The following was written a while back now, as a short experiment in telling a story in dialogue only, with no descriptive text whatsoever. When it was first posted some readers' thought it worked, but others didn't. Any and all feedback on the subject is much appreciated, especially because I am aware that my later stories do tend to include a lot more dialogue. This is quite literally: -
"Hi handsome! What's a nice guy like you doing hiding behind this pillar?"
"Hello Debbie. Same as you, watching his beautiful daughter graduate."
"It's nice that they have the ceremony here in the Cathedral, isn't it? I suppose the University hasn't got a hall big enough to get everyone in at once."
"Yeah, adds some historical atmosphere in my opinion. The steel and glass of the Uni's new buildings are all right for them to study in; but a bit of the old gothic, seems to add to these occasions, don't you think?"
"Oh yes, I agree with you on that one, Jim. Eh, Samantha not come with you today?"
"Sam's old news Debbie. We've been divorced what ... seven ... nearly eight years now."
"Oh my, I'm sorry. Karla never said a word!"
"No reason to, I suppose. How are things with you and..."
"Don't ask, Jim. I found out he'd been doing the horizontal tango with his secretary five years ago."
"Christ, the little blond bit. Karla never said a word to me about that either. But bloody-hell, you let him get away with it for long enough though, didn't you?"
"What do you mean by that? Anyway, she was a brunette half his age and she'd only been married herself for about a year. Are you trying to tell me he was knocking-off Rachel, that blond who used to work for him?"
"Oops sorry, I've got a big mouth sometimes."
"How would you know anyway?"
"Saw them in New York together, when we were over there some years ago on business. They looked ... shall we say, more interested in each other than the client they were having lunch with."
"That's not much to accuse Phillip of cheating on."
"No, but bonking each others brains out in the hotel's pool at three in the morning, is!"
"What were you doing, spying on him?"
"I certainly was not. Sam always had this thing about doing it in semi public places, she'd taken one look at the Jacuzzi by the pool and insisted that we tried it for size ourselves."
"So, are you telling me that you saw my husband knocking off his secretary in New York ... what, it must have been at least twelve years ago?
"More like sixteen Debbie!"
"Christ, and you never bothered to say anything to me about it?"
"Oh, come on Debbie, and what would you have said if I had told you?"
"I'd have said thanks, and kicked the bastard out."
"No you damn-well wouldn't have, and you know it! You'd have challenged Phillip ... and he would've accused me of lying. He'd probably have accused me of having a bad attack of sour grapes, because he'd won the prize. And what's more, you'd have believed him; you always did believe what others told you over anything that I said."
"Was I really that bad?"
"You married Phillip instead of the father of your child, didn't you?"
"Well, I had little choice, I had to get married or Karla would have been a ... well, born out of wedlock."
"But Phillip wasn't the only one, or the first to ask you to marry him, was he?"
"Oh come on Jimmy, you were a party animal; out on the town with a different girl every night of the week."
"Is that really how you saw me?"
"How else was I meant to have seen you?"
"As a guy trying to make the girl who dumped him for no logical reason, jealous!"
"Oh god, what did you expect me to do, you were shagging Sheila Peters all the time you were supposed to be going out with me."
"I was doing nothing of the kind! What the hell gave you that idea?"
"Phillip told ... bugger! I can see that in your face; he lied, didn't he?"
"Sure did Debbie! I gave Sheila Peters a lift to college and back every week because she lived in the next street to me. You knew that at the time."
"Yeah, but you went around her house enough evenings as well, when you weren't with me."
"Every Monday evening until her father died. Shelia's dad and my father were in the forces together. John Peters lost his sight in the same explosion that crippled my father. Every Monday since I was old enough, I pushed my old man's wheelchair round to Sheila's house and the two old soldiers would talk about Korea together, and my old man would read to John Peters. Poor bugger never did get the hang of Braille; nerve damage or something. When my father passed on, I went round there on my own every Monday and read to John Peters myself; it gave Sheila a break and allowed her one night she could go out, without feeling guilty."
"Why did you never tell anyone that you were doing that?"
"Why should I, what the hell has it got to do with anyone else? John Peters was my last connection with my father."
"So what about all those girls I saw you with, when I was out with Philip?"
"Most were Sheila's friends from college. Daphne would usually let us know where you and Philip were going."
"Daphne! Off course, she was always telling me that I was stupid not to take you up on your offer of marriage. I wonder why she never told me about..."
"No silly idea. I never told her or anyone I don't think, why I dumped you; foolish pride I suppose. God Jim, didn't we do some stupid things when we were young?"
"I don't know Debbie, we managed to create a wonderful daughter together behind those bike sheds."
"Yes, she is beautiful isn't she?"
"Takes after her mother."
"But she definitely gets her brains from her father."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, her mother must have been as thick as a concrete block to let her father get away."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Exactly what I said Jim. I know we were young, but we were good together, you have to admit that?"
"Hey look girl, it weren't me who ended it."
"Yes I know, and that's what I'm saying. I was a fool and I admit it!"
"Hey what's going on here? You two talking to each other and there's no bloodshed yet!"
"Oh darling I'm so proud of you. Come over here Karla, and give your mum a big hug. I saw your father skulking over here in the corner so I thought I'd come over and say hello."
"I was not skulking! My plane was late in and I didn't want disturb everybody by getting to my seat after the presentation ceremony had already started. Anyway I think I got a better view from beside this Column.