Saturday, February 9, 2008

February FFC: Genevieve Waller: Good Enough, Close Enough

Good Enough, Close Enough
by Genevieve Waller

"Robert, we have to leave as soon as possible. Tonight. They know you're here and they're going to be coming for us soon."

"I know, but I just can't decide which ones to take."

"You can't take any of them. Don't you realize that by now? Most of those images are too incriminating to survive. At the very least, they'll confiscate the negatives as we try to get out of here. At the most, they'll destroy them in front of your eyes. Probably burn them to ashes. And then throw you in prison. You can't take them with us."

"But I've worked so hard to get these. Don't you remember how it was? The Republicans wouldn't take me seriously when I first got to Spain. They thought I wanted to photograph their sunlight, their women. They placed bets on whether I'd keep up with their soldiering, whether I'd handle all the running and fighting and death. But I proved them wrong and won them over. And I've shown the world their story, as sad and violent as it's been."

"That's all true, Robert. But we're going to be on a ship for something like seven hours. The water, the salt. They'll be destroyed. You've got to leave them here."

"But who could I possibly trust with them?"

"What about Ricardo? He's not suspect. He's not Jewish. He's been a diplomat long enough to know how situations like these develop into chaos. With the war coming, I doubt he'll stay here in France much longer. He can take the negatives with him when he leaves."

"You're right, although if we waited until tomorrow night to leave, I could get them all together safely. Plus, I've only met the man once or twice. Would he remember me? Would he even agree to take them? How do I get them to him? And how would I get them back?"

"You're already asking too many questions. I'll contact his girlfriend. She's with him almost every night and if they're not together now she'll at least know where to find him. Quickly. I'm sure he'll do it. I saw him last week at the bar and he went on for almost an hour about how much he loves your photos, your philosophy."

"You're sure about this man?"

"I can't really think of anyone else on such short notice. Robert, look at all of this. There are so many here. Can't you leave some behind?"

"I don't think so."

"But…. But, I can't wait."


"I want to leave tonight. I was hoping you'd decide quickly about the negatives and go with me. I've already got tickets for the two of us on the last ship out. I have to be on it, with or without you. I can't stay here. I can't do this any longer. Soon they aren't going to let me leave unless I start helping them."

"But you've just said you'd help me save these negatives. They're all I've got to show for the last three years of my life."

"I will help you, Robert. By contacting Ricardo's girlfriend. But I've got to go. They're after me as well, you know, for the photos I took in the cities while you were out in the countryside."

"Please. Stay. Just one more night. We'll leave together then."

"It's not a chance I can take. I'll make the call. That's good enough, isn't it? Then I've got to pack."

"I don't think I'll ever see you again, then."

"I don't think you will. That's something I realized when I started this conversation. But it's all the help I can give you."

"Then just make that call. And go."


Unfocused Me said...

Nicely done. I suspect you'll get some debate as to which one is the coward; my vote is for Robert.

Kathleen Oxley said...

Very interesting! I liked the dialog, the back and forth between the two of them. And I definitely felt the urgency. I didn't really understand what they were running away from or what the pictures were of that could get them into trouble. My vote is for Robert being the coward as well.

Gwen Mitchell said...

I think you have an interesting premise here, but it could have been further developed. Also, the whole thing was dialogue, and it felt like a few places should have been narration. There was no action, only talking. Some description of the environment, and some more showing instead of telling would make it feel more real.

Arachne Jericho said...

All dialogue can work, and I like experimentation, so points on that. That said, a scene made up of all dialogue is difficult to work properly, but you did well in spite of that.

I think that you could be more subtle about the backstory here. Which is difficult, because there's obviously a deep one here; but the it feels to me like the characters are telling each other what they already know... which is a bit of breaking-the-fourth-wall, even if the reader doesn't know. The conversation is not all for the benefit of characters, but more for the readers. If that makes sense.

Leave more to implication; that will help. With dialogue, there's a LOT you can do to leave things to implication. Dialogue is fun, too, because characters have a) their own interpretations, not always true to events, and b) their own agendas, very fun if they try to hide it and better if they try to manipulate the conversation. Heck, it's fun when they BOTH do it.

Lots of shades you can add.

The scene can remain all dialogue, but just remember it's challenging. But as I said... I like experimentation.