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Contemporary Drama Fiction

“You’re late. I can’t believe you’re late again. Why am I not surprised?”

“What the big deal? She’s not even ready for us. She’s still with the appointment ahead of us.”

“You were late last time.”

“Yes, I’m late--again. We do need to cover the cost of these sessions. Not to mention everything else we spend money on. I can’t believe we’re arguing over this!”

“I know this is expensive, I understand that. But if this relationship were important to you, if I were important to you, I’d think you’d try to arrive on time.”

“I do the best I can. Can you ever give me a break?”

“Is that what you want, a break? Well, wouldn’t we all like a break occasionally?”

“Why do you have to be sarcastic? I’m not talking about everyone. I’m referring to your endless sarcasm. I’m asking you to back the hell off.”

“What are we even doing here? Is this even helping or are we kidding ourselves?”

“I don’t know. This is work. Change is work. It takes motivation. From both of us.”

“Are you saying I’m not motivated? That I don’t do the work? I’m trying my best. I have as many demands on my time as you do.”

“No … that’s not what I’m saying. I know you’re busy. Maybe I’m not motivated. Or maybe I’m just tired. I’m so tired all the time.”

 “So am I. There are only so many hours in the day. I’m always running against the clock. I had to skip lunch to get here on time. I was lucky to find a granola bar in a desk drawer. That’s all I’ve had to eat since breakfast and that was hours ago. And then you’re late.”

“Skip lunch? I can’t remember the last time I took lunch. I flew out of a team meeting and still couldn’t get here on time. But do you care? No. You don’t even ask.”

“You had a team meeting? Was it important?”

“It was important. Or I would have tried to sneak out early.”

“What’s going on?”

“The company may close our office. We’re not as ‘productive’ as corporate would like for a regional office. If we can’t ramp it up, we’re history.”

“How can they say your team is not productive? You work so hard, all of you do! Your team makes every goal.”

“Yes, and then they move the line every quarter--at least five percent. It’s becoming impossible to meet their expectations.”

“That really sucks. And I can’t believe the timing. I don’t exactly feel secure in my position right now.”

“You’re a department head with your company. How can your job not be secure? You’ve been a vested employee for years.”

“As the saying goes, ‘the further up the ladder, the more you cover your tail.’ There are a couple of hot shots in the division just waiting for me to screw up. I feel them watching like vultures. What the hell is so funny? Why would you laugh about that?”

“Do you hear yourself? You just described to a tee how we were, twenty years ago. And you don’t even realize it.”

“So, we were vultures? That’s how you saw us? After all these years I’m just now finding out what a low opinion you had of us.”

“You just referred to your own colleagues as vultures! I’m just pointing out that what goes around comes around. That’s all.”

“It’s so like you to point out that you see the big picture, as if you’re so much more cosmic than I am. I’m about ready to walk right out of here!”

“Then why don’t you? What’s stopping you? You don’t want to be here. Honestly, I don’t think you give a shit. You missed lunch remember?”

“I chose to miss lunch because I wanted to be here. I wanted to be here on time. Because I think it’s important. I try, at least. I can tell myself I’m trying even if you don’t believe it.”

“You tell me that when we were starting out with all our aspirations and energy, all our shared goals for the future, that you saw us as vultures. That makes me sad. I’m so insulted.”           

“Wait, you were the one who used the word ‘vultures.’ I wasn’t trying to insult you or our past selves. It was a different time. We were different. The focus has changed. Even you must see that.”

“No, sorry but I don’t see that. My focus hasn’t changed. Everything I do is for us, for our family.” 

“So, what am I working for? What’s my focus? Me? That’s rich.”

“I didn’t say that. I’m speaking for myself only. My focus hasn’t changed. I would never tell you what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling. But I don’t think your focus is drastically different than it was years ago. We are both different people now, in so many ways, but change is inevitable. Why can’t that be a good thing?”

“Change isn’t good or bad. How we respond to change is what makes for a good or bad result. If I’ve learned anything by coming here, I’ve learned that. And I believe it.”

“I can’t say I disagree.”

“Do you want to disagree?”

“That’s not what I meant. Maybe I need to respond more positively. It would certainly be healthier.”

“You’re detail-oriented, that’s all. Maybe if I was deeper into the details, I wouldn’t be chasing my tail all the time. Maybe I could even be on time meeting you here.”

“It sounds like they’re wrapping it up in there. She’ll be ready for us in a few minutes. Maybe we could try to be civil. We should try, considering the time, the expense, the interruption in our afternoons.”

“Fine, you’re right. And we should stop for food after. We haven’t been to the market so there’s nothing to eat at home. What sounds good to you?”

“Let’s get Thai or maybe Vietnamese. Sound okay to you?”

“That sounds great. At least we can agree on that.”

July 07, 2022 20:34

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8 comments

Hope Linter
21:03 Jul 08, 2022

This is super. The characters were so clear in their dialogue that attributions and descriptions weren't missed. Well done!

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Susanne Perry
18:04 Jul 10, 2022

Thank you. I appreciate the feedback. I look forward to reading more of your writing too.

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Jody S
19:26 Apr 20, 2023

I know this is an older post, so forgive me coming to the table so late. Still getting my feet and eyes acclimated to the site and the navigation function is not intuitive for me. I like the way you developed this story with all dialogue--very cool way to manage the story. Great pacing. There are a few places where I thought the dialogue could have been a little less formal...like: "That makes me sad. I’m so insulted.” could be "You not only make me sad, but you insult me." (since this is an story of accusation). --"Maybe I ...

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Susanne Perry
20:40 Jun 11, 2023

Thank you. I appreciate your comments!

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K.J. Dyer
18:51 Jul 14, 2022

Very interesting one act play. Seems more like a script than a short story, but I enjoyed see how writing without out environmental input could be fun. I will have to give this type of writing style a try. After all, I talk to myself enough all day to fill up a short story. No, you don't. Shh. Yes, I do.

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Susanne Perry
03:31 Jul 15, 2022

Thanks! It was fun to write--all action ;-)

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BA Eubank
17:27 Jul 10, 2022

Very good description of a couple struggling, trying to make things better in counseling. Great dialog between them.

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Susanne Perry
18:06 Jul 10, 2022

Thanks! I considered making it longer but decided against it.

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