I’ve got nothing written for my critique group in the morning.
It’s late. You’re tired. You should have thought of that earlier.
I did. I thought and thought and thought. Nothing came to me.
Something always comes; you know that. You must have given up too easily.
No. I really tried. I thought about an argument between two people on a long car ride.
That sounds like it has possibilities.
It turned out to be not so funny.
Arguments aren’ t supposed to be funny.
Well I don’t want to write a disturbing argument. The group already thinks I’m a bit heavy-handed.
You are just making excuses. What about an altercation between a mother and child?
Okay. How about a husband and wife who don’t agree on how to spend their money?
Too close to home.
How about a husband and wife who don’t agree on what to eat for dinner? That could be funny. A food fight?
Been there, wasn’t funny. Limited dialog possibilities.
Or a husband who dotes on his dog and a wife who thinks the dog is spoiled?
Is the dog spoiled?
How would I know?
Say the dog is spoiled, the wife is right, and the husband doesn’t see it. Is he stupid?
He’s imaginary. He could be stupid. Or brilliant—just susceptible to dogs.
How old is he?
No. The man.
Who cares? Forty?
Then he’s probably at work all day. Maybe the wife is spoiling the dog.
Maybe she’s at work all day, too, and the dog is pissing on the floor because he’s been locked up. How the hell do I know? It’s your story.
But you seem to know more about these people than I do. Are these people you are familiar with?
These are figments of the imagination! Shadows, whispers.
Shhh. I just heard the wife whispering to me.
Thank God. Go with that.
She’s saying that she doesn’t lock the dog up all lay. He has a doggy door but he won’t use it because he’s spoiled.
Look, I’m losing my patience and my mind, Can’t you make up a simple story about a damn dog and his master?
Why does it have to be a master? What about a mistress?
It has to be a master because when he gets through spoiling the dog he’s going to tie up the wife, wrap her with duct tape, and set the house on fire. Look. You’re hopeless. Forget the damn story. Just go to your group and tell them you didn’t have any ideas.
They will blackball me.
The Wife (wandering away):
Hmmmm. Duct tape and a mistress.