Every Saturday The Guardian’s supplement magazine carries a short piece of fiction called: A Million Tiny Plays About Britain. Sometimes they are good, but occasionally they seem… erm, less so. I fancied I could improve on those latter and so sent in a few samples. I’d just been reading a how-to guide on writing that urged dialogue to sometimes be oblique. That is for one of the participants to take no notice of what the other person is saying. Well, I’ve had a lot of practice with oblique dialogue with my wife so I wrote and submitted the following playlet:
When answers aren’t
By Geoff Nelder
Radio script flash
Alan: Hello, I’ve not seen you here before, have I?
Bess: Raining, isn’t it?
Alan: You popped in here to avoid getting wet?
Bess; It’s nearly a mile away.
Alan: What, your home?
Bess: My feet ache..
Alan: Would you like a drink? I’m having vodka orange.
Bess: I need the washroom..
Alan: Round there. I’ll get you one like mine.
(PAUSE UNTIL SHE RETURNS)
I bought you vodka orange.
Bess: It must be a shower.
Alan: I’ve an umbrella. I could walk you home.
Bess: You have impudence – oh go on then.
Alan: I like the way wet pavements glisten, don’t you?
Bess: I can’t wait to get out of these clothes – all of them.
Alan: Really? They don’t seem that wet and it was only a single vodka.
Bess: There’s no stopping me.
Alan: I’m not the best looking…
Bess: One good turn deserves another.
Alan: I’ve hardly done anything that worthy, but I’m willing if you are. Is this it – up these steps?
Bess: Get the door open will you? I can’t find my keys…
Alan: Pardon? Oh, something’s fallen from your ear – hey, it’s a phone…
No, it has not been published in The Guardian. One reason is that I’d not noticed the author of Million Tiny Plays – Craig Taylor. I’d assumed it was a different writer each week and so open to submissions, but no. It is Craig Taylor every week. He must have done something really cool a whle back to gain a monopoly like that. I still read his tiny plays, and enjoy them, even though I’d like mine to be there instead.