Mastering Dialogue, Lesson 1, Exercise 2

Jessica walked down the street with long strides, kicking up the dry leaves with every step. Just a few minutes ago, she had left the office for the day and looked forward to meeting her sister Joyce at the new Aftermath Lounge & Bar for a relaxing drink. As she rounded the last corner onto High Street, she all but collided with a short, rotund man, barely keeping her balance.

„Sorry,“ she exclaimed.

„Watch where you‘re going, woman!“ shouted the man, red in the face, with an angry voice. Then he looked at her and did a classic double take. „Is that you, Jessica?“ he asked incredously. „Jessica Snyder! I almost didn‘t recognize you. It‘s Barney, Barney Blunt! I haven‘t seen you in ages! How do you do?“

Jessica had stopped in her tracks when he adressed her so familiarly. Barney Blunt? She couldn‘t place the name nor the face. Who was he?

„I‘m sorry, I don‘t recognize you, Mr. Blunt,“ she replied cautiosly.

„Ow, come on, Jessica! Don‘t you remember? I was always hanging out with Joyce, Mary, John and the others!“ Now he looked expectantly at her.

Suddenly she remembered a rather short and thickset boy, hanging around her sister‘s clique, somewhat younger than they and rather unprepossessing with pimples and stringy hair. He hadn‘t improved much, she thought.

„Ah, yes, now I remember. You were always hanging around Joyce and her friends when we were in highschool.“ That sounded rude, she noticed. „How are you?“ she added, and immediatly whished she hadn‘t. Even back then, she couldn‘t abide him.

He beamed. „Well, I say, I have done rather well lately. You know, flipping houses. There is really money in that, good money. I just bought another house, back there on Maple Way,“ he boasted. Maple Way was an expensive neighborhood only a few blocks from where they were standing.

“Uh, that’s nice. Sorry, I have to go. Nice seeing you!” she tried to end the conversation and get away from him. Suddenly he grabbed her arm. She shrank back and he let go immediately.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. But I want to invite you for dinner, like, to celebrate… how about tomorrow evening, at Carlisle’s” he stated pompously, naming the most expensive restaurant in town.

Shaking her head, Jessica took a step sideways, trying to pass by him. “No, thank you. I have other plans,” she replied. “Good bye!”

“Wait! What about another day? Jessica, please!” Now he sounded whiny.

“Sorry, no. Like I said, I have other plans,” she repeated. She really did not want to go out with him, but he insisted again. Now his voice had an unpleasant low, nasal tone and his eyes had a cold glint.

“Come on. It’s only dinner. Or are you so high and mighty nowadays that you snub an old friend like this?” Although he hadn’t raised his voice, he sounded downright menacing.

Jessica had gotten angrier with each word. She gritted her teeth. Who did he think he was? Controlling her irritation, she took a deep breath.

“Barney, I’m not going out with you. Please leave me alone. Bye.” She turned and started to walk away.

“Didn’t change at all, like back then. Arrogant bitch. Some day, you will regret this, I swear,” he muttered angrily as he stared after her.

At first, she went by the Aftermath Lounge & Bar, looking back over her shoulder. When she couldn‘t see him any longer, she turned and slipped through the door.

Alex S., Nov. 2nd, 2017

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Lesson 1

Sun-hi stepped outside her home to take in the new neighborhood. She desperately needed a break from the mountain of boxes that still needed to be unpacked.

“Sunny, don’t wander off too far, dear. I don’t want you getting lost the first week,” Sun-hi’s mom hollered from inside.

“Mom, that was one time! And I was 6!” Sun-hi shouted behind her before heading down the driveway to get a better view of the street. Looking down one way, then another, she decided that a short walk to the corner of the block and back would be safe enough and not give her mother a panic attack.

As she neared her driveway on her way back, a teenage boy looking to be about the same age as her jogged down the driveway of the house next to hers. Sun-hi slowed her walk as he neared, keeping her gaze forward but watching him out of the corner of her eye.

“Hey, how’s it going? You moved into the house next door right? My name’s Nick.”

Sun-hi froze, her anxiety kicking in at being spoken to, and by a guy no less.

“Um, are you okay? Not trying to be weird or anything, I was just excited to see someone my age moving into the neighborhood. The rest of the neighbors are either old couples with no kids, or young couples with small kids. I was hoping that we could talk? Maybe go hang out, get to know each other?” He looked at her with hopeful eyes, a small smile on his face.

“I, uh, I. . .a date?” Sun-hi stammered, her nerves on overdrive, heart racing.

“No! I mean, not really, I guess? I was thinking more of hanging out, as new friends, maybe? Sorry. What do you say?”

“I, um, I have a lot of unpacking, and my mom is probably worried about so I should head inside,” Sun-hi stammered out as she tripped her way around Nick back to the safety of her new home.

“Oh, okay. Maybe some other time.” Nick replied sadly as Sun-hi began to scurry away.

“Wait, you never told me your name!” He hollered at her retreating back.

Timidly, Sun-hi paused as she reached her door.

“It’s Sun-hi,” she said as she disappeared inside.

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To Leave or Not to Leave Lesson 2 (Optional)

Lesson 2 – Exercise 3 (Optional)
Taking sides


They all decided to meet in their favorite haunt, “Mackintosh Bistro” on that Friday night. Shelly and Vicki beat Alex there and rushed inside out of the rain. The restaurant was brightly lit. So much so, that the glass bowl containing a candle on each table was unnecessary, but lent a hint of atmosphere. The floor was black and white checkered and matched the tablecloths on the round, wooden tables.
When Shelly and Vicki were seated, Vicki spurted out, “You shouldn’t have left Mike!”
Vicki never was one to mince words. Even on things that weren’t any of her business. She was known as the judgmental, busy-body of the church. If there was anything that was going on, personal or not, she had an opinion and she wasn’t afraid to share it. She was also bossy. Her way was the only way to do things. Shelly, who was the only person who could match Vicki in her opinions. She stood up to her.

That is, usually. This was the first time that Shelly shrunk back in her chair, and silently traced the rim of the cup of coffee in front of her. Her eyes welled up with tears as she thought about Mike and how he had betrayed her. She thought about the look her friend Grace had when Shelly walked into the restaurant in time to see her husband kissing her best friend.  Her thoughts were shattered as she heard Alex greet Vicki. Shelly dabbed at her eyes and she watched Alex sit down and grab the menu.

Alex had waited to speak to Shelly until she regained her composure. She patted Shelly’s hand and mouthed the words, “It will be alright”, although she knew that it won’t be for a long time.

After the waitress came and took their order, Vicki, in her strong voice, said, a little too loud, “Mike is a catch. Don’t you agree, Alex?” Without waiting for an answer, she plowed on like a bull in a china shop, “Besides, God hates divorce.”

Alex shot back, “I believe that you’re referring to Matthew 5:31, 32 which states, , ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[f] 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’ Shelly has a right to divorce Mike. After all, she did catch him with Grace.”
Shelly burst out in tears. “Stop it! I’m confused enough. I still love him. We have been married 20 years, and went through a lot in those years.”
“Yeah, like when you caught him with Janice. Do you remember that?”
The sarcasm was not lost on Shelly. Her answer was to turn and gaze outside through the window. Tears began to trickle down her pale cheeks.
Seeing one of her friends verbally beat up on Shelly broke Alex’s heart. She could only touch her hand again. Shelly looked back at her.
“I’m sorry. I’m a mess. I should have stayed home tonight.”
Alex shot a look at Vicki that said, ‘shut up’. “No, Shelly. We were out of line. I can see how hard it would be to turn your back on him. Alter all, he was your first love. You need time to figure this out.” She looked back at Vicki. Back off! She hoped that Vicki got the message and wouldn’t continue to run Mike down.
She didn’t. “Mike’s nothing but a sleazy creep. How you can even consider going back to him is beyond me. There would be no way that I would allow him to step one foot into my house if he did that to me.”
Shelly threw her napkin down, scooped up her purse and ran out of the restaurant. It was impossible for Vicki not to understand the daggers Alex shot at her.
“What? I only told her the truth.”
Alex sighed and followed Shelly to her car.

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Lesson 8 – Queen Bee of the Amazons

“Ms. Queen Bee is in.  Look out,” said Barbara.  “I clocked in late but I had been here and she docked me for a whole hour.”

“Terrible,” said Ann.  “She’s done that to me too.  There is no recourse with the Queen of the Amazons.”

“We’re all going to hang out in the amazons if this keeps up,” said Barbara.

The aka “Queen Bee,” Martha overheard part of the conversation and stepped out of her office.  “Barbara, come into my office.”

“Yes, Ms. Martha,” said Barbara.

“What is this here?” asked Martha.  “You don’t like the style of my management?”

“What do you mean?” asked Barbara.

“You know,” said Martha.  “Queen Bee of the amazons?”

“Oh, not you,” said Barbara.

“Are you sure?” said Martha.  “You didn’t say that?”

But Barbara couldn’t tell a lie.  “I don’t think it’s fair we get docked just because we forgot to clock in the computer when we arrive at work.  I was here and on time!”

“You don’t do you?” said Martha.  “Well, I’m the boss here.  And if you don’t like it, there’s the door.”

“Well,” said Barbara.  “I’m not the only one that thinks it’s not fair.  Don’t just blame me.”

“Oh, believe me, I won’t,” said Martha.  “I’m completely fair.”

Barbara frowned and looked perplexed.  She said, “How’s that being fair?”

“I’m fair and square,” said Martha aka Queen Bee.  “I’ll just fire all of you and fill this company up with temporaries.”

A look of stark terror came over Barbara’s face.  She grew pale and stoic.

The telephone rang and Martha answered it.  “You’ll have to go now.  I’ll talk to you later,” Martha said to Barbara.

Barbara left Martha’s office and walked back to her cubicle feeling dejected.  She sat in front of her computer but found it hard to work with the recent spate of bull floating through her head.  She thought, I’ll tell you this.  That’s sure one way of cutting the budget.  With temporaries you don’t have to pay real wages and benefits.  Yeah, sure.  There are a lot of slackers in this company who show up when they want to and don’t work when they’re here.  But she, Martha shouldn’t be taking this out on me because I work and I don’t take time off.  Our boss, Martha is the biggest slave driver could be why some people just give up and become slackers.

aka Queen Bee finished her phone call and walked out of her office and quietly pussy footed around each employees cubicle one by one as to sneak up behind them.  “Why aren’t you answering the phone?” she asked Suzy.

“But miss Martha,” replied Suzy.  “The phone rings off the hook.  I’m doing the best I can.”

“I’ve been watching the stats,” said Martha.  “Is that the best you can do?  We can’t have any dropped calls?  Not one.  Do you hear?”

“Yes, mam” replied Suzy.  “No dropped calls.”

Then Martha came upon the next victim.  “Why isn’t that report finished yet?

“Ms. Martha,” said Sally.  “There are three thousand accounts and you gave it to me just two hours ago.”

“I want that report finished by the end of the week,” said Martha.  “Or else.”

“Yes, Ms. Martha,” said Sally.  She felt like she could hide under her desk.

Martha went out to her next victim sneaking around the corner quietly to the next cubicle.  “Why aren’t those documents finished?”

“I have one hundred documents to verify,” said Rebecca meekly.

“I want those documents finished by the end of the day,” said Martha.

“Yes, mam,” said Rebecca. “I’ll try.”

Ms. Queen Bee continued to buzz around to each of her slaves cubicles giving each one orders about how they should perform until she got to one employee in particular.  Guess who but her best friend and favorite who did nothing but socialize all day every day.  “Keep up the good work,” said Martha.  Then the Queen Bee made her rounds to Barbara’s cubicle.

“I finished typing your packet of forms,” said Barbara.  Amazingly Martha/Queen Bee did a flip flop.

“That was fast,” said Martha.  “You are the fastest and the most accurate one in here.”  There was no love or favoritism between the two of them but Barbara did have fast fingers.

“Thank you,” said Barbara feeling relieved that maybe Martha was just venting when she wanted to fire everyone and replace them with temporaries.  Maybe, she really wasn’t talking about her.  Boss Martha’s own job was on the line if her own boss didn’t feel like she was getting the output from her employees under her immediate supervision.

Something must have been biting Martha the time I was in her office this morning, thought Barbara.  Maybe, I should learn to overlook her sudden outbursts.  I’m doing my job.  I don’t know if she isn’t.  It could be this company is just a magnet for all of the slackers out there in the world.  They really are like flies stuck on glue paper with no where else to go. This company takes in everything that walks on two legs,.  They keep some of the worst incompetent people, deadbeats for years to come employed in the company as if they were their own flesh and blood.  That may be good for job security but something has to give.

Then something started to give.  An email was sent to all employees.  Barbara opened the email from the Division Chief.  It says that some of our jobs are going to be outsourced, she read.  Barbara then felt a breeze come through the office.  What was that that just whooshed by, she thought?

It was the Division Chief who passed by her cubicle about to give a speech to all the employees.  “I’ve heard concerns about the email I sent.  But I promise you that your jobs are secure even though there is going to be some outsourcing of some projects and functions from within the company.”

The next month four people were gone out the door.  Was it from unintended consequences?  Or, was it planned?

Several employees confronted Martha.  They all said, “They said no one was going to lose their jobs due to the outsourcing.”

Barbara thought, ha, ha.  My sweet revenge.  I lied.  But then said, “Those people are just not with us anymore.  Have no worries.  I want to tell you that you all are doing a great job.”

Yeah, I guess we are as long as we feel the lash of her whip forced to do ten times more than what can be reasonably accomplished within forty hours a week, thought Barbara.

One year later everyone was let go.  It wasn’t because there was no job.  Well, there was.  They were either outsourced or filled up with temporaries.  The company decided to clean house.  They were on a budget.  Actually, the company did this recycling of employees every so often.  They said they needed some fresh blood.

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The Announcement Lesson 6

The Announcement                                 Lesson 6

It was taking Georgina nearly two hours to travel across the city to her parents’ house on the fringe western suburbs.

Her visits weren’t frequent and already she could feel the tension building in her shoulders. Georgina was never going to be the boy her father had desperately wanted. He called her George and had pushed her into football and outdoor activities but even though she’d tried so hard she fell short of his expectations. His staunch Union support had immersed her in politics but at Uni studying Political Science her political orientation had changed. Her announcement today would not go down well. Gina, as all her friends called her, braced herself as she knocked on the door.

“Georgie, love. It’s good to see you.” Maria tried to reach out to her daughter when Rocco was out of hearing. “You’ve bought us lunch. Go see your father. He’s a bit out of sorts today.”

As Gina stepped into the enclosed veranda Rocco was in his recliner chair. He reached out to shake her hand but didn’t stand.

“Hi Dad. You’ve got a warm spot here in the sun.”

“Have to spend a lot of time here these days. Your mob don’t give us miners any compo payments.”

The reference to her work with the Government member was his typical barb. She turned the subject to the Club and some of his mates. She offered to help with the lunch but Maria suggested she should stay with Rocco. Soon they were eating the chicken salad and Gina knew she had to prepare them.

“Mum and Dad, I’ve got some things I need you to know. I’d like you to listen before we discuss them.” There was a snort from the chair.

“Is your mob putting up our pension? Not likely.” Rocco answered his own question.

“No Dad. I’ve resigned from my job with the Member.”

“That’s a relief. Are you going to get a real job now?”

“Georgie. I thought you were happy where you worked.”

Gina hesitated. The worst was yet to come.

“I’ve loved my work and the Member of Parliament who is my boss is a hard working man.”

“Hard working! He wouldn’t last half an hour down in the mine.”

Gina decided to plough on. “You may have heard that an Election is coming up and the Deputy Premier is retiring.”

“And good riddance is what me and my mates say about him and every other poli.”

“Well Dad you probably won’t like what I’m going to tell you next.”

“No surprises there George.”

“Oh Rocco. Just listen up.”

“I’ve had to resign because I have won the Pre-Selection for the Deputy Premier’s seat. It’s what they consider a “blue ribbon” seat so there is a very strong expectation I will be elected as the Member for Springwater.” It was a bombshell. Gina tensed waiting for the outburst. Would this be the final nail in their fragile relationship?

“A poli! A politician! I’ll never be able to put my foot in the Club with my mates again.” His voice was rising. His face reddened.

“Georgie. That’s very upsetting. Are you going to be on tele?”

“That’s why I’m here Mum. This week an announcement will be made and during the build up to the election I’ll be travelling with the Premier. I’m going to probably be on the TV quite a lot.”

“What channel? Well we won’t be watching you or that mob.” Rocco was angry. “Don’t bring your news crew anywhere near us or they’ll really get an earful.”

Rocco began coughing and gasped for breath. Gina hadn’t realised the extent of the lung disease. Maria stood nearby with a glass of water.

“Georgie, you’re upsetting your father, again.” Her mother’s disapproval lay in every word. “You’re upsetting us both. I think you need to leave.”

“I’m sorry Mum and Dad but there’s more I need to say. It’s about the journalists and the TV crews.”

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Courtney’s Moment of Fear

Courtney’s Moment of Fear

“Hi, Courtney.”
Courtney looked at him with confusion. “Do I know you?”
“Well…no; but I know you.”
Courtney’s heart stopped. Who is this guy??
“I am a huge fan of yours. Will you sign my book?”
Her heart started again. Oh, it’s just another fan. He shoved his copy of “A Dagger in My Heart” in her face. She signed it, and began to walk past him. She stopped short when he jumped ahead of her, blocking her way. Her heart raced and her mind was cluttered with thoughts that every writer in this situation has. This guy is some kind of a nut!
He looked at her with a smirk on his face. Not a warm smile, that makes you feel at ease, but a leering grin. Courtney’s hair on the back of her neck stood on end.

“Gee, you are as beautiful as your picture”, pointing at the back cover of her book.”
The compliment was shrouded in evil.
“Can I take you out? Maybe lunch or dinner? Or maybe even coffee? I would really like to talk to you about publishing.”
She could tell by his stance, his tone, his expression, and the way that he stood to close to her, that he wanted nothing to do with publishing. How was she going to get rid of him? She looked for someone to help her, anyone. In this big city, she suddenly felt alone with this man, who was becoming more of a threat as time went on. She started to panic.
“Well, I’m sorry, but…”
“What? You think that you are better than me, is that it?”
Dial it back a bit. “Of course not, it’s just that I need to be somewhere in 15 minutes.”
Courtney turned and almost walked as quickly away from him as she could. She peered back only to see him standing with her book in his hand. She still remembered the menacing smile on his face and she felt a chill go down her spine.

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Lesson 7 – Jake and Susan

“I just killed your dad,” said Jake as he walked out of the father’s living room where the murder was committed.

“Oh, he was just nothing but an ole’ stick in the mud,” said Susan.  “Who cares about him?  He was going to turn you in to the police when he found out you robbed that 7-11.  Good riddance.”

Jake held Susan close.  Then he said, “We’ve got to get out of here before he’s discovered and the police come.”

So, the two of them hopped in Jake’s car and rode off.  Jake turned on the radio.  On the radio came a pop song.  A man sang, “I feel like bustin’ loose, bustin’ loose…”  They came upon this motel and checked in.

“Now, we’re here where nobody can bother us,” said Susan to Jake.

One day Susan had met Jake when she had been walking down her street where she lived and found him attractive.  Then he came on strong and said he loved her.  He seemed exciting to her.  Susan was lonely with no friends.  She had been picked on in school.  Now, here was her man right in front of her.  She figured they’d have a lot of exciting times together even though on the onset, robbing places wasn’t her thing but she loved him and wanted to be with somebody.

Inside the motel room Jake switched on the TV.  The news came on.  “There’s been an armed robbery at the 7-11 at 17th Street in the Hanover district last night.  If you recognize this suspect in the video, call police.”

Jake had been wearing a face mask during the robbery.  So, maybe no one would recognize him except for Susan’s father who was now dead.

“Now we’re together where nobody can find us or hurt us,” said Susan.

Jake then wrapped his arms around Susan and they both flopped in the bed.  They started to make love together.  Jake was kissing Susan lying on top of her when it continued on the news, “The suspect was wearing a pair of purple tennis shoes and a tan coat,” said the news broadcaster.  “If you’ve seen anybody with this description, call police.”

Susan and Jake briefly look up from their love making to look at the TV.

“There’s got to be a million people who wear purple sneakers and a tan coat,” said Jake to Susan.

“Yeah,” said Susan.  “They’ll never find us.”

They continued to make love and totally blocked out the noise on the TV from their minds as they made love.

“Did you see that?” asked the clerk in the motel office to his manager.  The clerk pointed to the TV hooked up on the wall.  “Didn’t we just check in a boy and a girl, the boy who was wearing the purple sneakers and a tan coat?”

“Yes,” said the motel manager.  “I suppose I do remember the details because that was the first time I’d seen purple sneakers.”

“What do you suppose we should do?” asked the clerk.

“I guess to be on the safe side, we should call the police,” replied the manager.  The manager then dialed for the police.

Jake and Susan were still in their motel room making out.  Then Jake stopped to switch the TV channel.  When he switched to another station another news broadcast came on.  “Kurt Mendelson was found dead in his living room this evening when his wife walked in and discovered the body.”

“They’ve discovered the body,” said Susan.  “It’s on the five o’clock news.  Was he really that important to be on the five o’clock news?”

Jake went to have a look out the window.  He drew back the curtain a tad and had a look.  “There’s a police car parked in the parking lot out there,” he said.

Susan rolled out of the bed and walked up to the window to have a look.

“Let’s get our stuff and get going,” said Jake.

Jake and Susan gathered their belongings and headed out the door.  They got into Jake’s car and drove down the highway.

Inside the motel office the policeman said to the motel manager, “Purple sneakers?  Okay, we’ll give it a look.”

The motel manager led the policeman to Jake and Susan’s motel room.  The policeman knocked on the door.  “Open up, police!”

There was no answer.  The hotel manager unlocked the door and they both went in.  The policeman looked in the bedroom and the bathroom.  No one was home.

“Did you get the license plate of the tenant?” asked the policeman to the manager.

“Yes,” said the manager.  “It is CCB803.  He was driving a blue Toyota Camry.  We always obtain this information in case a guest decides to skip out on paying the daily rooming fee.”

“Give it twenty-four hours,” advised the policeman.  “If you don’t hear from this tenant then if he doesn’t pay the rooming fee, we’ll send out a warrant for his arrest.”

The policeman had to do it this way because just because the tenant was wearing purple sneakers didn’t mean that he was the robbery suspect.

Jake and Susan where riding down the road when Susan said, “You’ve got to do something about those purple sneakers and tan coat.”

“Good idea,” replied Jake.

“You’ve really got to do something about those purple sneakers,” said Susan.  “They even glow in the dark.  I mean really.  It’s like they’re a target on your back.  Poor, Jake.”  Then Susan kissed Jake on the cheek and pats his head.

Jake pulled up the Toyota into the parking lot of this department store.  Jake reached across Susan and removed a 38 caliber pistol from the glove compartment and stuffed it down the front of his pants and covered it with his shirt.

Jake and Susan got out of the Toyota and went into the department store.  They both ran up and down the aisles.  They were in a wild frenzy.  Jake grabbed a coat off the rack.  Then he walked to the shoe section of the store.  He saw just the right size and with plain colors, not too gaudy like the purple shoes.  The shoes were on racks stacked above each other.  Pairs of shoes existed beside each other from one pair of shoes to the next on several racks in several rows which of course made it easier to steal them and run.  He grabbed the pair of shoes and with the coat in hand, grabbed Susan and started to run outside the door.

Security happened to catch a glimpse of the Jake and Susan.

“Stop,” said the security manager.  “Where are you going?  You haven’t paid for that merchandize.”

Jake stopped and turned around.  “Oh, yes I did.”

“No, you didn’t,” said the security man.  I’d been watching you on my video camera screen.”

Jake then pulled the gun out of his belt and pointed it at the security man.  Susan grabbed the coat and shoes.  Jake still pointing the gun at the security man, grabbed Susan by the arm and pulled her along until they got back into the Toyota.

Jake revved up the Toyota and sped off.  They sped down the highway when before they knew it, the flashing lights of a police cruiser was right behind them.

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So you want to be a writer? MD 8

So you want to be a writer?

“Is this seat taken?” Bob asked loudly.

Bill was sitting by himself in a secluded corner of the Tim Horton’s restaurant. He was nursing his coffee and slowly munching a muffin staring intently at his laptop.  Bouts of intense typing would be followed by longer periods of reflection and thought.  He had cocooned himself in a little world oblivious to the noise of clattering dishes, the continuous chatter, and the whooshing of the cappuccino machines and the smells of coffee and doughnuts that filled the room.  He had not noticed Bob, his old friend, approaching with his coffee and muffin in hand.

Startled, Bill replied, “Sorry, Bob, didn’t see you there. Please have a seat, I could use the distraction.”

“You were pretty engrossed. What are you up to?” Bob asked.

“I am writing my first novel.”

“Oh – Really? – That’s a change from scientific research.”

“For sure, for sure – but I am really enjoying it.”

“I thought you had retired.”

“While I did leave consulting, I have many good years left to try something new.”

“So Tim Horton’s is your office?”

“Sometimes, — mostly I work from home where I can watch the birds at the feeders out my office window.”

“Do you really think you can be a novelist?” asked Bob.

“Yes, most of the time. I do have periods of doubt though.  But I think persistence is the main key to success,” answered Bill.

“Well, you certainly have the smarts but do you have the writer’s soul?”

“I’d like to think so. Expressing feelings in my writing is new and very different from scientific writing.  But I am enjoying the freedom and finding it very therapeutic.”

“So, what is you novel about?”

“It is about the almost spiritual relationships we have with our automobiles and the significant life events associated with them. I am starting at my first car and then following the progression of automobiles through my life.  Vehicles owned when single, married, with kids and now grandkids,” explained Bill.

“Sounds promising, you have certainly owned many different vehicles. I remember the old Subaru Wagon you turned into a “cruck” by cutting off the rear roof and making a plywood truck box.  That was a great tractor.  You even skidded logs with it on your property,” reminisced Bob.

“Yea, it was great until it rusted in half. Bob, do you remember that blue Ford Aerostar van that I bought new.  It went through four of my daughters learning to drive for the first time?  It had over 350,000 km on it before we retired it.”

“Yea, how many times did your daughters put the van in the ditch?”

“Too many to remember or count and that’s the times I was told about.  The joy of living in the mountains, especially in the winter.”

Bob had finished his coffee and muffin and could see Bill was anxious to get back to his writing. He admired Bill’s spunk and his quest to become a novelist. “Well, Bill, I best be going and let you get back to work.   I wish you well on you novel and its publication.”

“Thanks, Bob, I’ll invite you to my first book signing.”

“That would be great. Bye for now,” Bob said as he got up from the table and left Tim Horton’s.

Bill went back to his work, quickly capturing the memories triggered by Bob. The “cruck” could almost be a whole chapter and the Aerostar was a chapter for sure.  So many memories, so little time.

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Holiday Surprise. Lesson 5.


Holiday  Surprise.

Jill and Pete enjoyed their week nights. During the day Jill interacted with the public and Pete spent his time almost in isolation on his computer. Among recent after tea topics was the next holiday. Their holidays had been varied and they factored in a number of issues relevant to each of them. Jill liked less busy places away from crowds and Pete liked new experiences.

“Can you stay here for a few minutes?” Pete asked. “I’ll call when I’m ready.”

There’s a surprise, Jill thought trying to run through some options as the minutes passed.

“I’m ready.” The call came as an excited whisper. The light was off in the room as Jill felt her way to the chair and sat down.

“This is mysterious Pete. I’m intrigued. Do I get three guesses?”

“No. All will be revealed.” Pete’s voice came from the doorway.

Click. Light flooded the room. Jill scanned the coffee table – colourful brochures were strewn everywhere. Their hats and beach towels were draped over the couch.

“Pete?” Jill wasn’t sure how to react. “What are you trying to tell me?”

“Our holiday!” Jill looked more closely at the brochures. There was a consistent element in each photo. She heard the sharp intake of her breath.

“Our holiday is aboard the Dawn Princess. I’ve got a fantastic deal. We’re off on the high seas.”

“Pete, we didn’t talk about a cruise in our holiday plans.”

Jill reached for the nearest brochure. The photo was of holiday makers, mainly women, lounging on rows of deck chairs around the pool.

“I might need some new swim wear.” Those extra kilos she’d gained would not look like these sun seeking tourists.

“Of course, love. Did you like the way I have the hats and towels? That was a clue. We won’t need much more than swim wear. The cruise is around the Barrier Reef Islands, snorkelling and diving are included.”

Underwater. The thought of donning a mask and snorkel had Jill’s heart rate increasing.

“There are glass bottom barges if you don’t want to swim. You’ll still see the coral and fish. Have a look at the magazine.” He reached across the table.

“Did you put a deposit on the tickets?”

“Yes, that’s how I got the great deal. I paid in full. It will be a bit tight with the budget till I get the bonus but it’s too good to miss. I knew you’d be surprised. We’d never thought of a cruise.”

Jill knew exactly why it hadn’t been discussed. Her very fair skin did not lend itself to  sun activities and as for being in water out of her depth…

“How many nights are we on board?”

“It’s ten days with different stopovers.”

“It’s certainly a surprise Pete and lots to read about.”

Jill slowly put the brochure back on the table.

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Intervention MD7


“I am not who you think I am,” said Bob to his long-time Lodge buddy, Sam.

“Really?” responded Sam. “How do you know what I think about you?”

“I bet you see me as a God-fearing church-going man, a community volunteer, a soccer coach and a family man.”

“That’s all true but I don’t see a perfect man. We all have our faults.”

“The daytime persona you observe hides an evil secret. At night, my true self emerges.  I am a devil worshipper, a follower of Satan.”

“I see your trying to shock me but you telling me this, is an obvious cry for help,” Sam replied placing his hands on Bob’s shoulders.

“I am not sure I want to change,” Bob whispered.

“Let’s approach Father Donovan for help in this spiritual matter.”

Sam arranged for Bob and himself to see Father Donovan at the church the next day. He had discussed on the phone the situation with the Father in hopes of an intervention.

Sam and Bob arrived at the church to find Father Donovan praying at the altar. Father Donovan rose and greeted them, “Please have a seat in the front pew.”

Father Donovan placed his hands on Bob’s shoulders and looked him in the eyes saying “Are you willing to renounce Satan and all the powers of evil?”

“Father I am not sure I can or I want to,” replied Bob.

“What is the hold that the Lord of Darkness has on you?”

“The feeling of power and freedom.”

“Surely you understand the power is evil which breeds evil and the freedom a false freedom as you are serving the Dark Lord.”

“I do understand all that but I feel powerless to stop.”

The Father squeezing Bob’s shoulders implored “If you continue down this pathway you will lose all that is good – family, friends, community and church.”

“Help me — Father — please help me, I don’t know what to do” pleaded Bob.

Father asked Sam to place his hands on Bob as well. They would pray over Bob to exorcise the demon thereby healing Bob and giving him his life back.  Bob’s role would be to renounce the evil that had taken root in his soul.

Father Donovan began “Our dear Lord and Redeemer, redeem this broken man and free his soul from evil.  Bath him in your light driving away the darkness of the Evil One.  Do you Bob renounce all the powers of evil?”

“Yes, I renounce them,” Bob replied feeling the darkness starting to leave him.

“We ask our Lord Jesus Christ to lift up Bob and strengthen him in his times of need. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen”

At that moment energy flowed from both Sam and the Father into Bob. Bob glowed in a soft white light, the darkness completely erased from his soul.  Bob opened his eyes, smiled and said “Thank you, Father.”

“Don’t thank me. Thank the Lord and put your trust in him.”


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