I also realized that I have two (what I think are good) good story ideas for my grad school application. I would love to share them on here, but if they’re good enough to get me into an MFA program, I’m going to try to get them published in a literary journal, and that means they cannot be found online (based on my understanding of the process). I feel bad only being able to mention it to you guys, but I feel a lot better knowing that even though I’m no longer in school, my mind is still capable of putting together completely original ideas. I guess it really is true that you have to be persistent in this field. Most of the stuff you write won’t be very good, but eventually, you’re going to strike gold.
This story is going to be based off a prompt. The prompt was to write a story where the protagonist gets depressed over the fact that everyone willingly does what he asks them to do. This story is very dialogue-heavy. I feel like it could be a ten-minute play, but I kind of want to see how much dialogue I can get away with. I guess I only have two major questions:
Do you feel the narrator needs a stronger role?
Is the dialogue clear and easy to follow?
The Check, Please!
“Well, what do you mean, “You change your mind?” he asks. “I thought you just said you wanted me to help out. Do you not want my help?”
“No, no, no, no, no! It’s not that. I mean, I just didn’t like, think you’d, well–you know–actually say yes.”
“Then why’d you ask?” he responds, raising his voice.
“I don’t know,” his friend responds.
“Do you hear this guy?” he asks a random man walking past the outdoor cafe.
“Excuse me?” the man quizzically responds.
“I can’t, I–”
“Come on,” he says, with emphasis on the ‘on.'” He pulls up a chair and the man surprisingly takes a seat.
“I’m Nick, but you can call my Nicky. You want a coffee?” asks Nicky, already waving down their waiter.
“No, no. I’m good. Thank you.”
“One coffee,” Nicky says to the waiter.
“Thank you,” the man says to Nicky with a hint of sarcasm.
“I didn’t get your name.”
“Johnny! Nice to meet you, Johnny. I knew a Johnny once. Lived off Steinway.”
Johnny looks around nervously, as if he’s in some kind of danger. Nicky sees sweat dripping Johnny’s forehead and asks him he’s okay.
“I’m fine,” Johnny exclaims, unconvincingly. “Who’s your friend?”
“Introduce yourself,” says Nicky, patting his friend on the back.
“Tony,” he says. “How you doin’?”
“Good,” says Johnny. “Why am I here?”
“Well, Tony asked me before if I could do him a favor, so I tell him yeah, but as soon as I say I would do it, he backs off.”
“What did he ask you to do?” Johnny asks, while silently thanking the waiter for bringing him his coffee.
Nicky tells Johnny about how Tony wanted him to do do something ridiculous, something that no one in their right mind would ever agree to do. Tony tries to jump in every once in a while, but Nicky just yells over him, drowning him out of the conversation. As Nicky continues to talk to Johnny, Johnny keeps looking down at his phone, checking the time.
“Somewhere you gotta be?” asks Tony.
“Kind of,” replies Johnny.
“Maybe we should let him go, Nicky. The man’s busy, right?”
“Yeah, maybe it’d be best if I–”
“Sit,” says Nicky, as he pulls Johnny back into his seat. “I didn’t get to finish.”
“My wife, Nicky. She–”
“She can wait,” says Tony, cutting off Johnny. “Let me tell you the story, and you be the judge.”
“Now, What I asked Johnny to do for me is very embarrassing, alright?”
“There’s this club I like to go to. And there’s beautiful women, except for one. I like to stop by in the mornings ’cause I have a little thing with one of the girls there. Now, with this girl, I asked her to make love to me, so she says yeah and we make love. Things start to get hotter, so I ask if we can do some weird stuff, like with ropes and stuff, you follow?”
“We use the ropes, and we’re both going crazy, so I ask her if she wants to get another girl involved, and she says yeah,” says Tony, waiting for a response.”
“Okay?” says Johnny, obviously wanting him to continue.
“Why would she say yes?”
“I don’t know. I guess she didn’t want to ruin the moment. What does this have to do with your friend?”
“Well, I was kinda ticked off she was so willing to bring another girl in. I mean, I know I suggested it, but I didn’t expect her to say yes. But anyways, I quickly forget about it and the other girl comes in. I call up my buddy over here to see if he wants to come, and he tells me yes,” Tony says while pointing to Nicky.
“Why is this a problem? And why are you telling me?”
“All week, people have been telling me nothing but what I want to hear. It’s making me nervous, you know?”
“No, not quite.”
Tony then goes into a rant about how he feels that there’s someone out to get him and that people are just being nice because they all know that Tony doesn’t know that his time is running out. Tony hadn’t done anything wrong to make this a legitimate concern, so Johnny and Nicky just look on and try to actually focus on what the problem is.
“The massage parlour,” Tony says as he suddenly remembers. “I’m in Flushing, right? And I go in and say I only want a massage if I’m getting “the works,” from the most beautiful girl they got, obviously. They all stop, and look at me like there’s something wrong with me!”
“I still don’t get what the problem is,” says Johnny.
“Here’s another example: I get home and I tell my kids to go outside, and they go. They never go out. All they do is watch Netflix and play Xbox. They go out, and I go upstairs and tell my wife I’m leaving her, and how I cheated on her, ’cause like, I feel bad and I hate my wife and I just needed an excuse to leave her. So I tell her I’m leaving and she says sure! I tell her I’m taking the kids, she says that’s fine. The car? Not a problem.”
“Okay, that’s a little weird,” says Johnny admittingly.
“Right? Now this is where it gets good. Now, Nicky over here, is single. I just left my wife,” says Tony, waiting to see if Johnny gets it.
“I don’t get it.”
“Think dipshit! She’s now single. Nicky’s single. I tell Nicky to sleep with my wife, so she stays away from me. He says he’ll do it!”
“You mean your wife?” asks Johnny.
“Yes, and at this point, I know something’s wrong, so I change my mind and he has the nerve to get pissed at me! Tells me I’m not a good friend and how he’s just trying to help out.”
“So what are you guys doing here if you’re pissed at him?”
“I don’t know,” says Tony.
“I guess to get someone’s opinion,” says Nicky, butting in. “What do you think?”
After staring at the two of them, going back and forth, Johnny gives up and says, “I think you’re both fucking nuts,” while pulling out his wallet. Johnny throws some money on the table and walks away shaking his head. Nicky and Tony watch Johnny walk away in disbelief and look over at the table next to them. The couple stares at them and Nicky asks, “Can you believe that guy?” They, who have been eavesdropping the entire time, look for the waiter, and yell, “The check, please!”