Friday, March 16, 2007

Dialogue H

“Suicide, my ass.”

“There was a note.”

Big fuckin deal. That don’t mean shit. The cops’ll have a handwriting expert look at the signature. Bet my Harley it [was] ’s forged.”

“I’m sure they’ll look into it.” I was looking at the lower half of Gator’s body, sticking out from underneath the front end of a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. The car was up on ramps, and Gator was beneath it on a dolly.

“Where did you say this happened?” He [hadn't] ’d not seen the news, which didn’t surprise me.

“The fish camp is in Barlow County.”

He rolled out from under the car, sat up and looked at me with his good eye.

“Barlow County?”

“Yeah.”

[Same paragraph.] He laid down the wrench he’d been holding and stuck his hand up to me. I braced my feet and pulled, and he groaned as he came up. “That’s different, then.”

“How so?”

“Let’s go inside and I’ll tell you,” he said, leading the way from the detached garage in his back yard. His old Bassett hound, Bullet, had been lying in the shade of Gator’s pick-up, and he gradually raised himself to his feet, wagging his tail as he followed.

--Wonderwood

I like it. One thing I'm wondering about: Gator didn't think it was suicide. Then he finds out it happened in Barlow County, and says, "That's different." Different in that he now thinks it was suicide? If the Barlow County-victim connection has confirmed his belief, he'd be saying, "Aha! I knew it!" Not "That changes everything." It also strikes me as slightly odd behavior to come to some realization in the middle of this conversation and to then say, "Let's go inside and I'll tell you." I think most people would get right down to it. Not all people, of course.

11 comments:

whitemouse said...

I like it too, especially with EE's suggested deletions. You do a great job of setting the scene just by showing the two characters (and the dog).

I quite liked the line, “That’s different, then.” The sudden change made me curious to know why the location would change whether Gator believed the death a suicide or not. That line hooked me further into the story; I thought it worked well.

It didn't bother me a bit to have the two men go into the house at the end. I'm okay with that part of the scene being left the way it is.

Nice writing! I would certainly read on.

GutterBall said...

Ha! I recognized this instantly. How's that next chapter coming along, WW?

Bernita said...

I ditto Whitemouse.
Rings true.

Wonderwood said...

Thanks whitemouse and bernita, I appreciate the encouragement.

GB, I'm moving right along, last week was particularly productive. I'm a couple of chapters further along now and still making progress. I'll be emailing you a question as a matter of fact.

Thanks for doing this EE, your comments are most instructive! I'm learning more with each on of these I read.

GutterBall said...

I'll be emailing you a question as a matter of fact.

Sweet! Do you have my e-mail address? Dunno what I can answer that would be helpful, but I'm all ears to try.

writtenwyrdd said...

This sounds very real, like something you could have tape recorded. One suggestion I have is that, instead of the rather off-sounding "let's go inside and I'll tell you," is that you have Gator look around suspiciously, and then lower his voice as he begins to speak. Sounds like he wouldn't normally speak in a quiet voice, so that would give the secretive note you are looking for without breaking up your scene by having to describe walking and entering an office.

If there is something he needs to show, then I'd still have him speak a bit outside, then just refer to the retrieval of the evidence or whatever it is. "Gator rummaged through a his toolbox and found an envelope taped beneath the wrench tray," or some such. One line could do all that your going inside seems to imply will follow.

McKoala said...

This is clean and intriguing; I like it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just my idiocy but as I was reading I first thought the body sticking half out from under the car was the squashed "suicide" person and the speakers were maybe some murderers.

Then the body under the car turned out not to be dead. You might want to indicate earlier who the speakers are and that one of them is working on his car as the other comes strolling along. Or at least call it a "man" or a "person" not a "body".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, perhaps you are forgetting that this is an excerpt? I'm sure the reader would know the pov character was there talking to a living Gator before this bit starts!

Wonderwood said...

Thanks, anon 7:45, that's exactly the case. But honestly, I can see how anon 1:57 could read it that way. I hadn't considered that perspective until it was brought to my attention. Interesting point, but not worrisome, as this scene is set up at the end of the preceding chapter.

Twill said...

"That's different" could refer to Gator's changing his mind about *who* killed the deceased, or *why* it's suspicious. Or it could be that it gives Gator a likely motive for the deceased's suicide.

"Let's go into the house" implies either that there's something in the house he wants to show as proof, or that it's going to be a long story and he wants a damn beer while he tells it. As long as Gator has a decent story and some reasonable in-house stage business, it'll work.