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W203 Sixth Assignment

This week the prompt was entitled, "Speaking and Moving." Here it is...

Write a scene in which two characters are involved in doing something – stage business – such as repairing something, painting a room, doing the dishes, giving someone a hair cut. The scene should be primarily dialogue mixed with some description of the action the two are engaged in. The dialogue should have some tension, perhaps one character is trying to get something from the other or has a secret that they want to confess but can’t find the right way to do it. Explore how various activities and settings can change what happens in a scene. For example, what happens when characters are planning their honeymoon while they are painting an apartment or while one of them is cutting the other’s hair? Concentrate on interweaving dialogue with body language.

While tempting, I picked something a little more daring than haircuts. Here is my story.

It had only been a short while since they started working together, but anyone with eyes would’ve sworn they were brothers. They were known to pretend as such, hassling new stewards and stewardesses in the airport bars before flights. Brown, immaculately coiffed hair sat atop both their heads, each with a set of brown eyes so pure you’d get lost for days if you weren’t careful about how you looked at them. Perfectly horizontal wing pins pierced the lapels of their lintless suits that seemed custom fitted for each man’s physique.

Every day Ryan would be waiting on Kyle as he strolled in for flight check with another excuse. It had become a routine.

“What’ll it be this time?” Ryan asked.

“Be happy I’m even dressed today,” Kyle said. “My friend Amy had a birthday party last night and I woke up hour ago with my hand in Pen’s fishbowl.”

“Ouch. You’re in for a long day, my friend. We got a layover in Phoenix before we even take off for L.A.

“Let’s just get this over with.”

Ryan had always known, the part he couldn’t figure out was why Kyle never confided in him. The way he carried his bag; the way he sauntered up the on-ramp; the way his hand caressed his hip as they greeted passengers. It’s not that Ryan had a problem with it. The problem, as he saw it, was that his best friend didn’t care enough to tell him something so personal. That was going to change today.

The morning hours passed in a hurry and before Ryan was even completely sure this was the right thing to do, there they were, imprisoned between the flight panel and first class. Ryan didn’t remember takeoff or making the pre-flight announcements, all he could think about was how to not sound like a fool when he broached the subject.

“So that guy in the brown blazer was pretty handsome, wouldn’t you say?” Ryan asked.

He immediately bit his lip and turned away.

“Excuse me?” Kyle replied.

“I’m just saying. I thought he was pretty handsome.”

“Well, don’t be shy. Tell him how you feel.”

Ryan wiped his hands on his knees and re-gripped the yoke.

“Look, I know, okay? And I don’t care.”

“Know what?”

“I know that thing you haven’t told me about yet.”

Kyle scrunched his face and mouthed the words to himself. He looked like a first grader trying to calculate a logarithm.

“How many did you have before we took off?” Kyle asked.

“You can stop being coy,” Ryan said. “I know what’s going on.”

“Please enlighten me, Ryan, because I have no idea what’s going on.”

“You’re gay. You’re gay and I don’t care, I just wish you would have told me.”


Kyle threw his hands in the hair, for an instant neglecting the yoke and the plane dipped quickly yet violently. When he regained control he continued his protest.

“How could you think I’m gay?!”

“You don’t have to be ashamed. It’s not a big deal.”

“It’s a big deal to me because I’m not gay!”

“Just stop, alright? I’m around you a lot, I’ve seen your mannerisms, I know and I don’t have a problem with it.”

“My mannerisms?! What’s gay about my mannerisms?!”

“You know...The way you carry your bag. The way you walk. I just picked up on it. All I want to know is why you felt the need to hide it from me.”

Kyle’s head darted back and forth as if searching for an answer.

“First off, I’m not hiding anything from you because I’m not gay. I repeat - I am not gay. Second, my bag is heavy and it’s got that funny strap on it, I don’t know how else to hold it. And what exactly about my walk is effeminate?!”

“Are you screwing with me or are you really not gay?”

“I’m not gay, Ryan! Geez! I can’t believe my best friend thinks I’m gay!”

Ryan scratched his head and breathed out loud through his nose.

“Well, I don’t know what to say. I guess I’m sorry.”

“You guess?! You guess you’re sorry?!”

“Hey look, it was an honest mistake. I mean even if you were gay it wouldn’t be the end of the world.”

Kyle scoffed at the suggestion and shook his head.

“Hell, it may as well be. Lord knows there’s no place in Heaven for a faggot.”

Ryan opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out; his mouth was just as shocked as his ears. The plane landed in Phoenix, refueled, reloaded, and took off for Los Angeles, while the beeping and buzzing of the instruments and the voice of ground control was the only thing to break the silence.