Saturday, February 28, 2015

Vignette: Writing exercise: Pomodoro 20 minutes

John turned into the coffee shop parking lot and sighed, "There are never any spots near the door."
"Oh, so you're going to have to walk an extra twenty steps for your cup of coffee?" Mark asked reaching to pull his backpack from the floorboard between his feet.
"Well, I don't like not being able to see my car. What if something happens to it?"
"Like what? Someone going to wash it?"
"It could happen. Maybe a car washing flash mob is going around town perpetrating cleanliness on other people's cars. Some of this dirt has been with me for months. The layers of gravel road grime are all that's keeping the bumper on over on your side," John said as he pulled the Mercury Sable into a parking spot closer to the bank than the coffee shop. In the evening's deep yellow-orange light of the magic hour the baby blue paint was a matte haze of dust and dirt evenly covering the car in a patina of road grime.
"You  might get better gas mileage if they chiseled off the top layer or two. They might be deep enough to even be called strata. Have you looked for fossils in it?"
"Why would there be a watch in my car?" The car groaned as it rocked back on shocks that had quit working the way they were supposed to months ago. The car rocked to a stop as the two college students opened the doors and climbed out.
As Mark slammed his door a puff of dust could be seen in the slanting rays of the sun, "Let's go wash it after this."
"Nah. It's cool. We're going to eat after this. Soon as they close we have to go meet the girls at the new bar-b-que place in the mall parking lot."
"She might ride with you if you washed it."
They crossed the parking lot, watching a black Prius pull into the drive through lane and stop at the window as they crossed in front of it, "Yeah, and then you'd have to sit in back."
"Keep the dirt then. There are actual glass pop bottles in your back seat it's been so long since you cleaned it out. I'm pretty sure evolution is happening back there. Yesterday on the way to class I heard a rustling and when I got out of the car I think a small herd of goblins scampered out of the back seat and went under the car."
"You can't say scampered," John said as he opened the door and went in.
"I think I can. I just did. I'm sure I just did. My mouth remembers saying it."
"No, I mean nobody says that. It's part of people's reading vocabulary but not part of anybody's speaking vocabulary. No more scampered."
"What should I say instead? Scuttled? Dashed? Skittered?" Mark waved at the woman behind the counter who had looked up at them as they entered and smiled as she pulled a shot from the machine.
The jet engine scream of the milk frothing soon filled the room as they stood staring at the hand written menu board. "Ran. You should say ran."
"But that's not the same thing, it doesn't convey..."
"Nope, can't say 'convey' either."
"When did you become Mister Vocabulary?"
"I'm taking a creative writing class and we've been talking about language choices in dialogue and how to make it realistic."
"But this is dialogue, like in real life. We're real people having a real conversation and those are good words so if I use them then they're the right words."
"Nope. See, that's where you're wrong. You read too much. You think real life is like a book and you talk like someone in a book."
Mark pulled his coffee punch card from his wallet as he stepped to the counter to order, "You're saying I read too much but you're the one taking the writing course?"
"I have to. It's an easy elective."
"You think writing is easy?"
"Well, I did until I started taking this course. I figured it was creative, what's she going to do say she didn't like it? Can you believe she does exactly that? I thought writing was like art and you could do whatever you wanted and say it was art so they couldn't criticise it. They do it with paintings. Look at this stuff on the walls. Seriously? I've done better than that in the margins of my Poli-Sci notes."
"You failed Political Science," Mark said.
"But my doodles were really good," John said. "Can I get a large vanilla latte in a small cup with no foam?"
"Whole milk right?"
"The wholer the better. That cow worked for that stuff, no sense skimming some off and throwing it away. It seems disrespectful."
"I just want a tea with honey and lemon."
"Seriously? You come to a coffee shop and get tea?" John asked handing the barista a five, "Keep it."
"Well, we don't have a tea shop," Mark said as he handed her his punch card and a five.
"We got a new jasmine tea in do you want to try it?"
"Please. No jasmine. He'll smell flowery and I'm trying to break him of that."
Mark bowed dramatically, "Jasmine would be wonderful thank you. Ignore him. He's feeling grumpy because he's afraid someone will wash his car since he can't see it and stop them from doing it."
"What if they planted corn on the roof instead?"
"It just washes off in the rain. I tried to cover the roof in chia seeds to see if they'd grow but it's not deep enough. That would have been so sweet."
The two of them went and sat in overstuffed chairs to wait for their drinks to be brought to them. Mark pulled his books out and started studying. John took out his phone and started making faces into the camera. "You know you're not supposed to text and drive. I wonder if that includes snapchat?"
"Yes."
"Snapchat hadn't even been invented when they passed that law. How can it include something that didn't even exist yet?"
"It does."
"I don't think it does."
"You're wrong."
"You're drinking jasmine tea and I'm the one that's wrong?"
"With honey and lemon."
"Yeah... I'm pretty sure it's not me that's wrong."
"Wrong about that too."

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