SOUNDS LIKE YOUR NEXT STORY!: a short play with infinite scenes.
Well-Meaning FRIENDs and FAMILY
Lights up on the WRITER and a FRIEND, having coffee.
WRITER: I forgot to tell you about the date. The guy literally asked the bartender out right in front of me, and so—
FRIEND: Hey, at least you could get a great short story out of that! You could give him a really stupid name!
WRITER: Ha, yeah. Well.
Lights up on WRITER and NEIGHBOR’S BOYFRIEND, at a barbecue.
WRITER: So I was like, “Excuse me, are you with the Secret Service?” and she’s like—
NEIGHBOR’S BOYFRIEND: Wait, wait, have you written this down? Aren’t you a writer? This would make a great story!
Lights up on WRITER and CABBIE, in cab.
CABBIE: Are people always telling you their crazy ideas for stories?
WRITER: You’d think so. Maybe that happens more to, like, thriller writers. And I wouldn’t mind that so much. What they tend to do is point out everything in my life that they think would make a good story. Like, “Oh, you broke your arm! That should be a story!” They mean well, I know. But it’s awfully repetitive. Like, every conversation I ever have ends the same way.
CABBIE: Do you use their ideas?
WRITER: Never. Because even if I would have used something for a story, now it’s tainted by the cloying voice of this person telling me it would make a great story.
CABBIE: Yeah, that would be annoying. Hey, maybe you could write something about that!
Lights up on WRITER, posting on Facebook.
WRITER: I have mice in my kitchen. Anyone know any humane ways to get rid of them?
COLLEGE ACQUAINTANCE: Ha, sounds like the makings of a short story!
WRITER: No, seriously, there are three mice on my counter right now. This isn’t funny.
WRITER’S AUNT: Do I sense a novel coming on? LOL
WRITER: Okay, I’m checking into a hotel.
FRIEND OF A FRIEND: Hope there are some great characters there! Can’t wait to read this story!
Lights up on WRITER and DATE at cocktail party.
WRITER: I’m sorry I’m not myself. My dog was run over by a bus last week.
DATE: Oh, that’s terrible. A bus? Wow. I mean, you’re the writer, not me, but don’t you think that would make a great detail for a story?
WRITER: Excuse me, I think my phone is buzzing.
Lights up on WRITER at Thanksgiving dinner.
WRITER: You’re allergic to corn? I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.
GRANDMOTHER: Oh, look at her! I see the wheels turning! This is how little story ideas hatch!
WRITER: No, Gran, I was just asking Alice about her corn allergy, and—
UNCLE TOBY: Alice, watch out, she’s gonna write about you!
WRITER: Actually I’m really interested in food allergies. I was reading about—
COUSIN GERTRUDE: See, Alice? You have to be careful what you tell our writer here, or you’ll wind up in one of her books!
WRITER: Oh my god.
Lights up on WRITER and WELL-MEANING FRIEND at Target.
WRITER: Check it out, they’re selling butter-scented candles.
FRIEND: Hey, that would make a great story!
WRITER: It would? Butter-scented candles?
FRIEND: I mean, I’m sure you could do something hilarious with it.
WRITER: Thank you. Thank you. Really. Because my whole problem is I’m incapable of noticing things I might want to write about. I walk through this world blind, and it’s not till helpful people shove things in my face and suggest that I write about them that I ever have an idea.
FRIEND: Dude. What the hell is your problem?
WRITER: I’m sorry. I snapped. Sometimes I snap. I’m sorry.
FRIEND: Wouldn’t that be a great story? The writer who snapped at her friend in Target?
Lights up on WRITER, alone in house, calling 911
WRITER: (hyperventilating) You have to help me, there’s a bear on my porch.
DISPATCHER: Are you safe inside?
WRITER: Yes, but my computer’s out there, and I’m a writer, and he’s eating my computer. Oh my god, and my zip drive. It has my entire manuscript on it, and he’s, like, tearing it to shreds and ingesting it.
DISPATCHER: A writer? Really? What do you write?
WRITER: Literary fiction. Could you please get the hell over here?
DISPATCHER: Because—who knows, but wouldn’t this make a great story? Maybe, like, the start to a story. Maybe the story just starts with a bear.
WRITER: Oh my god, he’s hitting the window! He’s hitting the window with what’s left of my laptop. Jesus Christ, he’s breaking the glass!
DISPATCHER: Not to tell you what to write or anything, but wouldn’t that be funny? A writer’s sitting there typing, and up comes this huge bear. And maybe in your story it’s a typewriter, you know, like old-timey? Because the ribbons would get all tangled. Wouldn’t that be hilarious?
WRITER: Listen, you need to get the fu—oh god no—mmffffmfffffffffffaaaaafffffff
DISPATCHER: All I’m saying is, feel free to use that. It’s yours.