Normally today I would post the results of the living room re-do from last week. However, I can’t really move furniture on the weekend because it would cause familial uproar. So look for that on Wednesday.

Today I’m looking at names. It turns out they are important, at least to me.

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Arabelle Grey or Arabelle Fig?

This all started while I was trying to figure out what My antagonist’s name was going to be. I had Isabelle. That was working okay for me, but I needed a last name. Okay, I said to myself, try the trick of picking a name out of your surroundings.

I was at the gas station.

On the sign was Mobile, China Moon Buffet, Greyhound and maybe a name or two more that I don’t remember. At first I grabbed on to Moon. Isabelle Moon. That was decent. Then, because I know a smattering of other languages besides English, I changed it to Isabelle Luna. Luna Moon, and a few others. Wasn’t working for me.

I was still pumping gas.

The Grey in Greyhound jumped out and Isabelle Grey sounded really good. I was set.

Only when I got home I didn’t like Isabelle anymore. I didn’t want to write about Izzy. It didn’t seem right for my antagonist. I muddled around a bit longer and decided Arabelle was better than Isabelle, especially as later on someone could call her Airy Fairy and make her crazy. It all worked out for a kind of nice antagonist that was caught in circumstances and didn’t really want to be bad.

I wrote her first scene.

However, (You knew there was going to be a however, didn’t you?) sometime in the night the name Fig popped into my head. The only trouble was that Fig was not a nice antagonist. She was a nasty piece of work. I went back to sleep. In the morning I realized that it was good for an antagonist to be a nasty piece of work. Arabelle Fig might be a lot more fun to write than Arabelle Grey.

So I wrote Arabelle Fig’s first scene. (EDA: Oh Hell, I just googled Arabelle Fig and discovered Arabella Figg was Harry Potter’s neighbor. Carry on reading. I’ll work on a new name. Damn.)

Do you want to see the difference? Of course you do. Although now I think I could make Ms. Fig even nastier.

Here’s Arabelle Grey:

Arabelle Grey couldn’t get the big yellow dog out of the truck. She opened the passenger door frantically gesturing for him to jump out and when that didn’t work picked up a grimy tennis ball off the floor, showing it to him and tossing it into the grass. He just sat there staring. Damn it, she thought. He wasn’t growling or anything so she tried grabbing his collar and pulling, coaxing him. “Come on puppy,” she said, using the voice she resrved for babies and animals “Let’s go.”

He resisted, backing over the console to the driver side.

Totally out of options and time she did what she normally would never dream of; slammed the passenger door, trotted around, got in to the driver’s seat and stole the truck with the dog in it.

“May St Francis forgive me,” Airy said pulling out of the rest area and accelerating when she saw the woman whose truck whose truck she was stealing running after her. She was frantic and yelling and Arrie wished she was the person who just gave her the finger and laughed as she drove away, but she wasn’t.

“I’m sorry,” she said under her breath. “I’ll get your dog back to you.”

The dog nosed her face and licked her ear as she drove and Arrie pushed him away. “Stay on your own side doggy.” A black bag was stuffed in front of the center counsel. She picked it up keeping one eye on the road and rifled through the contents. A wallet, checkbook, lip balm, hair pick. Hair pick? She didn’t think anyone even used those any more. Cellphone. She flipped the wallet open and read the name on one of the credit cards, Maggie Merlot. Although when she pulled out the license it read Margaret Marie Merlot. Somebody’s parents had a thing for Ms.

She rolled down the window and tossed the bag and its contents into the swath of grass that formed the median separating the north and southbound lanes of the highway. Hopefully someone would find it and return it. If they were smart maybe they could trace the cell phone? She wasn’t sure if a cell phone had to be used or if they could find it if it was just turned on.

“Okay dog,” She said. “It’s just you and me now.” She noticed a metallic glint and reached under his neck and slid his tags up to where she could read them. “Your name is Tank and you belong to Maggie Merlot. Well Tank, I’ll do my best to stay alive and get you back to Maggie, but if I can’t I can promise you’ll be happy and safe. I can’t do more than that.”

She pulled her phone from her jacket pocket and looked at the time. If she was lucky she had maybe twenty minutes before they called in the truck as stolen. If she wasn’t lucky they were already looking for her. The murder just complicated things. Damn it.

Arrie reached West Lebanon, New Hampshire without spotting any flashing lights in the rearview mirror. She cruised the drag to the south of the freeway looking for the best place to leave the truck and find another vehicle without being seen. There wasn’t a Budget or a Hertz, in fact no place to rent a car at all that she could see which meant stealing another car.

“Damn it, dog. If I had my GPS I could find a car rental and get the hell out of dodge. But my gps is in the car with Barney Fife. It’s a cluster fuck if I ever saw one.”

Airy parked at the Walmart, jumped out and slammed the door before Tank could follow her and locked him in. “I’ll be right back, buddy.”

Initially, herrr plaaan had been to replace the gps, but looking at the box she realized it may not work until the battery had been charged. She set it down and went to the front of the store where the greater was sitting.

“I was wondering if you knew where I could rent a car?” Airy asked.

“Sure, Honey.” The white haired woman smiled up at her. “Go under the freeway, past two more lights and it’s next to that sandwich shop on your right.”

“Thanks.” Airy was trotting out the door almost before the woman finished.

She drove around behind the Walmart, following the winding road away from the traffic and parked the truck in a vacant parking lot. The signs posted on the building were lettered in bright red “Bankupcy Sale.” Well good. It would probably be a while before anyone noticed the truck.

She dropped the keys on the floorboard and left the dog, giving him a pat on the head and jogged back to the main road. There didn’t seem to be any public transportation here, so either she was going to have to walk or hitch a ride. She didn’t want to take the time to walk, but she didn’t want anyone to notice her either.

A RV was stopped at a light, ready to turn right heading for the freeway underpass. Airy grabbed the ladder and stepped up onto the bumper just as it pulled away. If she’d been a teenaged boy she’d be celebrating riding high on adriniline, but she wasn’t and the thought that the RV could turn onto the freeway occurred. Which might have happened, except the driver pulled into the parking lot at the big hardware store and yelled at her to get the hell off. He chased her.

She ran the last mile to the car rental and was able to rent an average grey car with gps using her fake ID.

“Well hell,” she said as she was about to pull onto the freeway, and went straight instead back to where she’d parked the stolen truck. She opened the back door of the car and let the dog jump from the truck to the sedan. Then she locked the truck so it couldn’t be easily stolen and got back in the car.

The dog was sitting in her seat. “Shove over,” she said. “You can’t drive.” She pushed at him for a minute and then just sat. As her but threatened to squash him he moved, hopping in to the passenger seat.

“I hope they don’t have an anti-dog policy,” she said to him, “Your hair is getting everywhere.”

***

And Here is Arabelle Fig:

Arrabelle Fig couldn’t get the big yellow dog out of the truck. She opened the passenger door frantically gesturing for him to jump out and when that didn’t work picked up a grimy tennis ball off the floorboards, showed it to him and tossed it into the grass. He just sat there staring. Damn it, she thought. For a moment she considered shooting him, but unlike the man she’d left dead, this creature had done her no wrong.

She grabbed his collar and tugged, saying “Let’s go, boy!” in the voice she reserved for small children and pets. He resisted, backing over the console to the driver side.
“Screw it.” Totally out of options and time she slammed the passenger door, trotted around, got in to the driver’s seat and stole the truck with the dog in it.

“Well, dog, you’re with me now,” Arrabelle said pulling out of the rest area and accelerating. “Lady, you’re lucky you’re not dead,” she said when she saw the woman whose truck whose truck she was stealing running after her. The woman waved her arms and yelled. “Count your blessings,” Arrabelle muttered as she put her foot to the floor. “I could have killed your dog.

The dog nosed her face and licked her ear as she drove and she pushed him away. “Stay on your own side dog.” A black bag was stuffed in front of the center counsel. She picked it up keeping one eye on the road and rifled through the contents. A wallet, checkbook, lip balm, hair pick. Hair pick? She didn’t think anyone even used those any more. Cellphone. She flipped the wallet open and read the name on one of the credit cards, Maggie Merlot. Although when she pulled out the license it read Margaret Marie Merlot. If that had been her name she would have changed it.

She rolled down the window and tossed the bag and its contents into the swath of grass that formed the median separating the north and southbound lanes of the highway. No way she was risking using Merlot’s credit cards. If she was lucky someone would find her bag and give her stuff back. If not – well there were worse things than replacing your license and credit cards.

She noticed a metallic glint on the dogs collar and reached under his neck to slide his tags up to where she could read them. “Your name is Tank? Well I can’t say there isn’t some poetic justice in that.” He probably weighed as much as she did. A yellow Labrador, she thought, or some derivative there-of.

She pulled her phone from her jacket pocket and looked at the time. If she was lucky she had maybe twenty minutes before they called in the truck as stolen. If she wasn’t lucky they were already looking for her. The murder just complicated things. Damn it.

When she reached West Lebanon, New Hampshire without spotting any flashing lights in the rearview mirror, she pulled off and cruised the main drag. There wasn’t a Budget or a Hertz, in fact no place to rent a car at all that she could see which meant stealing another car.

“ It’s a cluster fuck, Tank.”

She cruised the Walmart parking lot looking for the glint of keys left carelessly in a vehicle and spotted a Corolla fully armed and ready to go. She pulled into a spot a couple down from her target. “Later, Dog,” she said, some part of her mind keying in on the temperature. It was a cool enough day that he’d be okay.

She opened the door, and before she could even get a foot on the ground Tank had jumped over her into the parking lot. “Damn it, Dog, I am not chasing you.” But when she got out of the truck he was right there waiting for her. He stuck to her side when she hurried over to the Corolla and when she opened the door he was in before she could block him.

“Fine, but don’t say I didn’t tell you so.”

They were back on the interstate headed south ten minutes later, the engine of the little car whining away.

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Skye October 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Wow. Those two scenes, written with significant differences. They both read well, but they really did show different people. AG was softer. AF was no-nonsense. And you say she’s the antagonist? I truly would love a book about her as the protagonist. I think she and Tank are going to have a wonderful adventure!

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