The point of this exercise (in truth, it was a Short Story Competition entry) was to tell a short story solely in dialogue (beats were permitted). I chose to have more than two participants to make it more interesting.
“I’m starving,” said Ken. “It’s been a day from hell.”
“That it has.” Laura stared at the menu.
“Can I have pork chops?” asked Jack.
“No, Dad, they don’t serve that here.” Jack waved down a waiter.
“I like a good chop,” sulked Jack.
“They don’t serve chops here, Dad. Seafood and steaks.”
“Good evening, sir. Can I get you something to drink?”
“Yes, I’ll have a bourbon and water, she’ll have a Chardonnay, and an iced tea for my father, please.”
Laura interrupted. “I’ll have gin, instead. Crushed ice.”
“Ok, that’s a bourbon and water, gin over crushed ice, and an iced tea. I’ll send your server over to take your dinner order.”
“You never order gin with dinner.”
“Well, things change.”
“Why can’t I have what I want? I want chops.”
“Please, Dad, keep your voice down. It’s a surf ‘n turf. They only serve steak and seafood. Besides, last time you had chops, your teeth bothered you all night. Look here, they have the crab cakes you always like.”
“I got a phone call today,” Laura said.
“Oh. Okay. I like crab cakes. But none of that pink sauce. I don’t like that.”
“Right, Dad, no remoulade sauce. I’ll tell them. Phone call?”
“Hello, I’m Stefan, and I’ll be your server tonight.” He set down the drinks. “Are you ready to order?”
“I’ll have Lobster Newburg in Puff Pastry, with the Caesar Salad,” said Laura, before Ken could speak.
“Uh, yes. I’ll have the Seafood Casserole, with a baked potato, loaded. And Lobster Bisque. He’ll have the Maryland Crab Cakes, with mashed potato, and chopped broccoli.”
“And no pink sauce.”
“Oh yes. No remoulade sauce with the crab cakes.” Ken sipped his bourbon.
“And another of these.” Laura handed the empty glass to Stefan.
“Stefan, huh. Steve, more likely,” Ken joked.
“Jennifer Welkes.” Laura glared at Ken. “That’s who called me.”
“Yes, oh. I’m sure you can guess the rest.”
“I don’t like this tea.” Jack made a face. “It’s too bitter.”
“Stir in some sugar, Dad. No more than two packets though.” He turned to Laura. “Look, honey, it only happened once, by accident.”
“Accident? What, like a slip and fall, Kenneth? Or was it a rear end collision? Well?”
“I mean, it just kind of happened. It was after a dinner meeting with a client, and we were both a bit drunk, and tired—“
“Kenneth, she told me everything. You chased her for months, then threatened to make her job go away.”
“Don’t you dare call me that.”
“She’s lying. She’s incompetent, and she’s making this up because she’s about to be fired.”
“She just got a transfer and promotion. Today. But you’re right about one thing. Someone is getting fired.” She stood, and gulped down the drink the waiter was holding out to her. “Don’t bother coming home. I’ve had the locks changed.”
“Wait. Your dinner…” Ken emptied his glass, and handed it to Stefan. “I need a refill.”
Jack leaned forward. “Kenny, my boy.” Looked Ken in the eye. “You’re an idiot.”
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