Thursday, July 19, 2018

Don't Annoy a Writer in the Airport

By Ronda Simmons

One of the greatest things about being a writer is revenge. You know what I’m talking about. That annoying in-law, that crabby neighbor, those mean girls from junior high. They tremble in fear that they may have angered The Writer and may someday find themselves dead. In a story. As a thinly or thickly disguised character.

Candidates for fictional mayhem are everywhere. Family reunions, grocery stores, youth athletics, etc. Look for the worst humans and use them in your writing. Give them the kind of treatment that you wish you could give them in the real world. I have found that fellow travelers are some of the worst, which means for my work in progress, literature gold.

While waiting for a delayed flight, I hit the jackpot. A random guy in an airport dressed like a preppie from the nineties, only with unsuccessful Brad Pitt hair. (Note: only Brad Pitt can pull off Brad Pitt hair. Don't attempt.)

There can be only one.

He wasn't the kind of guy I would notice, but I did when a water bottle attached to his backpack came loose, spilling water all over the floor. He reattached said bottle and continued his way, leaving behind a large puddle. 

I assumed by the speed of his departure that he was either getting paper towels to clean up his mess or that he would inform someone at the airport of the dangerous situation that he had caused.


He turned a corner and was gone. In my not-so-stellar quest to be a better person I decided that he must have been late for a flight, so I found an airport employee, reported the incident and the spill was cleaned up efficiently by a smiling young man whose language I did not speak, but whose cheerful attitude brightened my day.

Hours later when I lined up at my gate to board, the water spiller was standing just ahead of me. This guy was speaking loudly to another passenger about whether the legal marijuana in Colorado would be as potent as the contraband back home. Nice. 

I quickly snapped a couple of images of him on the sly. And then spent much of the first hour of the flight writing down details about him such as how he flicked his hair back when he talked, how he laughed, etc.

I wanted to include my photos of the Dudebro in this post, but the lawyers at the Writing Bug wouldn’t allow it. Something about privacy laws. JC Lynne was generous to give me an increase in production costs, and I hired a professional sketch artist to do this mockup. 

Artist's Rendition

And just like that, the flight delay was worth it. I found my new victim. I get to kill him. Slowly. Painfully. Fictionally. I'll change any identifying details, but I'll know exactly who he is.

Tread carefully, mortals.


Deborah Nielsen said...

There are fates worth than death. I'd give him one of those. Heh heh.

I like to eavesdrop on conversations at nearby tables in restaurants. Once in awhile I can get a good story idea, or just be thoroughly entertained. It's also a good way to listen to the way people talk (for writing dialogue purposes). I disguise my eavesdropping by acting like I'm reading. More often the book or magazine is more interesting than eavesdropping. So beware of the lone diner with her nose in a book.

Ronda Simmons said...

You are absolutely right, Deborah. Killing might be too good for him. Like, maybe the only job he can get is to clean the bathrooms at Chuck E. Cheese!

You’re right about eavesdropping. I find that the louder the bragger, the less reason for that individual to brag. Great stuff for character development.

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