Character Windows: Short little pieces of flash fiction that have characters from your novel doing everyday things. I’ll be doing this for my free writing for the foreseeable future. The goal is to help create highly distinct characters for my current ongoing draft of Everlasting.
Today’s piece is Carlos buying a theater ticket.
Everlasting Window – Buying a theater ticket – Carlos
“Let me assure you that you’ll highly enjoy it, sir.” Sergeant Tricks, that was to say Ellen, said as she pulled on Carlos’ arm towards a line. There were two lines to purchase tickets for the evening’s theater. One was considerably longer than the other but Tricks was pulling him towards that one.
“Why are we not just standing in the shorter line?” Carlos asked attempting to hide the indignation. He had allowed himself a slight indulgence, playing cards with his squad. As knight he was welcome at the officer table but rarely partook because he had found his earnings disappeared far quicker than he liked when playing with them. His squad, on the other hand, played for on a tally system rather actual money and he also happened to know most of their tells better than they did. Except, it seemed, for Sergeant Tricks. He would have sworn in front of the king himself that she was bluffing her hand until the reveal of the cards. So a week later Sergeant Tricks collected her tally. She wanted the evening off and an escort to a theater showing. Carlos had been confused by the second request, since he knew full well the Sergeant could not only protect herself against any unsavory elements of Qual City’s nightlife but could throughly punish them for the idea as well.
She had to explain to him that she wanted a date.
Honor bound to accept, Carlos found himself in line for an operetta by someone named Leons Swalari, obviously someone from the northern provinces.
“Because that is the line for the nobility and while I’m sure you qualify, Sir, tally won’t cover the kind of cash that window requires,” Tricks said. Carlos glanced at the line and only then noticed that the majority of those in line appeared to be servants of some kind, likely fetching tickets for their employers. Carlos grunted in response and settled in to wait. Tricks was also content to simply wait for the line to move, rather than make small talk.
The line moved slowly and others in the line spoke infrequently as well. Carlos kept his attention more on the street than the line itself. It was a little past mid afternoon but there was plenty of cloud cover. The theater was located centrally in Qual City, on the main drive just east of Qual Plaza. Shoppers mixed with vendors, messengers, and even a few tourists. After while his mind wandered to the reports he would need to file by next week regarding their last mission…
“How many tickets?” the ticketmaster asked, startling Carlos back to the present. The last of the people in front of him in line had vacated and Tricks had moved up to the woman behind the counter but was looking back at Carlos expectantly. Carlos nodded and stepped forward.
“Two please for-” Carlos began.
“That’ll be ninety-three in Qual script,” the girl interrupted, already pressing several knobs on the ticket machine next to her. Carlos hesitated before reaching into his pockets and pulling out a wallet. He was glad they had just recently been paid. He did not normally carry that much money around on him. He counted out the script to himself before he passed it to the ticketmaster. Looked at him pointedly as he did so and all but snatched the money, feeding it into a slot in the ticket machine before she pushed the final button and out printed two tickets. Tricks snatched them up and began walking away immediately.
“Thank you.” Carlos said but was met with an impatience glance. He turned away, shrugging, to follow after Tricks.
So I am thinking 250 words is far too short to make an effective window. It seems somewhere near 700 is a good number. This one was shorter than the last. I think I’ve learned a few things about Carlos but not as much as I did about Lee. I didn’t focus on as many mannerisms this time so I might revisit this one later. We’ll see. I think I learned more about Sergeant Tricks, the sniper of Carlos’ squad, than I did Carlos! BUt then I’ve been writing Carlos fora while now. I think he might be my second most established character.