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


Coming of Age Contemporary Drama

“This is Melanie Clayford and the ten o’clock appointment… 

…It’s Monday, the twentieth of January 2019… 

....start time is ten O five am..

…I’m with clients, Joy and Steven Brandell.”

“You’ve forgotten about me.”

“Don’t shout out, Jenny, darling. The lady knows you’re here.”

“Sorry, Mummy.”

“Don’t be sorry, Poppit. Your mother’s a bit tense, that’s all.”

“No, I’m not. It’s important for Jenny to be here, Steven.”

“I know, darling, it was my idea.”

“Thank you, Steven and Joy, that was my fault. I should have---”

“Your idea was it?”

“But, Mummy, you didn’t want to come.”

“That’s why we’re late, of course, Melanie, I must apologise for my wife---”


“That’s not what happened at all, it was you---”


“Mr and Mrs Brandell, if I could just remind you why we’re all here---”

“I’m so sorry Melanie, I had a dreadful night, and I was nervous about---”

“Mrs Brandell, please don’t be---”

“It’s Joy, please call me Joy.”

“Look, Miss Clayflood, if Joy’s not feeling up to it we can always---” 

“Oh, for goodness’ sake, you’ve dragged us here, now you want to go---”

“Woah, let’s all calm down---”

“Listen, Miss Clubfood, I’ve actually got a meeting in two---”

“So this is just for show, is it?”

“But Mummy we were waiting for both of you to get ready and---”

“Don’t take his side, darling.”

“I’m not, but I was ready in time and you two were arguing—”

“Please, everyone, let’s all calm down and---”

“I am relaxed despite the drive here and waiting for her to---“

“Stop it, Daddy!”

“Mr Brendell, let’s all move on and try to be patient.”

“I was being patient, Miss Clayson, it’s her that’s causing the---”

“It’s Clayford, actually.”

“What’s that?”

“You said Clayson, it’s Clayford.”

“Sorry, Miss Clayford, I’m anxious because this is not what I---”

“So you admit that you’re stressed now, do you?”

“Joy, let’s all start again, let’s all---“

“I’m not admitting anything, I just meant---“

“Mr Brendell, can I call you Steven?”

“What? Oh, sure, Steve’s fine, call me Steven or Steve, whatever.”

“He answers to most things, Joy.”

“You see what I have to put up with---”

“So, Steven, please explain what you expect from today?”

“Today? Well, I’ve got a meeting at eleven in town, lunch in the City and a clients’ meet and greet in the afternoon which will probably drift on and---”

“She means say why we’re here, Daddy.”

“Steve’s a busy boy, as you can tell and---”

“Well, someone has to pay for this and it won’t be---”

“Now can see what I have to put up with?”

“Joy and Steven, can you both think about why you’re here and explain what you hope to gain from this meeting?”

“Well, Melanie, I think that Mummy and Daddy came here to---”

“Listen, Mrs Clamfort, I’m parked on a meter and---”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine outside Steven and call me Melanie, please.”

“Really? It’s just that I don’t want a---“

“Daddy gets very stressed about parking fines---”

“Yes, you do, darling, but Melanie says not to worry about---”

“Let’s all please stop talking and pause for a moment. I’d like everyone count to ten.”

“It’s all very well but I’ve-—”

“Thank you, Steven, and three, four—” 

“Shush, darling—”

“We all need to close our eyes and keep counting, and take a long deep breath and slowly release after eight, nine and ten---”


“That’s better. Now let’s---”

“I can’t believe he shut up for ten seconds.”

“Joy, why don’t we start with you---”

“She just can’t resist having a go---”

“Thank you, Steven, let Joy express herself without---.”

“She’s on at me all day long, she never---”

“But you’re hardly ever there, Daddy, how could she---” 

“All the girls together now, is it?”

“Thank you, Steven, give Joy a chance---”

“Not you as well? For Heaven’s sake.”

“You’re paying for this session, Daddy.”

“Fair point.”

“That’ll keep him quiet.”

“Thank you, Joy, if we could all stop and think what we’d like to say, then we can move forward.”

“Fine, whatever you say, Miss Clowfleet.”

“He never goes quiet when I ask him---”

“Thank you, Joy, and please do call me Melanie, Steven.”

“May I have a drink, please, Melanie?”

“Certainly, Jenny and would anybody else like a---”

“Have we got time for this, I mean my car’s on that meter and---“

“It’s not all about you, Steven, if Jenny needs---”

“But we had one just before we set off, surely she doesn’t---“

“It’s so hot in here, Daddy.”

“Can we open a window, Melanie?”

“Of course, err, what would you like to drink, Jenny.”

“Are you going to charge us for this, Melania?”

“It’s on the house, Steven, what would---“

“Oh, in that case, do you have an espresso machine?”

“An espresso? And Joy, can I get you anything?”

“Camomile with one honey and the tea bag left in the pot.”

“Do you have fresh cream or is it freeze-dried powder?”

“I think you’ll enjoy it, Steven, none of my clients have ever---”

“It’s just that if it’s that instant packet variety I’d rather have---”

“Melanie’s not running a restaurant for God’s sake---”

“I know, but once you’ve had the real thing it’s difficult to, well you know.”

“Jenny, what would you like, my dear?”

“Just a glass of water, please.”

“Yes, of course. I’ll let Tracy know now we’ve all decided—”

“Is that tap water or bottled? Jenny’s got a thing about plastic and---”

“I blame the schools, filling their heads full of all that eco-rubbish.”

“We have filtered water, Jenny, it’s chilled in the fridge.”

“Thank you, I’m sure that’s perfect.”

“I mean, how come it takes thousands of years to filter through the Earth but as soon as they bottle it, suddenly it has a sell-by-date?”

“Hmm, all right, so that’s one espresso---”

“With cream.”

“One espresso with cream and a camo---“

“Do you make the tea with filter water or is from the tap?”

“Err, I can find out if---“

“You know that’s a good point, I’d like the espresso made with filter water.”

“I’m sure we do, I can find out for---“

“If it isn’t made with the filter water, I’m not sure that I---” 

“It’s all right everyone, I can check that and everything will be just---”

“I hate to make a scene, it’s just if we’re paying---“

“You’re not causing a fuss, darling.”

“Well, you know, I’m—”

“Not any more than usual---”

“See what I have to put up with, Millenia?”

“That’s nothing, he comes home late and starts---“

“It’s not thousands of years, Daddy.”

“What’s that, Poppit?”

“It takes millions of years to filter through the sedimentary layers.”

“Well, that’s even worse if you think about it---”

“He can’t keep focused, Melanie, jumping from one---“

“You’re the one that gets distracted and goes off---”

“So everyone!”

“No need to shout, Millinia---“

“If everyone’s happy now, I’ll sort your drinks and we can press on with---”

“We booked the introductory half hour and---”

“Tracy, be a love and come and take a drinks order, thank you.”

“Are the meter maids on commission round here?”

“He’s on about the car, just ignore him and he’ll go---“

“You see, Malleny, that’s our issue, isn’t it?”

“We’re trying to move forward here and all you’re thinking about is---“

“Daddy, I think Melanie’s said the car will be okay.”

“I know, I know, it’s just that they’re like vultures nowadays.”

“Thank you, Tracy, that’ll be an espresso with cream for Mr Brandell---”

“Made with your filtered water and the same for the camomile too.”

“We can make the drinks with the filtered water, can’t we?”

“May I have a glass of water, please?”

“So, that’s an espresso with cream---”

“Two sugars, do you have Muscovado? Brown will be fine if not.”

“I’d like a pot of camomile with honey made with the filtered---“

“I just explained that---”

“And please don’t forget to leave the bag in the pot and—”

“Thank you, Tracy. I’m so glad you could all come here today because---”

“You must meet some strange families in this line of work, Molonia?”

“Everybody likes to think they’re normal but honestly I see---”

“I’m sure they do, I mean how on Earth---”

“There’s nothing strange about us we’re---”

“Of course not, now let’s get back to moving forward, what do---”

“It’s all about, Jenny.”

“You tell, her Poppit.”

“The school said I had an eating disorder because I---”

“We both had to see the head, and that’s why we’re here today.”

“You poor girl when did this---”

“It’s been a couple of years, hasn’t it, Poppit?”

“I got a call from the school five weeks ago because she’d been sick.”

“I got caught by the Miss Kendall one lunchtime, in the toilets.”

“Joy had to collect Jenny from school and they discussed it.”

“But lots of my friends are doing it too.”

“Have you all sat down as a family and talked about it?”

“You’re joking, we hardly get a free moment to do anything.”

“Do you make time to have a meal together, perhaps?”

“Steve’s always late or Jenny’s got homework and soccer club and---”

“We used to sit down for a Sunday roast when she was smaller.”

“On the low table’s fine, Tracy. That’s lovely.”

“God, I need this. Look, Poppit, you’ve got condensation on your glass.”

“Did, Tracy remember the honey, Melanie?”

“It’s in a sachet on your saucer, Mummy.”

“How are your drinks everyone?

“I see you’re not having one, Melanie.”

“No, I’m good.”

“Mine’s nice and cold, thank you.”

“Is there any history of eating issues in the family?”

“Only the usual things, I suppose.”

“She’s always on some sort of diet.”

“I like to look after my figure, like most normal people.”

“When she goes on a diet, we’re all put on it.”

“It makes sense to cook one meal for everyone and you get more on your plate, that’s all.”

“You mean, it’s easier to slop out the same thing for everyone, darling.”

“Well, if you were on a diet and cooking, I’d support you.”

“Yeah, but we’ve done the veggie thing, the vegan whatchamacallit, high fibre this and the low carb that and Lord knows what else.”

“I don’t see the problem with that, it’s nice to have variety.”

“Why can’t we have normal food like everybody else and you eat less?”

“That’s not the same, is it?”

“I can’t see the difference.”

“I don’t know why I bother.”

“There’s a difference between bothering and being a bother.”

“Steven, that very wasn’t helpful, Joy has a right to---“

 “Mummy, I’ve got a---”

“Give me a break, Miss Clayforth, I’ve had years of this---”

“Mr Brendell, please stop and listen to your daughter now.”

“Mummy, this is giving me a headache.”

“Have you changed the filter recently, Millanie?”

“I read somewhere that a dirty filter can be worse than tap water.”

“Crikey, is that the time already, Joy?”

“No, the water’s fine, Mummy. I just feel tired and my head’s sore.”

“You know what, guys I—” 

“We’re gonna have to move it or I’ll get a ticket.”

“Well, I think we’ve all learned a lot today.”

“Steve’s so busy every day, I’m sorry.”

“I can pencil you in for a second session in eight days---”

“I’ll speak to him when we---”

“We’ll call you when we get home, yeah?”

“It was lovely to meet you all.”

“Thank you for listening to me, Melanie.”

“Promise me, you’ll take care of yourself, Jenny.”

“I promise.”

“I’ve got your scarf, darling, follow your father.”

“Please call me if you need to talk.”

“Come on! I haven’t got all day---”

“We’re coming, we’re coming---”

“Let me know what you decide, guys.”

“That was an expensive coffee---”

“Well, it was your idea, darling.”

“..Brandell family meeting finished early..

...departure time is ten twenty-five...

Tracy!... Tracy, can you transcribe this for my records and print a hard copy?”

The End

January 16, 2021 02:17

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Kanden Lang
18:36 Jan 23, 2021

Well, that was a rollercoaster! I feel so bad for little Jenny and Melanie :(


Howard Halsall
00:16 Jan 24, 2021

Hello Kanden, thank you for taking the time to read my story, I hope you enjoyed it... :)


Kanden Lang
08:05 Jan 24, 2021

I did! :)


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