Overheard

Friday Fiction chimes again in Promptland and dings in my InBox, aided by the sweet purple Tinklebell, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Many thanks to her for presiding over this notorious party-line and to J Hardy Carroll for contributing the picture that nudges our creativity this week.

It took some doing to squeeze my contribution into 100 words but I made it. The seed for this tale was planted when I worked with a fellow who peddled drugs on the side. Being on the opposite side of the spectrum from me, he was hostile and would have been delighted to see me quit, but thankfully no plotting like the type in my story.

Photo © J Hardy Carroll

“Yeah, he hates me, but I never thought he’d go this far. And he’ll have planted enough so I’m nailed for trafficking, not just possession. You saved my life, pal!”

“I’m blown away! Sure, I recognized your coworker, but hearing your name, then ‘One call to the RCMP and she’ll be in for years.’ What’s chances I’d be right there to catch that?”

“I’ll head for the nearest police station, tell them what you overheard and ask them to search my car — before they come looking for me.”

“I’d call this one amazing happenstance!”

“I’d call it a miracle.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been away from writing for awhile, wandering through the DropBox Thousand file-lands to gather material for my upcoming book of poems and short stories. I need a better filing system! I’ve made ten sections in my book and putting each item in the right section has involved a lot of shuffling since some stories would work in several sections.

Once the manuscript was ready to be formatted, I converted it from Word Perfect to MS Word — and the fun began! My first plan (four years ago) was for a print book so I (misguidedly) purchased a number of graphics. Now I added them to my e-book file and the switch from WP to Word has thrown things out of sync big time. I don’t have Word myself, so I must take my file to our son-in-law’s computer when I want to open and read it. Which I did and was rather dismayed…

I’ve decided to do an e-book format only — but you rarely see e-books with graphics. So I’ve a question for you seasoned writers: Would you add small box graphics to illustrate an e-book of poems and (mostly) short tales?

I’ve also been beta-reading a book for Florida Pastor JS Park, who’s writing about depression with an aim to helping both those who suffer and those who want to empathize. He hopes to help readers find a better understanding and ability to cope. The book is live on Amazon.com now; you can find it here: How Bad It Really Is: A Short, Honest Book About Depression.

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51 thoughts on “Overheard

    • They tend to get nailed by their own. Rivers are full of small-time pushers who couldn’t pay their debts or wanted a bigger share. This fellow got beat up a time or two, which is one “sign” to me that he was selling more than our products to some customers.

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    • As I said to Linda, they tend to get nailed by their own suppliers or customers. It’s a dangerous life. This guy was no slouch about the things that were important to him. He was a drummer in a rock band.

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    • It would depend on how faithful a friend this is who’s claiming to have overheard the conversation. It’s like when your good friend (versus your worst enemy) tells you they saw your husband downtown with his arm around a cute chick.
      But inventing an “overheard call” wouldn’t do much good for the teller. And if the targeted person already knows her coworker’s a pusher, if she’s felt his animosity before this, she’d likely believe it. If, on the other hand, her friend is a chronic liar who loves a sensational story… 😦
      Thanks for your comment.

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    • Well, a good short story could go many ways before the resolution. Either the male coworker has planted drugs to set up his opponent for arrest, or the friend who claims to have overheard is making up a story.
      Then you’d need a good reason for the friend (who obviously doesn’t know the man, only by sight) to accuse him like that. Sending a pal on a needless trip to the police station wouldn’t be enough of a pay-off.
      Or maybe the “overhearer” is a journalist hoping to generate some local news? I’m pretty suspicious when it comes to the Press. 😉

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  1. Ahhhh! Something told in dialogue. One of my favorite methods. 🙂 The situation seemed pretty cut and dried, almost to a conclusion. Very nice. You crammed a lot in 100 words and it paid off! I always tell people that confining yourself to a word count really puts a punch in the storytelling. Terrific work this week, Christine!

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    • Thanks for the encouraging comment! One day a writer friend, a little on the negative side, told me I was poor at writing dialogue. However I really like doing scenes this way. Dialogue is usually to the point — no rambling about scenery or attire in an exchange like this.
      And I definitely agree: being limited in word count, having to pare down to bare bones, has sharpened my writing a lot.

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      • Glad you enjoyed it and I totally agree. You can bring the reader right into what’s happening between the characters. Most readers don’t really care what colour the carpet is, or if the sky is layered with cumuli-nimbus clouds or clear and sunny. 🙂

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    • Oh, good. I love to stimulate imagination and intrigue! Thanks for the encouragement.
      This is an imagined plot “someone” might have tried, had he thought he’d get away with it. I was training to be manager of that fast food place — which meant I would have had to deal with him and his extra-income activities, too — but I realized it would never work. I might have been the one getting beat up some night after shift.

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  2. This has the makings of a longer crime story, with many possible outcomes. I know I hate people who peddle drugs or those who plant them on someone else to get them into trouble. They’re life-wreckers either way.

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    • I actually have a larger story in mind. As for drugs, it’s a multi-faceted issue. If you could only bring it back to personal responsibility somehow.
      Early one morning I watched a couple of twenty-ish girls — probably uni students buying for a party — make a pickup not far from my window from a Hell’s Angels-type biker. And I thought. “Here you are, girls, probably champions of “Equality for women” and women’s rights — and yet you’re paying these guys who enslave thousands of your sisters in the worst sort of bondage every year. Even young girls in grade school are having their lives ruined and ending up on the streets — and by buying their product you’re paying these people to do this. The trade exists for the users. The buck stops with you!
      I was all set to fire off an impassioned “Letter to the Editor” but never have. End of rant. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. Such an amazing story , Christine . I love how you seasoned story tellers say so much with little means( words) and then of course , there’s the ambiguous ending .
    Best wishes with your book. I know, you will shine.

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  4. So is the pal a policeman? I got the framing bit. I visualize it playing out as the narrator being the good citizen who stands as witness and helps take down the drug dealer. It’s the bit in the mechanics I’m not clear on.

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    • No, the pal is just a pal. Someone who happens by, hears his/her friend’s name, vaguely recognized the speaker, and stops to hear what’s being said. The one being framed opts to go to the police with the whole story. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Oh, she is very lucky to have such a good friend. Great story. Peddling drugs is bad enough, but framing people… ugh, this person deserves everything she gets.
    About the writing: not in that league either, but I always love illustrations. And if you don’t have Word, have you tried open office? You can download it here: https://www.openoffice.org/download/index.html and it should be able to open and edit word files almost as good as the Microsoft version.

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