You may recall a few times in the past where I’ve written that certain entries languished in this blog’s draft folder for weeks or months before being posted to the public for you to read. Generally, I hold certain posts in the draft folder because I know that they’re not ready yet and need to be revised two or three more times. For all of you students out there, don’t ever underestimate the value and very powerful effect of proofreading your work – it works.
Anyway, just like there are certain posts that I hold in the draft folder for an extended period of time, there are also concepts and ideas for other writing-based “stuff” that I keep in my mental draft folder for an extended period of time. I think I’m going to start posting some of that content on this blog as a way to get it out there and see if it piques any interest in my readers. I’m going to call this unplanned, sporadic series of entries “The Unfinished Tales” (and yes, this is a direct ripoff of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales).
In advance of putting together this, the first of hopefully many Unfinished Tales entries, I’d like to note that there is a lot of stuff floating around my mental draft folder. For example, I might post a portion of a middle chapter of a book that I’d like to write at some point or I might write the beginning of a dialogue for a short story or a screenplay. There are a lot of thoughts that pass through my head when I’m in a creative mood. I guess we’ll find out if any of this stuff is actually worth anything… so here we go!
This is an opening dialogue either to a short story, short film, or a play. I’m thinking of turning it into a short story, but who knows. Here we go:
Gilbert: If you could just shut your hole for five minutes I might be able to collect myself and get some shut eye.
Ben: Why should I be quiet? You don’t deserve a good night’s sleep! HA HA HA!!!
Gilbert: SHUT UP! What gives with you, man? I’m exhausted, I can’t focus, I can’t think straight – and yet you insist on running your mouth. Enough!
Ben: I’ll never be quiet. You don’t deserve calmness. You don’t deserve relaxation.
Gilbert: And who the fuck are you to make that decision? You’re a miserable bastard who can’t see past his own self-loathing to let the light of life shine in and brighten your day. You’re a horrible, pathetic miser.
Ben: HA! You dare talk to me like that? Do you forg-
Gilbert: That’s right I dare talk to you like that! You never stop your complaining. You’re constantly going on and on about bullshit that doesn’t even exist. You’re a scumbag and you only exist to aggravate and annoy. I know your fucking game so stop the crap, let it go, and give me some peace.
Gilbert: Why not? Why must you be such a thorn in my side?
Ben: Because I know.
Gilbert: You know what? You don’t know shit except how to be a miserable fuck. Screw off.
Ben: I know what you did. I know all of it.
Gilbert: You don’t know shit. You don’t even know what you’re talking about.
Ben: Do you forget? Do you forget that I was there with you?!
Gilbert: *Looks down; attitude switches to a more solemn mood.* Shut up.
Ben: That’s better. Don’t forget what I know.
Gilbert: But why must you constantly harass me with history? What do those memories have to do with getting some rest right now?
Ben: Do you acknowledge that past?
Ben: The past! Do you acknowledge that it exists?!
Gilbert: Well, what the fuck do you want me to do? I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t let it weigh me down. I can’t change the past, but I can chart a better course for the future!
Ben: Don’t give me your bullshit! I know everything you’ve done and you should be the miserable one! YOU did this!
Gilbert: I didn’t – I didn’t do a… ugh… Just leave me alone.
Ben: *Stares even more intensely at Gilbert.* You did this.
Gilbert: Please… let’s just end it for today. I can’t think straight any more.
Ben: You did this…
Gilbert: …I know.
[ Change scene to Mark laying in his bed. A clock on the nightstand reads 3:12am. He is exhausted and alone and his sheets are tossed and turned. ]
Mark: No more thoughts tonight. Please God! No more… I just want to get some sleep.
I’ve been thinking of ways to operationalize different versions of this dialogue for a while now. I really think that it would work best as a short story about a character named Mark who wrestles with his inner conscience about his past. Granted, above certainly reads like a script for a play or a short film, but I think there could be something here if there was a strong narrative built around the short story format. I’ve been working on that format for some time now, so if I ever get this short story finished – be on the lookout because I’ll post details here first!