Character Invasions

Bentley McGrath Suffers An Invasion

Bentley McGrath is a new bloggy friend of mine. After seeing her picture, I thought, “Oh, she looks so beautiful. And not at all like the kind of person who would write about pig carcasses.”

As it turns out, I was only right about the first part.

Please enjoy Bentley’s dark and semi-disturbing (but in a good way!) Character Invasion scene below. And remember to leave her an encouraging comment – these things aren’t easy, folks!

*          *          *

Sitting, (instantly) watching “Bramwell” on Netflix, I hear a “ssssshhhhh, thud, slosh” outside the picture window of my livingroom. A subtle but distinct odor wafts through the window screen. Eyes appear in a gap between the curtains.

Simon: Boo.

Me: (unsurprised) Simon. I thought I smelled you.

Simon: Oh, yeah. That’s not me. That’s the bag. (more dramatically) The. Bag.

Me: Right. The bag.

Simon: No. The. Bag.

Me: Yeah, Simon, I get it. I gave you the freaking bag, remember?

Simon: Can I come in?

Me: Will you leave the bag outside?

Simon: Ummm… (he looks protectively at the enormous, ballooned black garbage bag on my stoop) The cats won’t get at it?

Me: I think it’ll be okay.

(Simon lets himself in. He stands inside the door, but just.)

Me: Oh, for pity’s sake, Simon… sit down!

(Simon sits in the chair closest the door and eyes my dog with an intense curiosity that makes me more than a little uncomfortable.)

Me: Look. Simon. We have to talk about the bag.

Simon: The. Bag.

Me: Oh, alright… The. Bag.

Simon: What about it?

Me: Look. I don’t know any other way of putting it: The. Bag. Isn’t working. I know you want to take control of your art and I know you are obsessed with the ravages of death… Simon! Are you listening to me?!

(A distant nod.)

Me: Simon. Get your hands off my dog!

Simon: What? Right. Sorry. I was just picturing…

Me: I know what you were picturing, Simon. And you can stop picturing it! If anything happens to Sadie… anything. A cough. A bellyache. A crossed eye. I will find you. Keep to your pig. I can tell by The. Bag. that your pig is plenty ripe.

(He smiles, self-satisfied.)

Me: Anyway… the bag.

Simon: The. Bag.

Me: Oh, for the love of… fine… The. Bag. I know you were going for shock or horror with the whole rotting pig carcass in a bag, but – at most – it is grotesque. At least, it is eccentric. You have to step it up a notch. You have to… well… I guess “commit” is the best word. If you want to cull, engender and cultivate death, then do it. Really really commit to your work.

Simon: Yeah. See… I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of commitment. I just… it makes me queasy. I love the bones and the rotted flesh and the smell and the flies and maggots, but I just don’t know if… well… if I’m able to commit to the degree that you want me to.

(Simon makes eye contact for the first time since he sat down.)

Simon: I’m kind of okay with grotesque.

Me: Yeah. But I’m not. You’re interesting, I suppose. But you’re not… you’re not…

Simon: What?

Me: Well… you’re not conforming to my image of you. To the Simon I had in my head when we started this journey.

Simon: Nope.

Me: You’re okay with that?! You’re okay with being less than I imagined?

Simon: Who says I’m “less than”? I think I’m pretty dark and mysterious.

Me: But that’s the problem. You’re not.

(Simon shrugs, stands from the chair and makes his way out the front door. Without a word, he takes the neck of the black bag and drags it behind him to the trunk of his orange Honda Element. In his wake he leaves a dribbled trail of what I can only imagine to be the drippings produced by pig putrefaction.)

*          *          *

Okay, in spite of the pig drippings, I am somehow totally charmed by this guy! He’s so brilliantly weird! Thanks Bentley!

If you’d like to connect with Bentley, you can find her blog here. And if you’ve got a particularly difficult character that needs a good talking-to, go here to read about Character Invasions and how to write them. Then get in touch with me via the Contact page and I’ll tell you how to get your scene posted on this blog!

6 thoughts on “Bentley McGrath Suffers An Invasion

  1. i, for one, am relieved it was just a pig.

    …and not a pygmy.

    completely different character, i’d imagine.

  2. alexandra, thanks so much! i just read your invasion, but the comments were closed. wonder what would happen if we paired up simon and chase. oh, the wackiness that would ensue!

  3. raquel, in the short story that simon wandered out of, simon is approached by a woman who wants to help him “commit.” we’ll see what happens with that!

Comments are closed.