Archive for the ‘dialogue’ category

pub chat ii

July 25, 2008

She made her way back through the rapt crowd. They stared at the televisions suspended from the ceiling.

She stared at him. Her fingers flicked as she took her seat again. Her hair fell again. She cursed and pushed it behind her ear.

‘Fucking smoking ban.’

He rolled his eyes. She was already fiddling with another cigarette. From the filter end she twirled it around her thumb and forefinger. The nail on her thumb was chipped, the polish peeling a touch. He watch it twirl. She watched him.

‘I’m not going to smoke it yet. I just need something to do. And you’re avoiding the subject.’

‘I’m not. I just need to order another beer.’

‘Go on then. And stop stealing sips from mine. Thieving bastard.’

Too many eyes on the game for a queue at the bar. He ordered two pints and tapped his knuckles against the hardwood. The other half of the bar gasped, sighed and then shouted the odd profanity. Jeers followed.

‘So how long does she need to think for?’

He’d only just sat back down.

‘I don’t know. I hadn’t planned a schedule. Neither, I think, did she.’

She reminded him of some 40’s newshound from some generic film noir piece. Hurried, impatient, right. She tapped the butt of the cigarette on the table again. Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hudsucker Proxy. Prettier though. She didn’t take her eyes off him.

‘Is she that stupid?’

‘Again, a little harsh.’

‘Are you that stupid?’


She finished her first beer and pushed the empty glass aside, drawing the new one towards her. She used the hand that wasn’t twirling the cigarette.

‘No, dammit, you are NOT that fucking stupid.’

‘Well maybe I am. Maybe I’m just that fucking stupid.’

‘She doesn’t love you. Love isn’t about thinking about anything. Love’s when you don’t have to think. Love’s not thinking.’

‘So’s being stupid.’


pub chat

May 13, 2008



‘So what’d she say?’

‘She said she’d think about it.’

He drank his pint and fiddled with the beer mat, spinning it on its corner. Everyone else’s eyes were stuck to the television. It was some manner of football final, he thought.

She didn’t touch her beer. Her hands lay on the table, her long fingers splayed wide. Her eyes touched with urgency and disbelief. Impatience.

‘Think about it? What the fuck? What does she need to think about?’

‘A lot, I guess. It’s…’

‘It’s nothing. It’s a no-brainer. Which, you know, is ideal for her.’

‘That’s a touch harsh.’

He drank again and watch her long fingers as they tapped the edge of the table. He knew she wanted a cigarette.

‘I’m going out for a fag… this conversation isn’t finished. This is just a pause. I’ll be back.’

She fished in her bag. Her dark hair fell in front of her face. She found a pack and muttered an exclamation of victory and relief. She looked up and held him in her eye.

‘This isn’t over.’

She walked out, the swing of the door mute in the noise of the pub. Someone scored and half the bar erupted. He took a sip and watched through the window as she lit up and paced.

‘It never is.’

He finished his beer and took a sip of hers.


April 23, 2008

The water lapped the rocks with a murmur. Calming, whispering; an eternal conversation that all could hear, but none understand.

She skipped a stone across the gentle waves. It hopped four times then skidded along the surface before sinking beneath. Her fingers snapped and she faked a pout.

‘I can do better you know.’

‘I know.’

The pout turned to a smile and her feet sank a bit in the sand as she looked for another skimmer. Pebbles and stones clattered as she tossed them aside, looking for that perfect smoothness.

‘I said I know. You don’t have to prove your skill to me.’

He threw a round stone, not bothering to skip. It hit the water with a satisfying plunk, echoing over the quiet conversation between the water and the rocks.

‘I know you know. And I don’t have to prove anything to you.’

He looked across the loch. The sunny haze cast a pastel filter over the mountains in the distance. He squinted, even though his sunglasses hung loose from his collar.


She held a smooth stone up to him, grinning from ear to ear. She held it like a talisman.

He lost count of how many times it skipped. Seven or eight – somewhere around that. The sun fell behind a cloud and the hairs on his arms stood up in the breeze.

‘I can do even better.’

‘I know.’

He watched as a sailboat tacked on the opposite shore, almost indistinguishable from the wings of the gulls diving around him.

She grabbed his hand hers and kissed his cheek.

‘I know you know.’

an atypical conversation

September 3, 2007

her “You screwed it up.”

him “How? How did I screw it up?”

her “You screwed it up because you don’t get it.”

him “That’s why. I asked how.”

“You told her. You’re never supposed to tell her.”

him “Tell her what?”

her “You told her you liked her. You just came out and said it.”

him “Of course I told her. I’m bored of all the bullshit. The waiting, the teasing, pretending not to care. I liked her. I told her. What the fuck is wrong with that?”

her “Everything. It goes against nature.”

him “Nature? Fuck you. This isn’t a fucking Friends rerun. If I like someone I should be able to tell them. It’s honest. It’s being upfront. It’s not insulting someone by feigning disinterest and ignoring them. It’s not pandering to some stupid and primitive ‘treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen’ bullshit.

her “But that’s how it works.”

him “That wasn’t how it worked with us.”

her “And now there is no us.”

He looked at the whisky glass and took a small sip. It didn’t burn enough, so he gulped and felt the fire at the bottom of his throat and the sting of tears.

him “No. There isn’t.”

her “You have to learn to play the game. Be selfish.”

him “It’s not a game.”

her “It is.”

him “It shouldn’t be.”

her “That doesn’t matter.”

him “It does. It’s who I am. It’s a matter of principle.”

her “Principle? You’re not going to get laid because of principle? You’re going to be alone for the rest of your life because you disagree with the unwritten rules of dating?”

him “Yes. Because it’s got to work out. Eventually.”

her “That’s what you said about her. ”

He closed his eyes and held the empty glass to his forehead.

her “You just don’t get it.”

seat on the stairs

June 8, 2007


No thanks, I’ve already eaten.



The room shudders and swims a bit. She walks towards the stairs and takes a seat on the lower steps. A small sip from her plastic cup. Warm lager. A grimace follows.


May 24, 2007

No. She’s not beautiful. Or if she is, you’re not allowed to know she is. You can’t know she is.

I don’t get it.

No. You don’t.

But she’s hot!

Hot is fine. She is hot. But she’s not beautiful.

Right. I still don’t –

I know.

she smiles.

he shifts and takes a sip from the bottle between them.

Beauty has to be known?

she smiles again.


Whereas hot is just looks?


You just said bingo.

she laughs and he joins her.

You’re beautiful.

she grabs the bottle from him and takes a long sip, her eyes locked on his.