The All-Shtar

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

2 comments

Drama Teens & Young Adult

“Sally was perfect, and shince she was perfect, she couldn’t be anything lesh.”

“You’re over-correcting Toby. Remember, go slowly. You get the shh sound by bringing your tongue back and the ss sound by bringing it forward. Let’s try the sentence one more time.”

“Okay, Sally was perfect and… since… she was perfect, she couldn’t be anything less. Better?”

“Much better. So, now that the exercises are done, let’s just talk and I’ll see what else we can work on before we finish for the day.”

“Shure-sure, what is new with you?”

“Well, my sister just got proposed to, and I need to go celebrate with her.”

“That’s amazing.”

“Yeah. It should be a good time. What about you, Toby? Any exciting news?”

“Uh… yeah. I made varsh… varsity in baseball.”

“Congratulations! Were you the only freshman?”

“There was one other who was on the fence, but even if he slides up, he likely won’t be starting.”

“So, you’re kind of the all-star of the group?”

“Ah, I wouldn’t say that. I’ve got a lot to work on like my sort game.”

“Shh.”

“Short game.”

“Perfect. So, how does it feel?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I’m still getting used to it.”

“A lot of pressure?”

“Kind of, but at the same time, coach ch-chose me because he thinks I did the best. As long as I keep doing my best, they sould be getting what I promised them.”

“Makes sense. Well, once again, congratulations. Are you doing anything to celebrate?”

“My family is taking me out to dinner and then my friends will likely be doing something after practice Monday.”

“That’s terrific. By the way, I don’t suppose that you’ve been asking for feedback from any of them?”

“Nah, I don’t wanna bother them.”

“Fair, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind. Just remember, it has helped a lot of the other patients in speech therapy, and you could see how you’re doing outside of our sessions.”

“I’m sure I’m doing fine. After all, I got by for my first thirteen years without any help. If things get bad, I know how to avoid the bad sounds.”

“True but that’s not exactly where we want to be at.”

“Yeah, but ya know what I mean. I will do the exercises on my own since that has worked out so far, and there’s no need to involve anyone else.”

“Very well, it is your decision how you go about this. I guess, I’ll see you next week.”

“Yup.”

“Have a great rest of your Saturday.”

“You too. Thanks a ton.”

“Goodbye.”

“See ya… Actually, I just realized there’s something we do need to talk about.”

“So much for goodbye.”

“Yeah, I just had one of those lightbulb moments as I stepped out the door.”

“Well, better now than while driving home. What is it?”

“Uh, well. Just then, when I was exiting into the lobby, it clicked for me.”

“We established that. What did you want to talk about?”

“Uh, I forgot. Can we retrace our conversation until I remember?”

“Uh, sure, but can we do it as I move stuff back to my office.”

“Th… through the lobby? Actually, I do remember. You said your sister is engaged. When’s the wedding?”

“June.”

“When in June?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you know about the wedding?”

“I purposely stay away from wedding planning after the fiasco with my own. I am not going through that stress again… Was that the question you wanted to ask?”

“I’m getting to it.”

“Okay.”

“But first, could you remind me what exercises I have to do?”

“Okay, I’m usually advised not to be confrontational, but you’ve never forgotten an exercise.”

“It just slipped my mind.”

“Are you stalling?”

“S-stalling?”

“Yeah. Is there something you’re avoiding, something in the lobby?”

“That’s dumb.”

“Then let’s go out there.”

“And what would that prove?”

“Me wrong.”

“Although tempting, I would like to keep your dignity intact.”

“How noble. You are truly a gentlemen, but not that good at stalling… Are you hiding from that girl?”

“Girl?”

“The one in the lobby waiting for her appointment.”

“No. I’m like the coolest guy in school. If anything, she’d be nervous around me.”

“Well, we have nothing to worry about then.”

“But why the rush.”

“Okay, yeah, we’re going in circles. Toby, you know I’m not going to discuss anything I hear from you with anyone else. If you have a reason for avoiding her, please tell me.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Well, I know you’re lying, but I don’t want to put you in a potentially harmful situation, so lets just stay in here. Do me a favor though and drop the act.”

“Uh, okay.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Just a bad breakup.”

“How long ago?”

“Uh… three weeks.”

“Three weeks?”

“Yeah.”

“You have a knack for lying, don’t you?”

“What makes you think I’m lying?”

“I have a vivid memory of our conversations, and I’m pretty sure last month you and your friends had a singles night.”

“You… you rememmer that?

“Unfortunately for you.”

“Yeah.”

“Can I make a suggestion?”

“Sure.”

“Well, it’s clear there’s a reason you don’t want to go out there, and any explanation you give is likely going to be a lie. So, if it’s alright with you, I would like to take a quick shot in the dark, and if you want me to stop, just say so.”

“Wh… why would I want you to stop?”

“I’m just letting you know. Anyway, you’ve been coming here for over a year, but you’ve never included friends in the exercises or implied that you mentioned this to them. Could it be that you’re hiding this from them?”

“H-h-hiding?”

“I’m sorry if I’m mistaken.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, but if you want, you can continue.”

“Well, if I were to continue on that line of thought, you’re hiding this because you’re embarrassed of being here.”

“Em…embarrassed?”

“You’re an all-star for the baseball team as well as a respected member amongst your friends, and you don’t want to open this part of yourself up to them.”

“This part of myself.”

“The part of you that needs help. The part of you that isn’t an all-star… Once again, sorry if I’m mistaken.”

“…. I… never mind... continue”

“Are you okay?”

“I… I… I don’t know. Is… have… you always suspected that?”

“No, but it was something that amassed overtime.”

“I see…”

“Are you okay?”

“Ye… yeah.”

“Would you like to talk about it?”

“It’d be better if we just hide in here. She’ll be gone soon.”

“Would you at least tell me your relationship with her?”

“I don’t have a relationship with her. She’s just a girl in my gym class. I barely know her name.”

“And you’re worried she’ll spread the word.”

“Yeah.”

“That makes sense, but if you don’t mind me pointing this out, if she’s here, it means she has to work on speech.”

“That doesn’t matter, and I don’t want to be like her.”

“What’s wrong with being like her?”

“Se’s-She’s… normal. She’s just like everyone else.”

“And you don’t want to be like them?”

“I… it’s not like that… I… just… I’m me, and I don’t want to be another face.”

“Why do you believe that revealing this part of you will cause you to turn into just another face?”

“Be… because I’m me. I’m the all-shtar baseball player. I’m the one who’ll maybe make something of myself.”

“And you’re worried that this will shatter that image?”

“I’m the guy who solves problems. When my friends need someone to spruce up their car or when my team needs a home run, I’m the guy who helps them. If… if they knew I was just some guy who happened to be good at a few select things, then how can I be…”

“Be someone they can look up to. How can they still view you the same way?”

“Yeah. I… I don’t to be some random guy they know. I want to be the guy. Someone who makes them happy whenever he’s around and doesn’t cause them any hardships. Someone they can admire.”

“You want to be the perfect person.”

“It sounds selfish, but that’s who I am to them… or at least, t’s what I want to be to them.”

“That’s very noble of you, but if they care about you, do you think they want you to put yourself through this.”

“They won’t know, and that’s why this works.”

“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. However, I can understand the desire to be seen in a positive light, and it is very impressive you’ve managed to achieve that. Nevertheless, a perfect life doesn’t have to mean that you never have problems. Its human nature to have problems, and one look at history will tell you that the true people who are remembered are those who worked to overcome their problems.”

“But those problems are caused by outside force, not by their own inability to speak. How the heck are they supposed to view me when I can’t do something people literally learn by kindergarten?”

“Probably pretty well. I’m not going to lie and say that you’re good at speaking, but even with that weakness, you’re surprisingly well adjusted and accomplished. Perhaps, if you would allow me to make a suggestion, don’t view yourself as a perfect person. View yourself as a flawed person who’s perfect.”

“I… what?”

“You can hide this, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to hide the other problems life throws your way. Instead, you could try embracing the problems, and let people see you overcome them. Take our speech therapy for example. You say acknowledging help is bad, but if you present it as utilizing resources available to you, it once again becomes a situation of you solving it yourself. Your friends and coaches care about you like you care about them. If you take control of the context which they view your problems, you change how they view it. If you walk up to one of them and ask them to help you get better at this thing, do you think they’ll believe it’s out of your hands?”

“I guess not… if I frame it like that. So, if I take control of my problems, then I can make them appear however I like?”

“For most of them, yes. Another example: think of a student asking a question in class. In that example, the student is admitting to not knowing something, but usually it’s framed as them concentrating or trying to learn instead of something negative.”

“Hehe, yah. I guess, that’s true… Thank you, Mrs. Thorpe.”

“Anytime Toby. Would you like to keep talking?”

“We can continue this next week. I’m sorry for taking all that time.”

“It was my pleasure.”

“Mine too. Well, have a great rest of your weekend… Hey, Caroline!”

“Toby! Wh… what are you doing here?”

“Eh, I go here.”

“I… I… uh… I just didn’t.”

“Think I’d do something like this? That’s dumb. This place is awesome and has really improved my karaoke game. This your first time here?”

“Ye… yeah.”

“Cool, well I hope you enjoy it. I know I do.”

January 12, 2021 12:21

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2 comments

Waverley Stark
18:50 Jan 26, 2021

I liked the idea behind this, teaching a child. The dialogue really added to it.

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B Easton
15:39 Jan 29, 2021

Thank you, I'm so glad that you liked it and the idea behind it.

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