Sunday, February 27, 2011
So's Your Face
I'm writing something new these days. It's set in a high school in small town Maine, and while I think I can do a good job supplying the characters with dialogue that is realistic for their age group, it has been an unexpected stroke of luck to be living with The Lady-Killer, a boy who's--let's face it--closer to his old high school experiences than me, the girl who, two summers ago, had her ten year reunion.
TLK has a really robust vocabulary--I've often heard him drop words that make his friends scrunch up their noses and say, "Dude, what the fuck does that mean?"--but that robust vocabulary doesn't follow him around everywhere.
He has, after all, been known to answer the question, "What do you want to eat?" with this: "Your butt."
In fact, "your butt" or "my butt" or simply "butt" is an oft-used response in this house.
"What do you want to do tonight?"
"What is that?"
So is it any surprise that I occasionally channel him and some of the phrases I choose for my characters? After I wrote the following exchange I took a step back, looked at it, and realized that there he was, my boy, speaking back at me through my characters:
Joe Geiger, the football team's backup quarterback, leans through the mob crowded onto the large mat to narrow his eyes at Amy. "Don't even think about it," he says. "We have a strategy here. We're, you know, trying to win."
"It's a game, Geiger," Amy says. "It's stupid."
"So's your face," Joe says, then he is swallowed up again by the group of jocks around him.
It also occurs to me that this exchange would please my brother very, very much.