Mel & Carl
A Short Story by LittleCely
A Short story about creative writing. I had fun writing this since I wanted to practice using dialogue. Any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
“A writing exercise,” Carl bounced the idea on the small desk that stood between him and Mel. And the same way it’s impossible to ignore a ball in motion aimed at your face, she caught it by instinct with no time to consciously decide if that was really what she wanted to do.
“…Yeah, sure.” She didn’t understand how writing would come into play when they had no tools before them to work on the craft.
“Awesome! Okay, so there is a book sitting in front of you,” he gestured to the space devoid of anything but mahogany. Furrowing her brow she looked down at the desk then back up at him. “Imagination Mel. It’s a writer’s best friend. Imagine the book.”
“Okay…” she said slowly looking down at the persistently empty space between her forearms. Patient smile never leaving Carl’s face he sat unconcerned and waited quietly. “Okay Carl! Now what?”
“Open to the first page.”
Letting out a sigh, Mel used her left hand to mime the opening of a book. Carl said nothing again and with a roll of her eyes Mel let out an exasperated, “Caaarl!”
“Meeel! I’m waiting for you to get to the first page,” he said mimicking her tone.
“I’m on the first page!”
“You only opened the cover.”
“When have you known a novel to begin after only opening the cover?”
Mel let her head thump onto the book and whined, “Aagh – I can’t do this right now!”
“Just turn a few more pages ya drama queen.” Raising her head, she shot a glare over at the man sitting across from her before flapping her hand frantically turning several pages. He nodded his head approvingly.
“Now, what does the first sentence say?”
“Nothing,” she had answered too quickly not giving herself enough time to think or even consider written words in a make-believe book.
“Yea – I a… Yes.”
“Okay, that’s fine. Close the book again. Come on – just do it. Now, open it again but this time somewhere in the middle, the heart of the book, if you will.”
“I hate you.” She did as she was told and held the book open before her once again.
“Okay, now read.”
“Fu – mother cracker!”
Carl burst out laughing, making Mel seethe all the more. “Babe, just read what’s in front of your face. Anything will do, I promise I’m not gonna make you try to sell the thing, we’re just having a little fun.”
Mel, irritated with herself even more than she was with Carl, stared hard at the blank pages of her book. She willed letters to take shape but instead of forming words they merely floated randomly around the two blank pages before her. They were like strangers in a park, not wanting to get in each other’s way. Mel watched as a t strolled by a capital O running after its pet r and she wanted to scream. Using her fingers she tried forcing the letters together to form beautiful heartfelt words that would string together seamlessly moving the hearts of even the most critical of readers. Cornering a few, she tried to find meaning in the jumble of letters she had managed to keep together. But they kept finding more and more ways to escape her forceful advances. The futility and utter worthlessness she felt made her eyes start to fill up with angry tears. Why couldn’t she do this?
Carl reached over and laid both hands on top of her book, covering all the letters and started to wipe them away. Mel felt his stare call out to her, not with an amused smirk but with an accepting smile. He took his left hand back uncovering the page on the right and guided her gaze back down, “what do you see?”
With his other hand he closed the book and gave it a spin. “Is there a title?”, he asked.
“No,” she said, but in a much calmer voice than she had used since their game began. She took the book in her hands giving it one counterclockwise turn making it right side up again. “But it’s blue.”
Carl answered her with a proud smile and a cheeky wink. A little embarrassed, Mel lowered her gaze trying to hide her own slightly satisfied smile from her insufferable friend.
“Ah!” Carl’s sudden cry and subsequent laughter made Mel jump as it jaggedly pulled them out of their comfortable silence.
“What?” she said, more than a little annoyed.
“Only you,” he said in between bouts of laughter, “would imagine, a notebook.”
In response, she hurled her “notebook” at his head. He had the decency to lift his hands to his face and ducked trying to avoid any serious injury.
“You’re an idiot,” she said sounding more irritated than she actually was and walked to where her notebook had fallen, picked it up and headed towards the door. “I’m gonna get back to work.”
“Of course you are,” Carl called out, still laughing as she went into the other room closing the door behind her. With one last laugh he allowed his body to burst into fireworks made out of the words and letters that held him together. He then followed Mel through the crack at the bottom of the door, blowing past her and taking his place on the screen at her desk, just as she pulled out her chair to sit back down.
What did you guys think? I would love to hear your opinions.