Thursday, September 16, 2010

A writing exercise

Here's my contribution following this evening's Royston Writers' Circle task. I was given a character description (the female lead below, with some pretty specific characteristics) and a setting (village fete). I didn't quite stick to the script, but I did get both in. Here goes!

The Bitch, the Pitch

Chantelle rolled out of bed to the sound of Chris Evans on Radio 2. "Bloody hell..." she muttered to herself. She hadn't used the radio setting on the alarm since Rudy had left!

She fumbled with the snooze button and buried her head under the pillow. In what seemed like just seconds, the radio perked into life again, playing some ancient 80s type trash. Just because Rudy had been into retro didn’t mean she’d have to put up with this shit anymore! Pulling herself upright in bed she twirled the radio dial… Capital. Oh well, better than that annoying twerp who’d first woken her.

She looked about the room: matching cool pastel shades, matching runner and cushions. Time for a change! At lunchtime she’d run over to that new shop in Regents Street just a short dash from the office.

After careful consideration she dressed herself in a Stella McCartney suit – her favourite outfit for impressing new clients. But then she paused, looking at the fabulous effect in the mirror, she realised that she’d worn this combo before when first pitching for the account. Oh no... with a groan and a cup of rooibosh tea in one hand, she returned to the wardrobe to make a new selection.

After 20 minutes on her hair, another 15 on her makeup and the wasted time changing outfits, she knew she was going to be late. Thank goodness it was only a ten minute cycle ride to the office. Ah – but today she wouldn’t have the time to change and do her hair again if she cycled and she didn’t want to go by tube – she always felt so grubby when she travelled on the underground. Tangled in this dilemma, she only just remembered to unplug her iPhone from its charger and throw it into her Louis Vuitton bag before racing out of the flat.

Without ruining the effect, she breezed into the office at ten past nine, a pleasant blush on her cheeks from the brisk walk. Mind you, her Jimmy’s had killed!

“Hi Chantelle,” Natalie on Reception welcomed her. “It’s ok, they aren’t here yet.” Chantelle blew a grateful kiss and tripped to the lift. A quick visit to the ladies, make sure all looks good stiil, and then to her office.

At 9.20 she turned on her laptop and waited impatiently as it slowly went through its own morning routine.

“Good morning Chantelle.” The firm voice behind her was not unexpected. She turned round with a radiant smile.

“Good morning Ben. All ready for the big meet?” Hah! She’d got in first, score one! A mental high five with herself would have been appropriate, but she didn’t have the time.
“Yes. They are here. Are you ready?”

“Of course.” She said, grabbing a file and a memory stick from her desk. Everything had been ready since 7pm last night.

She followed Ben into the boardroom, thinking – but not saying – that those socks just did not go with his suit or shoes. He opened the glass door and, in a show of gallantry, waved her in first.

She put on her best client smile and walked in. Already seated round the table were her new clients. Her heart skipped a little beat as her eyes met those of the handsome politician before her gaze slid over the rest of the entourage. She sat down and Ben began the pitch.

He was good, Ben, if a little sharp. Sometimes his attempts at humour shot wide, but his overview of the agency and their PR successes with some rather ‘difficult’ situations, as he tactfully put it, was impressive.

The politician shuffled in his seat, his side-kick almost squirming, as he waited for Ben to stop grandstanding and let them get to the matter in hand.

“And now let me introduce you to Chantelle, she’ll be...”
“Thank you.” Mr Politician said quickly. She felt a slight tautness in her throat and swallowed any option to speak.

“We want you because you are good at these things.” Said Jones, the right hand puppet. “And this is a very delicate, sensitive issue...”

The politician glared just hard enough for Jones to go quiet and turned to Ben and Chantelle.
“Let me explain,” he began quietly with menace and authority making his voice the most compelling she had ever heard. Her heart beat a little faster.

“I was caught screwing the deputy head-mistress of my daughter’s school behind the bike shed at the annual school fete. Now – tell me just how you are going to turn these photos..” and he threw an envelope onto the table with ‘The Sun’ postmark clearly on the front, “into a positive PR story?”

Bear in mind this story was written straight, in about 25 minutes, and I haven't edited here. I got a laugh but I also got the mock complaint that I am an 'actress' and I guess a lot of the fun of the story was in the telling. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story, short and silly as it was.
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