I posted an excerpt from this work-in-progress a while back, and shortly thereafter I stalled on the story and put it on the back burner.
I wasn’t alarmed, this happens to me often. Writing half of a story and then letting it sit for a few days or weeks until an idea for the second half percolates to the surface of my mind is pretty much standard operating procedure. Apparently, my subconscious really wants in on my stories.
Also, this is more dialogue-heavy than most of the snippets I post. I like to think I have an ‘ear’ for plausible dialogue, for writing things the way actual people might actually say them. Sometimes that means damn the grammar, and that’ just the way it’s gotta be. Honestly, I don’t think I was too rough on the English language this time. I’ve done worse before.
Without further ado, enjoy this snippet from what my subconscious came up with. I censored the Very Naughty Word near the end because I try to keep it basically PG-13 for the blog and save the really racy stuff for the paying customers.
I turned the set off after the setup, the little teaser that runs after the opening credits and hints at developing storylines, asks the viewers to wonder what’s going to happen to who and when before the commercial break. I tore through the cabin until I remembered where I had plugged my phone in and dialed Isaac, ignoring the flashing bank of notification icons crowding the top of the screen.
“Chad, you don’t just turn off your phone in show biz. It’s just not done unless you’re Greta Garbo,” Isaac said without a hello, voice wounded like he’d just been run over in the street and left to bleed. And in a way he had. A talent’s agent deserves to know the high points of what’s going on in his talent’s life. It’s his bread and butter.
“Isaac. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. After the fight on set, I just needed some time.”
“You can have time. But you gotta talk to me. The lines of communication have to be open or I can’t work for you, Chad. I need to talk to you two weeks ago. Can I talk to you two weeks ago? Because I’ve got a hell of a deal for you. Two goddamn weeks ago, Chad,” Isaac said, warming up from wounded to ready to inflict some wounds of his own.
“Okay, okay, I get it. I’ll never do it again. I’m serious, Isaac. The next time I go incommunicado on you for more than an hour or two will be when a meteor shoots out of the sky and whacks me in the forehead, okay?”
“George Alalay left the show,” Isaac said.
“You heard me,” Isaac said. “He showed up for the shooting day after the fight, then he stopped showing up. He had his agent call Jim, wouldn’t even talk to him himself. Nobody knows where he is, either. You know the fan rags are starting to cook up conspiracy theories, Chad? They’ve got you two running off to get married, they’ve got Jim secretly working for a rival network to sabotage Touch the Stars, they’ve got an Afghanistani drug cartel kidnapping you two and the network keeping the ransom demands secret, hoping to salvage the show. It’s gotten very creative. And Stars is on hiatus. They’ve already re-run the season finale from last season, then they’ll run the two shows that are already in the can, then they don’t know what the hell they’re going to do. If they don’t get something in the can in the next week it’s all going to go right down the drain, Chad. And that’s not the worst part.”
“No? What’s the worst part, Isaac?” I had a feeling I knew what he was going to say, and I didn’t like it. I should have left the phone on. I’d bet I had messages from Angelique and Kat, telling me their plan wasn’t going to work out. They must figure I’m deliberately ignoring them. Pulling a Garbo, disappearing into a hole and pulling my millions in after me, and f— the little people.
“There’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to land you anything, movie or network, once you’re the man who killed Touch the Stars at the height of its power. You’re poison, Chad. Unless you can bring this thing back to life.”
“How… I don’t know where to start,” I said lamely.
“Call Jim. No, don’t call Jim. Go see Jim in person. Word is he’s hanging around the Will Smith Memorial Country Club playing thirty-six holes of golf a day. And then figure out how to get George back,” he said. “I’ll do what I can, but I’m not having any more luck finding him than I had finding you. Just get back here, from wherever you are. And we’ll see if you have a career left to save.” He hung up with a disgusted snort.