Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Talking Heads #5

TITLE: Castle Danger
GENRE: Suspense/Thriller

Bad guy Vossler introduces himself to MC Matt, in order to get some help connecting with Vossler's ex-wife, who is also Matt's boss, although Matt doesn't know they're exes.

Matt looked for a packet of white powder in Vossler's palm. There was none. But he didn't extend his hand. "Matt."

"Just Matt?"

"For now."

"No offense, Matt, but you ain't the most sociable guy I ever met."

"None taken. I'm not much of a talker. I mind my own business, don't get involved in other people's."

During his previous two, brief encounters with Vossler, Matt had felt nothing but suspicion. He looked like a glad hander, or a scumbag, someone who told lies for a living, or operated in the gray areas of business, if not the downright illegal areas. He would have tried to put as much space between the two of them as Allyson obviously had.

"Can you tell me when I can connect with Allyson? I'd sure like to say hi before I go home."

"Where's home?"

Vossler looked annoyed. "L.A. Where you from, Matt?"

Oh great. The worst big city for every kind of hustler. Matt had played dozens of gigs in L.A. back in the day, and even recorded a few albums as a sideman. He couldn't wait to escape all the phony, backstabbing, social-climbing sycophants who haunted the entertainment business. People looking to hit it rich one way or the other without doing any real work.

"Nowhere special like L.A."

"No offense again, Matt, but you're starting to sound like someone who ain't too eager for people to know much about you."

"Just people I don't know well enough to trust."

Vossler leaned back a bit and spread his arms in a pleading manner. "Hey, I'm a friend of Allyson's. Ain't that enough trust?"

"I hardly know Allyson. I just work for her."

"How long?"

"Not long enough to trust her."

"Right, right. Mister closed book."

They stared each other for a moment, then Matt took slow, deliberate bites of his burger and fries.

Vossler's expression darkened and he sat down across from Matt. "Okay, look, pal, I don't have a lot of time, but I figure you can help me connect with Allyson. I'm gonna level with you so you know I'm legit."

Matt raised his eyebrows in a mock-impressed attitude. "I'm listening."

Vossler reached into his leather jacket and pulled out an envelope. He removed the document inside and unfolded it. "Her name ain't Allyson Clifford."

"Is that so?"

Vossler slid the document across the table. "Her real name is Susan Vossler."


  1. I'm intrigued by the interaction between the two, especially knowing from your introduction that Vossler is the bad guy. Some of the dialogue comes off a little stilted. For example ""None taken. I'm not much of a talker. I mind my own business, don't get involved in other people's." If he's not much of a talker, and doesn't want to get involved, his sentences might be shorter, less formal. Clipped wording also sends out the "go away" vibe and conveys clearly to the read just how antisocial Matt is.

    Also, the constant use of the word "connect" in place of other phrases is jarring. Perhaps a rephrasing could help with that.

    And the scene ends with a nice hook. Good job.

  2. You did a good job showing Matt's personality. I like that he trusts his gut reaction to this guy. I agree with Kelly, give him choppy sentences.

    I would also recommend having the bad guy ask more about Allyson instead of Matt after he realized that Matt doesn't want to share. If he's a skilled hustler he's going to know Matt won't help him if he pries. The, "would have put as much space…" sentence reads awkwardly to me. Maybe, something like, "he tried to keep as much space…"

    I did like the end of the exchange where he tries to "level" with Matt. That is exactly what somebody like that would do. Good job.

  3. You have some intrigue in here, and I get the feeling that I would like this better if I had been reading up to this point, as it is I feel a little lost.

    I think the part where Matt explains himself seems out of character, like he's trying too hard to show the readers that he's not much of a talker.

    Overall, it's good dialogue infused with subtle tension.

  4. Well done! The dialogue sounded natural and I got a feel for the story. You definitely left me wanting more.I feel like your MC is a natural character, as his dialogue didn't feel out of place at all. I think this well done.

  5. Thanks for all the helpful comments Kelly, Silas, Lanette, and Kel