Gloves Off: Round XXII
A Solid Relatable Idea
And today we’ll take a deeper dive into Tribal by Rob Armstrong
To read the story as originally published, please click here.
“Put Vaseline on the edges. That slimes up the hands.”
Bart always has good ideas; everybody says so.
My Comments: I understand starting with an unattributed quote as a way to seem more immediate, but I caution against it. Instead, a physical action will be more compelling. For instance: Bart pops the lid off a jar and two-fingers out a scoop of grey muck. He kneels down and smears the muck, saying, “Put Vaseline on the edges.” He shows me how. “It slimes up the hands.” The point is to ground the reader with hands and fingers in action. The political sign can remain a mystery, but the actions: kneeling, scooping, smearing, will plant us in a scene.
“But, if you really want to stick it to them, use deer repellent, and it will stink up their trunk. Smells like doo-doo that’s been baking in the sun.”
My Comments: I will always hammer on you about attribution. And action. And on-the-body. If Brad were to produce a spritz bottle and begin spraying stink on the sign, that would allow our narrator to cover his nose and mouth in disgust and retreat a step. It would demonstrate the deer repellent, just as we need to see the Vaseline demonstrated before it’s defined. Once the mystery muck (petroleum jelly) and the deer repellent are defined, the energy is resolved. It’s too early to resolve any energy.
“Is all this legal?”
Bart is a lawyer—better than a slip-and-fall lawyer, but not too much better. His successful cases pay out pretty well. Or so he tells everybody.
“Of course. It’s your sign and your lawn. If some blockhead wants to trespass, they get what they deserve. Tearing a sign up or stealing it is a crime.”