Winter Vignettes

Phone conversations (overheard)

“Well, what do you want?”

(he listens)

“No, what _do_you_ WANT????”

(a sigh)

“Why is it every time we talk we hafta do this? I just want a simple answer to a simple question. Please? Would you just please, please give me a damn answer??”


“No, I’m good! I’m taken care of! We don’t need to talk about it or compromise or discuss the issue. I just fucking want to know what you want!”


“Jesus H Christ, that’s it. You win. I’ll do it my way; you can live with the consequences. I really shouldn’t have called you.”

(he hangs up and reaches for a box of cereal, grumbling)

“If she would just say ‘Cheerios’ I could be home by now.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dinner with Family

L.- “Wow mom, look at this spread. You went all out.”

B.- “Looks good. When do we eat? (laughs)”

mom – “Soon. I’m just so glad you could all make it. It’s been a long time since I had all my kids here.”

L & B- (guilty looks, murmurs)

Mr. R- “Something just dinged in here.”

mom- “Okay, I think we can eat. Ellie! Dinner’s ready!”

(E. comes pale and quiet to table as food is served)

mom- “Honey, you wanna say the prayer?”

Mr. R- “Okay..” (he starts to pray. Mom starts to sniffle. Ellie is staring down at her plate) “Amen.”

L.- “Mom, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”

mom- “Yes. I’m fine… I mean. It’s just… I wish I could hold on to this, somehow. This moment, when all my kids are here and you’re all okay and everyone’s safe, and.. Oh Ellie. Ellie, Michael told us about the baby. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, honey.” (she starts to cry in earnest)

E.- “You know?” (she starts to tear up) “Oh mom.” (crying) “It was so hard to tell you. I know. I wish… God, I wish we could hold on to things. They slip away so fast…”

L.- “What happened? Ell? Did you- Oh my God, I knew you guys were trying, but I didn’t know anything had… oh Ellie… I’m so sorry. (L. throws her arms around E.’s shoulders, they hug and rock eachother)

B- (looks back and forth around the table of crying women, disconcerted) “Would it be insensitive to ask you to pass the potatoes?”

Mr. R- (reaching across bodies to hand the potatoes to B.) “Don’t worry, son. This seems to happen every time your mother cooks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Phone conversations 2

“Well, she really surprised me. She’s fighting for me.”

“She’s. Fighting. For. You.”


*gulp* “I thought… I thought that you and her were done. You said nothing could change your feelings about that.”

“This is really hard, babe.”

“You’re telling me this?”

“I mean, my family, you; I’ve hurt everyone.”

“Did she say ‘I love you’?”

“Ironically, yes… for the first time in years.”


“I gotta get going, things are weird here right now. I’ll call you when I get home.”

“Okay. I love y-”


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Phone conversations 3

“What do you think happens when we die?”

“We’re dead.”

“Like… just ended?”



“You suck.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In a Parking Lot

“So….want to spend a little time with me?”



“Like, what did you want to do?”

“Well… (he holds her hand up and seems to study it) we could make it up as we go along.”


“My car’s over there.”

“I’m not sure, tonight…”

“Come on. We’ve liked each other for awhile.”

“You don’t love me though.”

“Well… not everything is love. Sometimes it’s good to just enjoy each other. (serious look) Why, are you in love with me?”

“I think… I’m in love with a lot of people.”

“Are you? That’s intriguing. (he leans toward her)

“Yeah. But none of them are you.”


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


8 thoughts on “Winter Vignettes

  1. Nice. I liked the Family Dinner and Phone Conversation 3. Gotta love pure dialogue…ok, mostly pure dialogue and some action. Still, awesome.

    Also, Wing Commander 3! Woo!

  2. Wicked genius ear, you have. True speech in its rhythms and flow, overlaps and stutters, spaces. I laughed till I cried. At first I read it a little quick and didn’t get all the to and fro, but slower and one can follow the natural ebb and flow of the mind when it is engaged in conversation, reacting but holding its own line. Little battles, won and lost, resignation, assertion, a whole gamut of lives lived in perfectly captured moments. Insignificant in themselves but when presented with such precision and clarity they speak of subtle established relationships, transactions,
    And so on, but most of all, Amuirin, I laughed and laughed out loud and then felt the struggle of the exlovers, the depth of the passions behind the socalled common lives.
    Which is to say, wicked genius ear you have, perfect, accomplished, original storytelling of the highest order which is firmly part of a tradition back through Studs Terkel to Chaucer. Brilliant!

  3. Yes, Paul is right, this is absolutely brilliant……each vignette a novel in itself bringing the reader in, sending them spinning off in time, both directions at once, to begin/finish the tale. I loved these, really loved them. ……especially the last two.

  4. These are marvelous. The closing line of “Dinner with Family” is classic. That particular script could be played so many different ways, from almost unbearably tragic to hilarious with bitter flavoring.

  5. Pingback: what do you want « A UU Deist in Texas

  6. We usually hear, some form of: FUCK YOU, you’re such an asshole. Do this for me… I want this… Jeez… I’m getting off the phone. Fine. Fuck you, you don’t mean that. Whatever. Bye, Bye, BYE.

    And the handset bouncing off a wall or two.

    Maybe an hour later its back to fake giggles and fake love.

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