Fiction Friday—Tears to Funny: A Short Story of An Affair Told in Dialogue Only

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Hemingway’s story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” which is told mostly in dialogue form. It’s an amazing piece of writing, and so this week’s fiction is my attempt at a story using a man and a woman, no names, no description, and told in dialogue only. Oh yes, and with a little drama and “Casablanca” thrown in for fun. My other hope with this piece is to make you like these people, despite the fact that they’re doing something naughty by having an affair, along the lines of Bergman and Bogart. Hope you like it.

Tears to Funny

“Please, don’t cry again. I can’t take it.”

“I can’t help it.”

“But seeing you this way…it’s making me upset.”

“You’re upset? What about me?”

“I know…both of us are upset. I’m upset too, you know. Just because I’m not a woman doesn’t mean I don’t feel like crying about this sometimes.”

“I know. I’ll be fine. No more tears. I just want you, that’s all. Nothing about this is simple.”

“Look at us. How can it be?”

“I don’t know; I don’t know how to handle it anymore.”

“I guess we just keep going on like this, just as we are. It’s all we have. It’s all we…”

“You keep saying that, but I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this, either. The lying, the deception, the sneakiness—I hate it. It’s not who I am.”

“Who are you, then?”

“Somebody masquerading as me; I’m not sure anymore. You came along, I wasn’t looking for you, and here you are and we’re trying to be happy.”

“I know. I’ve never asked you to leave him.”

“I know you haven’t. I have to figure out the logistics…I’ve never been in this situation before. I have to work some things out.”

“Do you love me?”

“You know I do. See the tears?”

“Yes. We’ve seen plenty of them. More than we need.”

“This is not the time for your sarcastic sense of humor. You got a lot more than you bargained for when you got me. You realize that, don’t you?”

“Do I? These past six months have been exhausting. How do you think I feel? We are a secret and I can’t talk to anyone about it. It’s eating me alive.”

“What should we do, then?”

“I don’t know.”

“Am I supposed to have all the answers all the time?”

“You usually do.”

“Not this time, I’m afraid.”

“All I know is I don’t want to be Rick Blaine.”

“Who the hell is Rick Blaine?”

“Come on! Bogart in ‘Casablanca’! Rick Blaine!”

“Oh…I guess I never realized his last name was Blaine. I always just knew him as ‘Rick’.”

“And you claim to be a movie buff.”

“Hey, I remember Victor Laszlo’s name. So, get back to the point. You don’t want to be Rick Blaine, but I wouldn’t mind being Ingrid Bergman.”

“So you wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to me in the middle of the night at an airport?”

“No, I wouldn’t mind looking like Ingrid Bergman, but I’d never want to say goodbye to you. Not by a plane, a train, or even when I go insane. And certainly not in black and white.”

“So we’ve gone from tears to funny in one fell swoop. You’re a real comedian. No, I don’t want to be Rick Blaine. I don’t want to say goodbye to you. I’m not prepared to say goodbye to you.”

“It’s complicated, I know. But somehow, it will work. You don’t have to say goodbye to me.”

“Yeah, that’s what Rick Blaine thought.”

“True, but the good news is that that was just a movie. We are real people…”

“In a sticky situation, and with our own, very real, but not as nice, Victor Laszlo.”

“And possibly with no happy ending.”

(Pause) “What the hell are we doing?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

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