Indie Author Answers #43: On the Nose Dialogue

When is your dialogue too on the nose? When to layer it with subtext? Listen to find out!

 

19: Alex

 

“What they don’t tell you about,” Alex said, gesturing the credit card in his hand at the people sitting around the table, “is that the owner of the buildings took out a large insurance policy just a few weeks before the whole thing happened. He made a gigantic fucking payday off building one, two, and seven burning to the ground. Everything you watch on the news– all that media coverage– is all about the heroes at Ground Zero, and it’s all designed to make you feel sad and patriotic and forget about all the whopping inconsistencies in the story. And you also might not have heard that United and American, the two airlines who had planes involved, had big-ass stock dumps just days before 9/11. If no one knew about it beforehand, why was that stock dumped? Who’s making money off all these people dying?”

Alex took a break from his speech and returned to carving up the lines of cocaine on the table at Dave’s house, as Wiles and a few other friends awaited their turn. Alex made no attempt to hurry. He had just started to peak on the two additional tabs of acid he dropped on the drive over, and the process of arranging the gritty white particles amused him. He split the one big pile into two smaller piles, then each into two more piles, then straightened each pile into a line. He then lengthened each line by drawing the credit card through it and straightening that, and then he pushed them all back together into a single pile, and repeated the process. He had been at this for about five minutes. Each time Alex cut a line, it changed color from white to a beige, or brown, or green, and the whole evolution entranced him. Acid gave the world its flavor.

“And the biggest question that no one can seem to explain, is if the buildings were supposed to be able to handle the impact of a passenger airplane, then why did a plane hitting them cause them to fall? And how in the fuck did it make building seven fall? No plane hit that building.”

“Are you almost done there with your masterpiece, or what?” said Wiles, waving a hand at the coke.

Alex picked up the piece of drinking straw on the table and handed it to Wiles, whose face transformed into a blur. This did not strike Alex as unusual. “Be my guest.” Then, in general, to the table he said, “did Wiles tell you guys about the dude who was talking shit to him the other day?”

Wiles snorted the line, and then gave the straw back. “This was hilarious,” he said. “Check this shit out.”

“Me and Wiles were coming out of Deli Zone on the Hill, right? And Wiles was out in front of me, when this dude, just some random dude, bumps into him, and starts getting up in his face.”

“Well,” said Wiles, “he wasn’t random. I know the guy, and he’s a little bitch.”

“Anyway,” Alex continued, “he’s all talking shit, so I walk right up behind this dude, right? He doesn’t even know I’m there. I say ‘you can’t talk to my boy like that,’ and I’ve got this massive Sharpie in my pocket. I stick the Sharpie up in his back, and the guy thinks it’s a gun or something, because he just flips out.”

Alex snorted up a lengthy line of coke and stood up to demonstrate the next part. The room had turned into a shifting carnival of shadows, but he tried to ignore his hallucinations so he could finish the story. He grabbed his own butt. “He yells out ‘oh, shit,’ then the guy grabs his ass, and then a second later, I smell it!”

Everyone around the table had a laugh, and Alex gawked at them. Their snickering and chuckling amplified, until the comical sounds of their laughter became like donkeys braying. Alex’s glee turned into disgust.

What am I doing here with a bunch of donkeys? Where am I?

Wiles, however, did not laugh. He pointed at Alex. “Hey, you should take a look at that.”

A wetness appeared under his nose, and then Alex touched his finger to it, which came away bloody. He looked down at his shirt and a line of blood streaked down the middle. The blood, though, was not red, instead blue, or maybe orange… it kept changing. The anesthetic effect of the cocaine had relaxed his throat muscles, and he forced himself to swallow. “Oh, fuck,” he said as he passed the straw to the next person at the table. He stumbled backwards, and down the blurry hallway towards the bathroom.

 

 

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