Monday, July 8, 2013

Do Your Characters Ever Invade Your House?

I'm so sorry. I couldn't help myself. In a recent email exchange with another "writing buddy" I wrote:

I am busy with my 'own stuff' but I think the guys improve when I make them sit in the living room and amuse themselves while I do something different. (Now there would be a funny scene to write!) I better stop thinking about that image!!

Of course, I looked up from my laptop into the living room and the images started popping up. The urge became overpowering. My fingertips tapped out the following little scene. Maybe it will make you giggle like it did me.

Waiting in my Living Room

Someone knocks at the front door. It’s Aaron, the man is punctual. I open the door and wave him in.

“I’m sorry but I’m kind of busy right now,” I tell him. “But if you don’t mind waiting and entertaining yourself for awhile. I will be working with you soon.”

“I don’t mind getting out of that heat. Is 98 degrees normal?”

“It is for Texas in July,” I respond and make a general ‘please be seated’ gesture toward the couch and chair. He didn’t have to wear a suit for this.

“How does any one do anything?” he asks as he sits down on the antique loveseat in the corner and looks over his shoulder at the kids walking by on the sidewalk. He scowls through the window at the one of the boys whose pants are hanging somewhere just above mid-thigh.

I start to turn away from the door when someone else knocks. What is Gerry doing here? Oh, God, yes. I’m revising!

“Hey there, author!” The man gives me a hug. He’s happy. He should be!

“Hey yourself, Gerry. I’m sorry you came all this way. I’ve got something I really need to get done. Do you mind waiting?” I ask.

“Not at all,” he answers with a grin. “As long as you don’t change the ending I’m fine.”

I hear a foot tapping and turn to see Aaron looking at me then Gerry then back again.

“Oh, I think you two guys know each other,” I say with a touch of trepidation.

“We’ve met,” Gerry says. “At my wedding wasn’t it, Your Honor?”

“Cheryl’s wedding,” Aaron corrects him as he extends his hand to Gerry. I can see their knuckles turning white.

Mercy, fellas! This is not a good time for a male pissing contest. I shake my head and ignore their overly polite conversation with each other. Let them work it out themselves.

I no sooner sit down at the breakfast table in front of my laptop when there’s another knock at my door. I start to stand back up but Gerry stops me with a wave of his hand.

“I’ll get it,” Gerry tells me. Aaron stretches out his legs and shakes his head as Gerry opens the front door.

“Have I got the right address? I checked it twice on Google,” the blond man says as he steps in and nods to the other two. A computer bag hangs from his shoulder. Good! Ward brought his own laptop.

“Yes, Ward,” I say. “You know you’ve got the right house. Don’t be a smart aleck.”

He blinks at me from behind his wire-rimmed glasses as if he has no idea what I’m talking about. He got it right the first time and he knows it.

“Have I come at a bad time?”

I just stare back at him and he glances at the room’s other occupants.

“Hey, I’m just here for a revision,” Gerry shrugs.

“And I’m here for a rough draft,” Aaron volunteers. “There’s a lot of things she’s just not clear on right now.”

“Hey, don’t pay any attention to me. I’ve brought Sam with me. I have some work to catch up on while I’m waiting. Shelia, you have Wi-Fi?”

“Yes, I do,” I respond as I click up the critique I’ve been trying to work on.

“What’s the password?”

“It’s on the NetGear over there on the table. Now, fellas, please! I need to get some work done.”

Ward sets himself up in the dining room then walks back to the NetGear to find the password to my Wi-Fi. Gerry and Aaron seem to come to some kind of truce and are talking about the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

I turn back to my laptop and there’s another knock on the door! Aaron glances out the window again.

“Shelia, I think you should answer this one. A limo just dropped him off.”

Gerry just looks at me and Ward leans against the archway to the dining room and watches the door as I get up to answer it.

“Hello, Jerome,” I say as I open the door and wave him in.

“And good evening to you, sweetheart,” he says and leans down the necessary foot or more to kiss me on the cheek. “You have been expecting me, have you not?”

“You’re not that predictable, Jerome, and you know it. But kind of, yes. Please come in and have a seat. As I’ve told the other guys I’m kind of occupied.”

“She’s writing a critique,” Ward says, looking at Jerome’s Italian-tailored suit then looks at me with a question in his eyes I can read without effort: “Shall I throw him out? No problem.” Gerry has lost his genial air and looks at me as well. Aaron just studies Jerome. None of them look happy, except Jerome who chuckles.

“Gentlemen, please! I’m not here to disturb the lady.”

“Sure you’re not.” I mumble and no one seems to notice, although I catch Aaron narrowing his eyes.

“So if you will all excuse me I will get back to work,” I state in a more audible voice.

Jerome sits down in the overstuffed chair and pulls out the Wall Street Journal he was carrying under his arm. Ward moves back to the dining room and his laptop. Aaron shifts himself to the couch in front of the television and Gerry joins him.

I go back to my laptop and try to refocus on what I’m supposed to be doing. Aaron and Gerry are grumbling in low tones about the lack of sporting events available. Jerome is snapping his Journal with each page he turns. I can only hear an occasional beep from the dining room then I hear the Captain and Tennille’s “Do that to Me One More Time”.

All the guys look toward the dining room as my fingertips slip and hit the backspace again.

“Now all I need is for the girls to show up!” I grumble.

Ward comes back into the living room.

“Ah, Shelia,” he says with a sheepish grin. “Fran just texted from Central Market. She says don’t worry about dinner. Desiree has plans for the shrimp and oysters. Do oysters Bienville and shrimp etouffee sound OK?”

A more dignified musical ringtone erupts from Jerome’s jacket pocket. He pulls out his IPhone and slides his finger across the small screen. “Apparently the little woman has found a nice Vin du Bugey Cerdon to go with it. Not to fuss---Cheryl has picked up some fresh squeezed carrot/pineapple juice as well. Here in thirty minutes.”

Four sets of eyes—brown, hazel, blue, hazel—turn toward me. I moan and collapse on my keyboard.
The stinkers! You know this all your fault, Lana!



  1. I like what you wrote, but would you please prune the limbs on the right of the screen. The get in the way of the posts.


  2. I COULD say I'm sorry, but it wouldn't be truthful. I thought it was great fun, and I wish I could get my characters to bug me as much as yours bug you. ;)


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