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American Western

“Hey, dad, are you in there somewhere?”


“I’m here in the study. Come on back!”


“The study? Ok, Colonel Mustard, should I beware of the candlestick?”


“Very funny.”


“A study, dad? Really? You don't have a single book case or even a desk in here”


"I have a big screen TV and a recliner”


“That makes it a den or a man cave, but not a study.”


“Fine. Welcome to my den, Dentist.”


“You know you’re the only one who still calls me that. Mom used to hate it.”


“I know. Why do you think I did it? I loved making that woman mad.”


“Why on earth would you want mom mad?”


“Because making up with her was so much fun.”


“I know you miss her, you dirty old man.”


“I do miss her. This would have been her dream home. I moved here for her.”


“Seriously, Dad, the place looks great. Mom would be so proud.”


“I don’t know. I hope so.”


“She would, Dad. Who would have thought it? A city boy like you, moving out to the suburbs and buying a house with a study.”


“Don’t you mean a den?”


“Whatever it is, it’s great. What’s up with the open doors though? In New York, you had a doorknob lock, a dead bolt, and a chain forged in the fires of Mordor. On top of that, you had a state of the art alarm system that you activated even when you just went down the hall to put the trash down the chute. Who are you and what have you done with my dad?”


“I don’t know, Dentist, it felt like I had a lot more to lose then.”


“You protected mom to the very end. You hardly ever left her side.


“It was no bother. I only did what she would have gladly done for me.”


”It was no bother because it was mom.”


”It was my greatest pleasure.”


”She was a lucky woman.”


“I don’t know about that. I always figured she drew the short straw when she got stuck with me. I was the lucky one.”


“You think I don’t see what you’re doing?”


“What do you mean?”


“You think if we get to talking about mom that I’ll let you off the hook. It ain’t happening. Where is the iPhone I sent you? We have some work to do.”


“I don’t know, Dentist, what’s the hurry?”


“The hurry? Dad, Mom’s been gone for over two years. You are still young for an old man. You aren’t meant to be alone.”


“But a dating site? On some sort of phone app? That’s not how you meet someone. Can we do it later? I’m tired. It’s been a long day already.”


“Tired? Puh. It’s okay, they have a nap for that.”


“Hardy har har. Look, your mom was everything to me. I can’t hardly remember a time when she wasn’t in my life.”


“She loved you too, Dad. Her eyes always lit up when you entered the room.”


“Did I ever tell you how I met her?”


“Yeah, in high school, right? You took her to the junior prom.”


“That was our first date, but that’s not how I met her.”


“Really? All these years and no one ever told me how you two actually met?”


“I guess not. I’ll tell you one thing though, it didn’t involve a computer or an app on a phone. It was serendipity. My family had just moved into the house in Connecticut.”


“The house in Connecticut? How old were you? I thought you moved in there when you were six or seven.”


“Close, I was ten. I remember how boxes were everywhere and grandma was ordering us all around like a drill sergeant.”


“Granny? She’s five foot nothing and as sweet as sugar.”


“She is now, but when she was younger, she ruled our house with an iron fist. Your grandfather loved following her orders, though. Just like me, he married way above his head, and he would do anything for that woman.”


“That’s really touching, but what does that have to do with meeting mom?”


“I was getting there. You see, everyone else in the house was bigger than me. I was more in the way than helpful, so when the bell rang, my mom told me to answer the door.”


“Okay, I’m interested. What happened next?”


“I opened the door, silly. What would you have done?”


“Dad! Just tell the story. And?”


“And there was this pretty little girl standing next to a giant of a man.”


“Grampa Solomon?”


“Yes, he was gigantic, especially to a ten year old. In all honesty, I didn’t even notice your mother at first, until I smelled the pie.”


“A pie?”


“Yes, a pie. The most delicious homemade apple pie I’ve ever eaten. Your mother had brought it to us as a housewarming gift, a way to welcome us to the neighborhood.”


“Did grandma make the pie?”


“Nope, your mother did. She was a great cook, even at ten years old.”


“Was it love at first sight?”


“Hardly, I was ten years old. Girls were still kind of yucky, but I did notice her. She baked great pies and cookies. And even at ten she had those ice blue eyes. I didn’t fall in love that day, but I was intrigued.”


“Then you went to prom?”


“No, when love is blooming, there’s no reason to rush. First, we became friends. People think life is all about attraction, I get that, but it’s as much if not more about finding someone you want to spend all your time with. Your mom was my best friend before she became my girlfriend. She was my confidante before she became my wife. She was my everything and then, well, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Am I making sense?”


“You are, Dad, and don’t get me wrong, I get it. I really do, but you can’t live in the past. Mom wouldn’t want that.”


“I know, but…”


“Dad, your phone is ringing. I’m pretty sure you are one of three people left in the country with a landline. Are you going to answer it?”


“The machine will get it. No one I care about knows my new number. I’m sure it’s just a telemarketer.”


“You’ve reached Dennis and Diane, please leave your name and number at the tone and we’ll probably never call you back.”


“Dad, you haven’t changed your message?”


“It’s her voice. Every time that machine goes off it feels almost like she’s still here. I know I should change it, but I just don’t have the heart to.”


“I can help you make a copy of it so you can listen to it whenever you like, but you need to change it, Dad. Especially if you’re going to put yourself back out there. After all, you’re not going to get many lady friends to join you for dinner if they get that message when they call.”


“Exactly.”


“Dad, it’s time. Mom will always hold a special place in your heart, but she wouldn’t want you to be lonely. You deserve to be happy.”


“But an app?”


“Dad, things aren’t like they were 100 years ago when you were dating…”


“Hardy har har.”


“Women aren’t going to come to your door all ready to be married. You have to work to meet women these days.”


“Oh alright, you win. What do we do first?”


“Let me download the app on your phone.”


“How long will that take?”


“It’s already done.”


“Goody.”


“Now let's set up a profile. Name…Dennis.”


“Wait, put Denny.”


“Dad, you don’t want to seem like you're still a ten year old.”


“Fine, Dennis.”


“Age…55.”


“I’m 59.”


“You have to stretch the truth a little.”


“So this is how it works now? You have to lie to a woman to get her to like you?”


“No, it’s not like that. It’s well, you know, it’s a white lie…”


“That’s what I thought. Put 59!”


“Fine. 59. Height…6 foot 1, that’s the truth, right?”


“6’1” is correct.”


“That’s a plus, dad. Women like tall men.”

“Maybe you should be over at Shaquille O’Neil’s house helping him find a date?”


“He doesn’t need any help, Dad. You, on the other hand, need all the help you can get.”


“We can stop any time you like.”


“No way, you’re not getting rid of me that easily.”


“You can’t blame a guy for trying.”


“Valiant effort but let’s see, what do we have next? Eyes…That’s easy, beautiful brown.”


“Dentist!”


“Dad, you do have beautiful eyes. I got mine from you.”


“Okay. Okay.”


“Hair…Brown.”


“Brown?”


“Yes, brown. That’s not a lie.”


“Put grayish-brown.”


“Dad!”


“Grayish-brown!”


“Fine, grayish- brown.”


“Ok, here’s a big one. Interests?”


“Golf.”


“Golf, dad? You might end up with a man answering your ad. How about gardening?”


“I do a little gardening, but only when the golf course is booked.”


“Golf, gardening, and other outdoor-related pastimes.”


“I guess that’s kind of true. Okay, what else?”


“That should be enough to make your profile active. All I have to do is hit submit.”


“Hello? Is anyone home?”


“Boy, that app works quickly.”


“Don’t be silly, dad. I didn’t even submit it yet. Have you been holding out on me? Who is she?” 


“I have no idea.”


“Are you sure?”


“Of course, I just moved in.”


“Well, go see what she wants.”


“Hello?”


“I’m sorry, but the door was open. I’m Deedee, and I live next door. I wanted to welcome you and your wife to our little community.”


“My wife? Oh, this is not my wife. I’m Dennis and this is my daughter, Dentist.”


“A dentist! You must be so proud.”


“I’m sorry, her name is Denise, but I just call her Dentist.”


“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Denny. I’ve brought you a pie. I hope you like apple.”


“I love apple pie. You are so kind. Now I don’t feel like such a stranger.”


“Well, as my husband Steve, God rest his soul, used to say, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. Listen, I have to run. I have a tee time at two and I’m never late for a tee time.”


“You golf?”


“You don’t?”


“I love to golf, but…”


“But what? I’m a girl, is that it?”


“Well, no, but…”


“Choose your words carefully, or they may come back to bite you in the butt when I beat you.”


“Beat me?”


“You’re going to sign up for the neighborhood scramble, aren’t you?”


“I guess so, but…”


“You say but a lot. Dentist, I think your dad is a but man.”


“I’m staying out of this.”


“If you want to start off slow, we have a putt putt club in the neighborhood.”


“Putt putt? But…” 


“I’m kidding, Denny. Is it okay if I call you Denny? Dennis sounds so stuffy.”


“Denny is fine, but…”


“But, nothing. You need to join the scramble. It’s the best way to get to know everyone. I’ll drop an entry form by later.”


“Ok, but...”


“There you go again. I’m the red house next door. Come by when you’d like, and I’ll tell you all the do’s and don’ts of the neighborhood. I’ll also make sure you know who to avoid. I don’t want you going to this scramble blind.”


“But...”


“But what? “


“Oh nothing really, I just have to delete a few things.”


“You have the iPhone, too? Maybe you can help me with mine. My son bought me one and it’s still on a shelf in the box.”


“I’d be happy to.”


“Well, enjoy the pie and I’ll see you later at the scramble. And don’t forget your butt.”


February 21, 2023 19:50

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58 comments

02:35 Feb 28, 2023

Thom, I loved this so much! Denny was a wonderful character, and I think his devotion to his wife was so sweet. The relationship between Denny and his daughter was so wholesome. You really conveyed so much in the way they talked to each other. I started smiling when DeeDee showed up. I have a happy feeling she and Denny are going to become very good friends. You gave each character a very distinct voice, it was easy to follow the conversation. And the dialogue felt very fun and natural! Well done! 👏👏👏

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Ronnie King
07:42 Feb 27, 2023

NIcely written

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Stevie Burges
04:38 Feb 27, 2023

I, too, loved this story. I liked the repeat of the first love story and the neighbour's arrival. Dialogue chirruped along at a good pace. It was a heart-warming well-written story.

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Tara Leigh Parks
03:31 Feb 27, 2023

Excellent distinction between the characters. The plot flows just with the dialogue and it's interesting. Nothing else is needed. Great work. I enjoyed this piece. You should be very proud.

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Samsara Lind
17:22 Feb 26, 2023

I love this Thom, sweet story. The neighbour/apple pie bring everything full circle :)

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Unknown User
08:34 Feb 26, 2023

<removed by user>

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Helen A Smith
08:07 Feb 26, 2023

A dialogue which immersed me in the intimate lives of father and daughter. Had lots of nice touches with an ending that was so much better than any dating app could ever be. I wonder how Dad would have got on with a dating app even if he’d got into it. Probably not very well as he wasn’t really into exaggerating, or as he saw it lying.

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Nathaniel Lee
01:19 Feb 26, 2023

This is probably one of my favorite stories ever. I love everything about it.

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Thom With An H
01:27 Feb 26, 2023

You are incredibly kind. Thank you so much.

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Jeanne Kiesinger
01:08 Feb 26, 2023

I absolutely LOVE this!!!

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Thom With An H
01:27 Feb 26, 2023

Thank you so much.

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Richard E. Gower
20:50 Feb 25, 2023

Beautifully done...,.I followed it easily all the way through...met the letter of the prompt in a walk. Realistic to a fault....matchmaking must be in every daughter's DNA. Always like a happy ending, and extra marks for them Tolkien reference.😊 Best of luck😊 and Cheers! RG

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Charlie Murphy
19:06 Feb 25, 2023

Cute story! The dialogue was fun to read. I got confused on who said, "Hello?" just before Deedee came in. I assume it was the daughter. But, other than that, it was clear who was speaking. Great job!

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Sarah Martyn
16:20 Feb 25, 2023

There's something special about explaining the Dentist nickname after it's been used a handful of times. Well done. Masterful storytelling with only dialogue!

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Kristin Neubauer
15:46 Feb 25, 2023

This is fantastic, Thom! When I read the prompts, I had no idea how someone would write a story based entirely on dialogue, but now I see. It was so clever how you developed a plot, characters, their backgrounds and physical descriptions. And a touching story on top of it. Parts of this reminded me of my father, which is to say, the writing rang true. As always, amazing work!

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Thom With An H
16:43 Feb 25, 2023

I was stumped on this one. In an effort to get the creative juices flowing I challenged another writer to give me two characters, names and all, and a basic premise. I did the same in return. It’s amazing how freeing it is when you don’t have to decide between 100 vague ideas and can just sit and write about a specific one. The funny thing is it also showed me how easy it is to come up with a basic concept because I had to do it as well for them. You should give it a try sometime. I highly recommend that too.

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Kristin Neubauer
17:36 Feb 25, 2023

I love that idea - it’s funny, I was thinking along those lines the other week. I keep a running list of characters and settings that could be interesting. I was thinking about putting them on separate little pieces of paper, collecting them in a coffee can or something, shaking it up and picking two….using that as my starting point. I haven’t actually done it yet, but after hearing your thoughts, I may get on it today. Also, btw, I forgot to say how natural your dialogue is. That is hard to achieve but you did it - well, you always do it!

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C B
15:43 Feb 25, 2023

isss gud. i love the smoothness of it and plain language that gives it a nice raw read. chicken buttox :) (which means I appreciate this work lel) Fanstastic dialog work here Mr. Brodkin <33

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Kendra Lindholm
19:59 Feb 24, 2023

This felt so cozy. Its nice to read about a healthy father/daughter relationship despite their family recovering from loss. The dialogue is great! The story came out very clear and I could really picture where they were.

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Laurel Hanson
20:50 Feb 23, 2023

Really enjoyable story. The prompt was a challenge and a lot of fun for the writers I think, but not sure if it resulted in as many readable stories. Yours flows really nicely, develops characters that I was rooting for, and of course, your resolution is just lovely. Great job.

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Wendy Rogers
19:57 Feb 22, 2023

My kids and I read this story, We are loving this site for homeschool writing projects. We loved it. We are trying to work on dialogue, we often get stuck on the "rules" of the dialogue grammar and making it flow together. Your dialogue told the story beautifully, and the way it all wrapped up in the end with the pie was genius. Thanks for the great read!

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Thom With An H
20:37 Feb 22, 2023

How very kind of you. I wrote another story called True Colors which is also all dialogue. If you have a moment give it a look see. It’s mostly between two young boys.

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Wendy Rogers
18:20 Feb 27, 2023

Thank you! We just read it and loved the dialogue and the story!!

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