Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #4

TITLE: Going, Going, Gone
GENRE: Mystery/Crime Fiction

[Ex-second-baseman M.E. Sequoyah has gotten caught up in trying to solve a murder. One of his suspects is Holly Schmitt "Holy S***" Ericson, a nurse at the hospital. He confronts her as her shift ends.]

“Always got an angle?” she asked, lighting a cigarette.

“Like you,” I replied.

“What’s my angle, smarta**? Think you got me figured out?”

“Actually, I don’t,” I admitted.

She undid the top two buttons on her nurse’s uniform. “Like the view?”

I was noncommittal. “Beats looking at the Arlington Hospital and Car Wash.”

“You a faggot?” she asked. I shook my head. “Married? Nope, no ring.”

“Not everyone wears a ring, but no, not married.”

“So you want something from me other than cooze.”

“Is that so unusual?”

“Actually, yes.” She smiled, a genuine smile, not a provocation. “You know my nickname?”

“I’ve heard. And I’ll bet your middle name’s not Schmitt.”

“How you figure that?”

“Too convenient,” I said. “Like you took lemons and turned them into lemonade.”

“Honey, these ain’t lemons,” she said.

“Yeah, but there’s no such thing as melonade.”

She broke out laughing, then started coughing. She tossed her cigarette on the ground and stomped on it.

“Want coffee?” I asked. “Breakfast?”

“Yeah. But not with you.”


  1. I do like this, and I think it works well. It's amusing at times, and portrays the characters well.

    The only place where I tripped up was the second to last line. Despite the 'I asked', I was reading so fast that at first I thought Holly said it. You might want to consider putting the 'I asked' first, instead of in the middle. Or maybe make the dialogue more unique to your main character.

  2. I don't get a sense of what's happening here. It seems more like the MC is consoling her than confronting her, since she's the one asking all the questions. Reading this by itself doesn't give me a feel for the characters or for what may be happening here. Perhaps if I'd read what comes before this, it wouldn't be an issue,

    And the nurse's language or tone wasn't believable to me. It seems too uneducated, almost like something coming from a high school drop out. It does denote a certain type of character, it was just hard to believe the nurse 'was' that type of character.

  3. I like it. True, not the typical nurse, but that's one thing I like. Holly rings true to me.

    The only nitpick I have is the "I was noncommittal" tag. It interrupted the flow for me, and the dialog showed he was noncommittal.

  4. I enjoyed this a lot, and I did get a sense of both characters from it.

    I agree with IMHO's comment regarding the "I was noncommittal" tag. The dialogue shows this nicely, so no need to qualify it beforehand.

    You might consider adding just a bit of internalization from MC to put the reader in his head a bit more, but overall, I think the dialogue works well.

  5. I thought the staccato dialogue was appropriate to a certain type of genre - sort of a hard-boiled mystery, crime fiction etc. So, it worked for me. I would suggest there are places you could tighten it even in She smiled, a genuine smile ... Instead of repeating cariations of ;smile you could have just said - her smile was genuine, not a provocation. And further down, where she undoes the top two busttons of her "nurse's uniform. You could probably lose "nurse" and just say she undid the top two buttons of her uniform. Having said that, I wonder if this is in the past because nurses don't wear uniforms anymore - they usually wear smock type things that would not have buttons. Anyway, I thought she was very coarse but I assume that was the point. I thought is was well-done.

  6. I thought the flow and tempo were there so that worked well. I liked that you were very restrained in using tags or internal thoughts because it works better like that. It's difficult without knowing the set-up to judge the chracter's interaction, but I did find the nurse to be a bit over the top in her crude choice of words and language. She is trying to be alluring or intimidating but she just comes off as a bit harshly slutty. "You a faggot?" is a bit offensive which is fine if we are supposed to be offended by the character. But the fact that he doesn't even blink at this slur, makes me think less of him and therefore would be less likely to go along for the ride.