walk away from the past. Your links to it.”

“Why not?”

“It’s what’s made you who you are. You can’t deny it.”

I went and made some coffee and he hadn’t moved when I brought it to him. He sat still and ignore it.

“Drink your coffee,” I said after a while, “before it goes cold.”

He looked at me for a second then gazed out of the window. “What do you reckon?”

“There’s the phone,” I said. “It’d be dead easy to find their number.”

“But what would I say?”

“Something like ‘I’d like to come and see you,’ They could only say, ‘Fuck you.’ Or words to that effect.”

“Exactly.”

“But I bet they won’t. They’d be delighted to see you.”

I got hold of the telephone directory and found the number. I picked up the phone, dialled and handed it to him. Then I went intot he dining room and slid the doors shut. But I couldn’t help listening.

“Hello. It’s Stephen.”

Yeah.

I just wanted to get in touch.

I dont know. See how you are.

I’m at Martin’s.

He’s OK.

Not difficult with a name like his.

Yes he is but she’s visiting her parents.

Is he?

Oh. Yes. I remember.

For his dinner.

What? Vincent goes with him? He never liked rugby.

No I didn’t. You’re right.

I’m OK. Bit of a bad back.

I got in a bit of bother.

Not too serious no.

Dont want to talk about it on the phone.

Later today?

How do you think Dad will take that?

Are you sure?

If you’re sure?

No. I’m sure Martin’ll bring me up.

I don’t know about that. That might be a bit much.

OK. I’ll ask him.

Yeah.

Look it’s nearly four. I can be there in what 20 minutes.

No. I’ll be there.

Let’s say six o’clock.

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