I spent hours in a craft store yesterday as this dialogue spun through my head. I was probably talking out-loud to myself and doing the voices as I did so. I tend to do that. Yeah, I'm that sort of loony writer. Anyway, so I wrote the dialogue. It involves my two Steampunk Characters, Lynald and Kelly, but it's the day of their first job together. Since the series takes place years later, I can't use it. That being the case, I thought I might as well post it here. Maybe it'll come in handy later.
“Did you loosen all the bolts, like I asked you?” asked Lynald Wingaurd over his shoulder.
“Yes, Wingaurd,” answered Evelyn Kelly, blowing on his frozen fingers. The two men stood in the dim boiler room that ran under 14 Tepperans Street as the rattle of carriages rumbled overhead.
“Did anyone see you?” Wingaurd asked through the spanner briefly perched in his teeth.
“One bloke noticed me.”
“And what did he say?” Wingaurd asked. He spoke in the high tones of a teacher giving a lesson. Kelly tried not to let it ruffle him, but he was already beginning to have doubts about this new partnership.
“He didn’t say nothing,” said Kelly with a shrug.
“But,” Kelly pressed on, determined to impress Wingaurd. “I showed him the fake badge I’d made up and said I was from the city, and that we were fitting the gaslamps for incandescent globes.”
Far from looking pleased, Wingaurd stood up from his crouch over the gearbox and threw his oily rag to the floor in irritation. “You what?” he demanded. The Elf nimbly hopped over to where Kelly was standing against the boiler and blocked his escape.
“Was that wrong?” asked Kelly, nervously. Wingaurd’s long nose was nearly touching his, and the energy radiating from the Elf made Kelly nervous. It practically fizzed from his long grease-stained fingers. To his further discomfort, Wingaurd put his hands on Kelly’s shoulders and spoke in a low clear voice.
“Repeat rule number one,” said Wingaurd, his blue eyes flickering in the boiler fire.
Kelly screwed up his black brows in confusion. “What rules? You’ve never given me any rules.”
Wingaurd released his grip and stepped back.
“I haven’t given you the rules speech yet?”
“There’s a speech?” asked Kelly, incredulously.
“It’s quite a good one,” said Wingaurd. “There are eight–(no I think I shortened it to six)– six vital rules to follow–”
“No offense, Wingaurd” interrupted Kelly. “It would seems that your speech loses its effect when the illusion of spontaneity is gone.”
Wingaurd considered this for a moment. “Fair enough,” he declared. “It’s a lucky thing too. I think I’d forgotten rules three and four.”
Kelly sighed. An actor, he thought in exasperation. I had to take up with an actor.
“Maybe you should just tell me rule one, and relate the rest as they happen.”
“Very well,” said Wingaurd, as he paced back and forth in an important manner. “Well the first rule is most important.”
“The most important?” asked Kelly, trying to curry favor again.
“Well I wouldn’t say it was the most important,” reasoned Wingaurd. “Six is important. And so is five… I’m sure if I remembered four–well they’re all important!” he finished waving his hand. “Just assume for the sake of argument that everything I say is important!”
“Yes, Mr. Wingaurd,” said Kelly.
“Well the first rule, if you’ll actually let me get around to it…” Wingaurd paused, raising a hand theatrically to his pointed ear waiting for Kelly to possibly get the last bit of commentary out of his system. “Jolly good. The first rule is…”
He approached Kelly until they stood at inappropriate distance again and Kelly began to wish for the wall to retreat behind him.
“The first rule is…” whispered Wingaurd and Kelly leaned in to hear him better… “NEVER EVER EVER EVER VOLUNTEER INFORMATION WHEN IT ISN’T ASKED FOR!!!!” the Elf screamed into Kelly’s face.
Kelly flinched and banged his head on the bricks behind. “Owwww,” he moaned and clutched his head. The blow, coupled with his ringing ears, had made his eyes involuntarily cross.
“What, never?” moaned Kelly ducking under Wingaurd’s arm.
“Never ever ever ever! Got that? You garble and make excuses and wave false badges around and people will immediately think you’re up to something. You keep mum, you nod or make short answers only when you have to. You have to always act like you have a job to do and any questions are a waste of your valuable time!”
“But what if–?”
“NO! Nonononononononononononononononononononono!” ranted Wingaurd, tossing his blond head with every “no” until he resembled a metronome. “Nononono! No!...No!” he added, to drive the point home.
Kelly finally did roll his eyes, provoking a growl from Wingaurd.
“Repeat that!” he snapped.
“What the ‘nonono’ part?”
Wingaurd sighed. “Kelly… if you can’t work with me,” began Lynald in a doleful voice.
Kelly whirled around and stared. “What–You ditching me already?” he asked.
“I thought you were different,” sighed Wingaurd. “You really had that… spark. Y’know, the best operators are born not made, Kelly. You have potential…” Wingaurd left off with another lachrymose sigh.
Kelly’s stomach churned. He didn’t know why, but something in him told him to swallow his smart-ass remarks and apologize. It told him that if Lynald Wingaurd were to walk out of his life, it would be the worst thing that could ever happen. Wingaurd seemed to sense this too, because his expression suddenly lifted from it’s tombstone frown and resumed the air of a scholarly professor. The quickness of the change made Kelly bite back another acidic comment.
“Now, ‘I Evelyn Kelly’,” Wingaurd prompted.
“I Evelyn Kelly,” echoed Kelly dully.
“Promise to never ever ever ever volunteer information that is not asked for.”
“Promise to never volu–”
“Never EVER EVER EVER,” corrected Wingaurd.
“Never ever ever…” (Lynald coughed and Kelly counted on his fingers.) “…ever volunteer information that is not asked for–are you happy?”
“Yes,” said Lynald. He then strode to the hole in the floor and continued banging at the gearbox.
Kelly rubbed the lump on his head. “Lynald…” he began, calling the Elf by his Christian name, “…were you joking about dissolving our partnership?” he asked.
Wingaurd stopped clanking momentarily and then, without turning around, spoke in a low voice devoid of it’s usual flare. “Kelly. I want you to assume… that at any given moment I am always serious.”
“Really?” asked Kelly.
“Yes. Feel free to think that I’m an idiot or a ne’er-do-well or a rake, but always assume that I mean what I say, one-hundred-percent. It will save a lot of time, and possibly your life, in the long run.”
“Alright,” said Kelly, nodding.
“Hullo! I just remembered that was Rule Three!” cried Lynald joyfully, whipping around to grace Kelly with a charming smile.
Kelly shook his head and went out into the cold night to think. Whatever happened next, with Lynald Wingaurd as a cohort, it wouldn’t be dull.