Here is a dialogue exercise I wrote last night. Enjoy!
“I’m special because I know I’m special, and I’m tired of you telling me I not.”
“Get away from that door Marlene! Give me that wallet—” Jeremiah lunged at Marlene.
“Don’t you hurt me—stop!”
He pinned her elbows to her sides.
Her lacquered lips spat raspberry-lime in his face. He loosened his hold. “I’m not hurting you … quiet. quiet.”
Marlene flung her dark braids back and squeezed her face so the skin around her eyes went a pale brown; she sobbed.
“Shhh! Hush.” He held out his arms then quickly replaced them, gently, on her shoulders. “There. Okay now? I’ve let go now, see?” But Marlene wailed on, unaware of her father’s plea.
‘If she is not relentless,’ Jeremiah thought, ‘she would not be her mother’s daughter.'
“Enough. Mar-lene the neighbors are going to call to police darling. Hush now.”
“I hope they do! I hope they come and see you and — and this!” She waved a cream pocket purse at the stairs and then all the house. “What you’re subject-tuh-ifying to your minor daughter.”
“Oh don’t start with that. Here—” he stepped back a step.
“I’m going to leave now.”
“Marlene will you just give me a moment? A damn minute—to help you?”
“You don’t care about me daddy, don’t pretend to care about me.”
“You’re my first born child, you’re my baby girl, I love you mo—”
“You didn’t care when mom was alive, and you don’t now. Except now you can’t drink so you’re more of a jerk.” She wouldn’t let him confess a thing. He pinched the fat bore’s curls on his pocked chin. “A jerk? You really think your daddy’s a jerk?”
“Why else would you be actively trying to ruin everything in my life? Oh, Marlene wants to learn guitar because Mom always said she wanted to—nope! Oh wait, how about: I like writing songs, maybe I can write some poetry, express my life with something, but when I actually need to get the things I need for it, like a ‘laptop’ you tell me that we can’t spend money on a hobby? Yes. A jerk. And a damned fool who don’t care nothing about me or what I feel, or even how I try to make it better!”
They both stared at the waxed wood floor; both shook their head.
“I didn’t have to do this you know?”
“What? Let me stay in my own house? I’m seventeen!” She crossed her arms and plastic rainbow bracelets clinked together.
“Your mother and you had a deal. It’s what she would want.”
Clomp. sccrrrch. clomp—clomp. Marlene banged down the cement steps, through the lawn. She wore pink slippers with plumb puffs on the toes. She held up a final defiant middle finger and slammed herself away in the ancient black Beetle. It cackled to life, trembled, and popped as it turned and drove out of the cul-de-sac.