Dialogue Exercise

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Post  Admin on Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:47 am

The Worst Sort of Bike

"You know they've got a fixee in the go bikes now, right?" As he sat down his plate, settling in beside me.

"Hrm?" Mumbled his companion, sitting across from his friend with his food.

"A fixee. That's got to be the stupidest thing ever invented. Why would you modify a bike to remove the breaks?" He asked rhetorically, incredulous as he began wolfing down a waffle.

"Well gee, I dunno, it probably wouldn't be so bad around here..." came meekly tossed over the table.

"Eh, I guess, but it would still suck with these hills. And I mean, think of the places they're popular. Driving around San Francisco with no breaks is just stupid. I heard of one guy who broke his chain going down one of those hills. Couldn't stop. Just had to bail off his bike onto the side of the road. And how did he fix it? He builds in a second chain on his next design. On the other side. As a backup. Why would this sucker not just build a set of hand brakes?" He shook his head and set away on his hashbrowns.

"Ah, yeah. That happened to a friend of mine, too. Luckily he was going up a hill, though. He was able to just stop and pull it aside." Feet shuffled under the table, seemingly from him, though I couldn't be sure.

"Fixees are really a terrible idea." He repeated, mouth still half full of food. "Brakes aren't so hard to build in, and it's an awful lot of work to remove if you're doing it just for the style."

"I'm building a bike you know" His friend said, a little louder, stronger than his previous statements.

"Oh? You've got the parts?" A hint of surprise crept into his voice. He seemed confused he didn't know about this already.

"Well, just the frame stuff really. I've got all the stuff for it in my room, though," He added quietly, "if I build a fixee."

"A fixee? You goddamned hipster! Take the extra effort and build a proper machine!" A quiet rage bubbled in his voice, condescending and frightful though not particularly loud.

"Well I mean, I might. If the frame comes out real nice I might spring for more parts, build it up. But if it doesn't I don't really want to put a lot into it.." He was hesitant, not sure how to justify his choice

"Be proud of your work and make it worth building." No sympathy, frustrated. "How are you building the frame, anyway?"

"Well I dunno. Maybe welding, maybe using a press with the tubing..."

"A press?" Disbelief.

He began to ramble, explaining the process "Well yeah use the press to insert the tubes and coat them with something with a low melting point, it works well with-"

"That sounds extremely insecure." He cut off his friend, dismissing the idea. "You ought to weld it."

Another man sat down. "Explosion weld it?" He let his plate clatter down and grinned.

Both the original table occupants and myself gazed over at him, confused.

"Explosion welding?" Asked the fixee foe, his eyebrow arched in confusion.

"Yeah." Said the newcomer lightheartedly. "Basically you make something explode near what you want to weld and use the heat of the explosion to work the two. Great for dissimilar metals."

Both of the others looked at him, dazzled.

"We don't have facilities for that here, do we?" Asked the bike builder. He leaned closer, seemingly intrigued, if only to try it to say he had.

"Technically..." The newest member of our table trailed off, thinking. "Well, there's always Parcel B.." A quirky grin settled across his face.

With mingled laughter the other two stood, picking up cleared plates, their their disagreement on bike styles forgotten under a mutual love for explosions.


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Post  MaryShelley on Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:51 am

I think this is an outstanding dialogue! Orchestrated w real grace. characters emerge, I actually feel engaged by the conversation, and the scene possesses shape, you close it neatly. Fluid and natural, surprising for such a long conversation.


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Post  Patrick Varin on Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:55 am

Well done! I don't know if I have many suggestions. I like that you had the ability to uniquely identify each speaker without naming them. I got a sense for the attitudes of the characters in a very short time, but I couldn't picture them in my mind so a bit of visual description to accompany the dialogue would have nice. It ends pretty abruptly, but I can sympathize with that.

Patrick Varin

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Post  KenInGA on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:02 pm

I especially enjoy the twist of the "explosion welding." Excellent job with this. My only comment: it's BRAKES! You can break your brakes, but you can't brake your breaks.


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Post  cbehling on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:06 pm

This is good. I'm still a little confused about how many people were involved. I think its 4? There's a random voice that pops up at one point i think. That's really the only thing i have to add... This is very good. I can see the friendly argument going on in my mind. The people are fairly well defined, and the argument is clear. I especially like the ending. Those friendly arguments do truly seem to end in the best of ways, and you captured that beautifully.


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