Thursday, April 28, 2011

the french toast

A few weeks ago, Emma set me a writing challenge:

Write about someone pretending to be someone they're not, from someone else's perspective. Set it in a cafe, don't write more than 500 words, rely on dialogue just as much as description, and make sure somebody orders the French toast.

I'm on holidays at the moment and thought I'd give it a shot just now. It doesn't strictly stick to the rules. But perhaps Emma can be the judge of that.


They found him face down in the water. Not easy to deal with a body that’s swollen with water. Not easy to look at either. When I was a kid I once put my teddy bear in the bath to see what happened. He swelled up something chronic. Under the water he looked fine, but as soon as you took him out, he sagged with the weight of it, the water, kind of like a man caught in sin.

He squinted at me, inquiring into the state of my own soul with little more than a glace. Let the dead bury the dead, I thought.

The percolater dripped. I tried again -

Sorry, sir, would you like the French toast or the baked beans?

What kind of beans are they? I only like Texan beans. None of this out of a can-slapped-on-a-plate business. Gimme them hot.

You know Jeff Buckley was the kind of guy who wouldn’t have eaten out much. I know this, cos you hear a lot about people in this business. People open up to you. It’s like they expect you know em just cos you’ve seen em dead.

My take is he was a bit of a lay about. He woulda eaten beans out of the can. White bread for lunch and dinner. Not bothered with food altogether, really.

When I got him ready, they didn’t want no fuss. There isn’t much you could do anyway, after autopsy’s been done.

Sir –

I’ll take the French toast.

Absoutely. The French toast it is. Can I get you anything else? Perhaps some coffee?

He squinted again.

You know his Dad died young and careless too. Heroin. That makes two teddy bears sunk in the bath.

Would you like some drip coffee? Sugar? I need to serve some other customers.

Coffee? Sure. I’ll drink to Jeff. You never forget em, the young ones. Not in this business. And I'll take the French toast. Did I tell you that?

Yes, you did. The French toast. And the coffee. Cetainly, sir.

To Jeff.


Emma said...

Oooh, dark. Love the way you slip between thoughts and dialogue, past and present. Respect!

luce said...

write a script already. gosh.x