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Clash of the Characters

Monday February 15, 2010

Create a scene using four characters: One based on yourself, one based on someone you personally know, one based on someone you heard about in the media, and one spawning strictly from the imagination. Make the media story the hook or reason they’re all together, and base the scene around that.

“I can’t believe we are doing this” I complained from the backseat of my bosses’ mini-van.

“Johnny specifically said that if we can make it to the prison this afternoon, we might get the chance to speak with her.  Ask her a few questions.”

How my boss had a personal relationship with someone  in the prison system in another state was beyond me.  I didn’t ask.

“So we’re driving five hours in the rain for the chance of asking this woman some questions.  We don’t even know that she will answer them.  She looked pretty out of it on the news footage.”

“Well, we’ve got to try.”

This didn’t really strike me as enough of a reason, but I had said yes after all.  I had said yes because I was afraid to say no.  Afraid not to do something.  I was driving with my department head all the way to Alabama on a Monday morning to talk to Amy Bishop, the biology professor accused of shooting three of her colleagues in a faculty meeting.  Our 10 person department had effectively imploded on Friday afternoon when the coverage began.  The weekend had been filled with worried calls and emails and ultimately the decision to make the drive.  As the newbie, I was along for the ride.

Why was our department spun into such a fevered pitch of fear by this news?  Because we had our own Amy Bishop.  Or at least we were afraid we did.  What we could all be sure of was that we had a colleague who was unstable, frequently threatening and exceedingly hostile.  We had evidence of that.  Years of it.  What we didn’t know was whether any of that spelled trouble.  We  were in a mini-van aimed towards Alabama in an effort to find out.

“Welcome Dr. Tayor,  Dr. Jones.  Johnny asked that I walk you both through security and back to his office ” said a cautious woman who must have been Johnny’s secretary.  Whoever Johnny was.  Five hours in the car together still hadn’t cleared that up.

The beeping hall of monitors and wands seemed to extend for miles, but finally we arrived in an office.  Johnny’s office.

“Well, well Tom!  Long time no see.  And who have you brought with you here?”  Johnny emerged from behind a wall of stacked forms to pull Tom into a back-slapping hug and extend his hand to me.

“This is Dr. Taylor.  One of our newest faculty members” Tom explained.

“It’s good to meet you Dr. Taylor.  We’re glad to have you both here, although of course I imagine this is all hitting a little close to home for you both.  Well, why don’t we have a seat. ” he said, moving piles of papers aside to reveal three chairs set in a circle. “I can’t get authorization for a face-to-face.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is ……..

I can’t make this work.  Prompt aborted.

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