On Plot Devices

Weird stuff happens here in Orange, specifically around my apartment complex. I post clips of it on this blog every now and then, but most of the dialogue-heavy stuff is relegated to my Facebook, where people can like it or make wry comments about it. 

I posted yet another Moment of Weirdness this morning (my landlord peeking into my neighbor’s apartment–she’s been MIA for quite some time), and Stacy suggested writing a book of short stories based around it. L went on to list some of the weird crap I’ve posted about. I got to thinking…hmmm. That’s not a bad idea.

Except me being me, I want some kind of plot to tie these short stories together. Even just a minimal one–there needs to be some sort of thread in the background. I don’t like random, unconnected vignettes. So what could I do to come up with a plot point? 

And then it came to me…the contractors. 

My landlord has two contracting companies that he deals with. One guy is older and forgetful; then there’s the younger dudes with their own company. The younger dudes were hired to replace the doors and mailboxes…except no one bothered informing the tenants. (I take that back; we received an email about it back in August, but my actual door didn’t show up until October 11, so I’d forgotten entirely). As a result, I almost inadvertently started a small war with the younger contractors after being jolted awake early in the morning…by a drill.

Contractor: Hey! We’re gonna be giving you a new mailbox!
Suz: You couldn’t have told me this BEFORE you scared the *#&@( out of me?
Contractor: Oh…I forgot to knock on your door. Sorry about that.
Contractor 2: Dude, you totally woke her up.
Juno: BEEP!
Contractor: What was that?
Suz: My bird is also displeased.
Contractor: Crap, we pissed off the bird.

Then on the following Monday I got a phone call…

Contractor: Hey, you’re scheduled to get new doors today.
Suz: I beg your pardon?
Contractor: New front and back doors.
Suz: You know, I really wish my &*#@ing landlord would tell me when he scheduled me to GET NEW DOORS…are you the same guy I yelled at over the mailboxes?
Contractor: Um…sorry.
Suz: Not your fault. What we have here is a failure to communicate!

Fortunately, a blood feud was adverted; they spent the day replacing the doors and we all got along famously; the guy’s second in command and I bonded over our shared allergies and suspicion of the potential meth lab across the street. So maybe that can be my plot point. What if one of the contracting companies dug up some weird old talisman, activating a Curse of Weirdness?

It would also give my narrator, Pseudosuz, someone to talk to, because otherwise it’s all introspection and variations on “Hey bird!”

Why yes, I like cheese. I freaking love cheese. I need more cheese in my life.


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