Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dialogue R

SETUP: Opening lines to establish two characters as buddies. They are in a locker room.

"Konichiwa Mama-san Mei-Li," Shane asked using Galen's phone. [Asked? Should there be a question mark?] Galen's smacked the back of Shane's head with his open palm.

"Stop using my phone, asshole." Galen grabbed the phone.

"But it's your sister."

“If she answers you're dead." Galen drew in a deep breath. "I'm going to rip your head off and shit down your fucking neck,” he bellowed. Then he listened.

"Tomorrow, the high will be 85 and the low…" Galen cut the connection. On the other side of the world, the voice continued unheard; “and in Tokyo the weather is…” Holding his hand to the side of his face with his thumb to his ear and his little finger at his mouth, Shane mocked Galen.

"You think-ie I phone gull-flend? No! Papa-san. ...I phone your sista. What you think she say, Galen-San?" Galen clenched his jaw. Shane continued without pause. "She say; Fie doll-ah, papa-san. We fuckie-fuckie, suckie-suckie all night for fie dollah …Two dollah more, I swallow,” Shane shook his hips, smacking his manhood against his stomach.

“Bastard! Your mother's a whore and your father's a psychotic degenerate." Galen slapped Shane's cock making him jump and chucked the phone into the toilet. [Would he actually do either of those things?] It sizzled and hissed as the automatic sensor flushed it away.

--Dave Fragments

Obviously we're not expecting big sales in the Asian market. Sounds more like a conversation that would take place at home than in a locker room, where there could be a Japanese guy the next aisle over. A sumo wrestler. Also, wouldn't one prefer to put on some clothes before pulling a practical joke? For safety if nothing else.

This establishes two characters as buddies? I guess, though the entire conversation could as easily take place between mortal enemies. I'm surprised no one killed anyone.


Anonymous said...


Brenda Bradshaw said...

Umm... okay. I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

I hope there is a sumo wrestler behind the lockers to kill one of these people. Then we can read the wrestler's story.

And just to make sure. Mei-li is a Chinese name, not Japanese. Not that it would make any difference.

writtenwyrdd said...

These guys sound like irredeemable assholes. It was realistic, though. I heard guys talking exactly like this when I was in the Army. I wasn't in the locker room with them, they talked shit like this in public, or at least on the military bases where I was assigned. But that was a long time ago. I am not sure you could get away with this in this day and age.

Wonderwood said...

If I ever slapped my buddy's cock, I would expect to have my ass kicked, rightly so. Not knowing what kind of story this is, or who these characters are, maybe it's fitting. Not where I come from.

bunnygirl said...

Not the kind of dialogue I care to read, so I can't comment on it. But I couldn't help wondering about the phone. It would have to be pretty darn tiny to get flushed down the toilet.

whitemouse said...

This is a vivid scene, but it's off-putting and doesn't appear to be part of a storyline.

I wouldn't read a book that had even a moderate number of scenes that are offensive, but which don't forward the plot. There's just not enough pay-off for my investment of time.

I'd suggest this scene either be shortened, or that a bit of the novel's storyline get woven into it to keep the reader from pulling away.

Anonymous said...

For me, nothing screams "amateur!" more than an overdose of bad language.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like juvenile delinquents who are charmless and offensive by nature because they lack the civilizing influence of well-adjusted adults who could teach them how to be anything else. So maybe this comes off exactly as intended. Maybe it is the before picture and these rotten kids grow up and redeem themselves later in the book. That could work, but not if the early pages are so offensive no one gets past them.

You might want to tone down the offensiveness or hide this book and get something else published first, then bring this out when you've already got a reputation for genius. Or maybe you will find an agent, etc. and win the Nobel prize. 200 words are not enough for us to know.

Twill said...

1) In neither guy's POV would one of them think of someone's "manhood". A guy would only use the word sardonically.

2) Shane gets hard when he's mocking Galen? They ain't no friends. Maybe girlfriends?

3) Likewise Galen touching Shane's cock. A towel flip, yes, a slap, no. He slaps it, they must be lovers.

Dave said...

OK, thanks for the comments.

And just for the telling: I heard the offensive part of these lines about ten years ago from a Navy Reserve Captain who thought it was safe to say things like that to me. No touching, of course, I never got in a locker room with him.
I used to hear like that between Viet Nam vets years ago at the VA hospital with racist language just as offensive and even more offensive. (no, I'm not military. No I won't repeat those phrases. This was about as offensive as I can get).

TO EE: I aolmost deleted the line "“and in Tokyo the weather is…”". .
I moved it twice and seriously wondered if I needed it. I should have listened to my inner voice and deleted it.

stick and move said...

Way to take it like a man, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Lots of things are said and done in real life which are too repungent to get a significant audience in art.

The films THE LIBERTINE and BEOWULF AND GRENDEL both had a lot of potential but committed box office suicide by chosing to establish character with a few very offensive scenes. Which is especially too bad because better scripts could have achieved the same goals without being gross. The LIBERTINE got a small brief theatrical run after years of delay only because Depp is such a big draw. B & G showed at a few film fests but it only opened for one week in one theater in the USA.

Having seen them both, I can't recommend either except to writers and filmmakers who wonder what a career-killing blunder looks like. That's what this scene reminds me of.

Dave said...

Anon - "Lots of things are said and done in real life which are too repungent to get a significant audience in art."

Gee, an intellectual YUCK. Thanks. It's a very good comment.

I might have discovered one of those universally repugnant things. That hasn't escaped my thoughts. I count 10 negative comments and I think that I can consider that a sign.

Sorry if I sounded "not serious" earlier. I sometimes tend to make fun of my mistakes - not to dismiss them, but to beat myself over the head for making them. I'm not a quick decision maker. I take time and consider matters concerning my writing.

Bernita said...

It's certainly vivid dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with previous commenters saying that while I've also heard dialogue like this in real life, I don't want to read it unless I have some indication that there's something else going on to make it worthwhile. One hears racist jokes, sexist jokes, ethnic jokes, homophobic jokes... that depend on equal parts ignorance and hatred, but those are the people you try to avoid - not pay 27.95 to purchase in hard back.

Dave said...

But we aren't here to determine if "anonymous" will buy the book, are we?

Jess said...

I wouldn't want to read this, either, but my problem is much more that this is intended to establish Galen and Shane as *friends*. That's what makes the offensiveness seem so pervasive and deliberate, versus the isolated assholery of one specific guy.

I don't understand why there's cock slapping, but I am not male and spend very little time in locker rooms even with women, so what the hell do I know?

Regardless of whether the phone can be flushed, why the hell is Galen throwing his own phone into the toilet? Those things are expensive. And battery-operated items shouldn't sizzle upon contact with water.

Anonymous said...


--Detri (dialogue J)