The story is dialogue no matter what the story may be.

He was on his way to the Oklahoma state line as fast as he could get there.
He was on his way to the Oklahoma state line as fast as he could get there.

THE STORY is the dialogue; the dialogue is the story:

“Are you recording me?”

“No.”

“I thought newspapers did that.”

“Not this one.”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t. Don’t believe in it.”

“Have a story for you.”

“Good. That’s the business we’re in.”

“How will you remember what I tell you?”

“Have a good rememberer.”

“What’s that?”

“Just funnin’ ya. I’ll make notes.”

“Oh. OK.”

“So what’s your story?”

“Two cops. One cattle prod. Me.” (He mentions two law officers, whose names sometimes are in the newspapers.)

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

“Go ahead. I’m all ears.”

“They picked me up. Told me to get into their car. I thought they were taking me to jail.”

“Why did you think that?”

“They’ve done it before.”

“So did they take you to jail?

“Wish they had.”

“Where did they take you?”

“To the middle of nowhere.”

“Where?”

“Out to the other side of Lake Worth. Some place I’ve never been to. Drove me into a pasture, tied me to a tree.”

“Tied you to a tree?

“Dang right.”

“So what happened?”

“They told me they were fed up with my thieving and stealing. Said they were gonna put a stop to it?”

“Then what?”

“That’s when they zapped me with a cattle prod. Zap! Right in the nuts. Damn, that smarted. Burned like Hell.”

“What did you do?”

“Screamed like Hell! What do you think I did? They both had hog legs holstered to their belts. What could I do?” Figured they were gonna shoot me. Kill me. Right there. Strapped to that tree.”

“So did they leave you tied to that tree?”

“They told me to get out of town. If I didn’t, next time they were gonna put that cattle prod someplace I didn’t want it.”

“Where’s that?”

“Don’t wanna even think about it.”

“Then what?”

“One of ‘em pulled his hog leg. The other one untied me, told me to face the tree, count to 5,000 before turning around. They got into their car, drove off. I counted to 5,000, walked back across the pasture to the country road. Hitchhiked to the state highway.”

“Where are you now.”

“At a pay phone. At a 7-11.”

“So where you headed?

“Oklahoma. Back home to Oklahoma. Going home to Oklahoma. They told me to get the Hell out of Texas or they’d put that cattle prod in places I couldn’t imagine. I’m through with thievery, stealing. I’m through with Texas. They made a believer out of me.”

“Looks like it.”

“You gonna print my story?

“Not sure. Gotta talk to my editor. How will I prove it?

“Yeah, I can see that’s a problem.”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks for listening. I’m going back to Oklahoma. Getting out of Texas. Gonna stay out of Texas.”

The story is the dialogue; the dialogue is the story.

Roger Summers is a journalist, essayist and author.

Roger Summer is the author of Heart Songs from a Washboard Road.

Washboard-Road

 

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    “Do you like dialogue?” he asked.
    “I do.”
    “Do you write it?”
    “I do.”
    “Why?”
    “Characters tell a better story than I do.”

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