Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Dramatic Situation

The following is a product of my writing group's assignment from a couple of months ago:

Everyone was given 2-4 playing cards and one of Polti's 36 dramatic situations in an envelope. Using the cards as status write a scene in which the given dramatic situation occurs. You may also use the imagery on the cards to inform the characters.

For example:

You were given a Queen of Spades, A 2 of Diamonds, and a 10 of Hearts. Your situation was Abduction.

You might write a scene in which a mail clerk who just got laid off (2 of diamonds) and divorced dad (10 of hearts) kidnap the mayor's wife (the Queen of spades).

You don't have to use all the cards. Please write to the end of continuing the scene past the first few minutes.

My dramatic situation: Slaying of kin unrecognized
My Cards:

Scene 1

The outside of a Principal’s office which hasn’t
been redecorated since 1984. The carpet is beige
and matches the foam cushions on square chairs
arranged against the walls. Photos of previous
principals hang around the room across the walls -
equally as beige as the carpet and cushions.

AMELIA, 15, and GORDIE, 16 sit in across from each
other. AMELIA is dressed in a trendy skirt and
shirt and wearing makeup. GORDIE’s pants are
ripped at the thigh, one long opening.

At the far end of the room, bloody, bruised and
holding an ice pack to her face is BESS, 9. Her
knees are scraped and lip is bleeding. She sits
with out saying a word, glaring at AMELIA and then
back at GORDIE.

There is the sound of an office beyond - Telephone
bells jangle, the rhythmic whir of of a copier
(which, when heard on repeat, delivers the audio
illusion,"Oooh, why?"), muffled conversations by
female voices.

Except for this there is a long silence between
the children.

GORDIE crosses his legs and at once the rip in his
trousers gapes open, revealing the bottom of his
boxer shorts covered with cartoon
snowmen. Judging by the clothes of the three, it
might be Early Summer. AMELIA makes a scoffing
sound and rolls her eyes away. GORDIE takes his
hand and gathers the two side of the rip together.
AMELIA shakes her head with displeasure.

A beat.

(With sudden force)
At some point, you have to defend yourself.


How many times does does someone get all, like, up in
your face and everything like that before you have to
defend yourself?

GORDIE shrugs.

Like, how MANY?

I don’t KNOW, what are you-

Just asking a question. I was just talking out loud,
or whatever.

Talk in your head. Leave me alone.

Seriously, like, what was it like fifteen or sixteen
times? Right? Like how often are you gonna-

(Letting out a huge sigh)
Come ON. There’s no...uh, what, form-las, Amelia. I
mean, JEsus. Shut up, will ya?

YOU shut up, god.
(A beat.)
What’s a form-las, anyway?


You said "form-las".

(through his teeth)
I meant to say FormUlas. It came out wrong.

Whatever, you’re probably retarded.

God, will you leave me AY-LONE. I’m not retarded.

Liz said you were.


(looking at her fingernails, picking)
Yuh-huh, she did. She said you were retarded. She
works in the office, like, during fourth period and she
saw your IQ in your file. Said it was, like 20 or

BESS makes a snorting laugh.

I think you can shut your face, you little bitch.

BESS glares at AMELIA. If possible, BESS’s nose
begins to bleed but she makes no effort to stop

Oh. My. God. Do you SEE her?

GORDIE does not acknowledge either of them.


What? GOD.

(To Bess)
You should wipe your nose or something. You want to be
clean when they come to take you away, you know that?
If they see you’re all gross they won’t even do
anything, like medical, or anything. They’ll probably
just spray you with a hose and then put you in a room

A beat. BESS moves the ice pack to reveal a
sizable black eye. The ice cubes make a sloshing
sound inside the pack. She wipes her nose on her
sleeve, in one slow movement, her eyes one the

My parents are coming to get me.

Whatever. Like you even know what parents are.

They are, too.

PUH-leeze. Even if you did have parents to come an get
you, they’re probably all high on glue or something
stupid like that...or spray paint.

You don’t know anything.

I know a LOTSA things.

You don’t know shit about dick.

Watcher mouth-

(To GORDIE, smashing the ice pack to the
floor, standing)
Shut up you fucking’ retard before I come over there
and beat the shit out of you and your little hot dog

(Rising rushing BESS)
You little mongoloid!

BESS gang rushes GORDIE. He grabs her by the arms
and picks her up. She kicks him in the thighs
over and over again, screaming "YOU FUCKING
RETARD." GORDIE rears back a hand to punch her in
the face when PRINCIPAL BRUCE swings the door to
his office open and lurches for the feuding

PRINCIPAL BRUCE is a balding man in his
mid-forites, and terrified. He swats at them to
break it up - holding his face away to guard it
from impact.

Enough! E-NOUGH!

He shoves GORDIE to the floor and picks BESS up as
if she is made of razor blades. He tosses her in
the chair, swipes up the ice pack and hands it to
BESS without looking at her.

After a moment to compose himself:

I am very disappointed in you. Very disappointed. You
told me - no, promised - no more of this, this -
right. You made a promise. I can see now that your
promises mean nothing.

AMELIA snorts.

This is as far as I've gotten. I'm planning on continuing. I'll post future revisions here.

1 comment:

Joe Janes said...

Good start. I like the detailed descriptions of what everyone looks like and what they're wearing. The next thing I'd like to see is what shows up as the parents, if there are any.

Oh, and this is for you. Someone clearly made it with you in mind.

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