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Sagger Khraishi

Writing Exercise: Eavesdropping

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Hi. This writing exercise is with eavesdropping, to help with character construction. For this to work please just listen in on other people's discussions and imagine yourself in one of those people's shoes. The next step would be to write out a short short based on that character and his or her actions or words.

For example, sitting next to me now are two men, one middle age and another young adult. Due to the proximity to the local university, I would guess one is a professor, and the other is a graduate assistant. I would look at the people, a quick cursory glance as if I'm sketching them. The older man has his back slouched, talks with a slight slur. Younger man is looking up at him, always trying to speak up, or to prove a point. So I'll take the older man as the character for a fictitious story.

So, the exercise would be with a brief description, the short short, and where would you imagine the story going from there.

"But these things cannot fly without the proper apparatus."

The child was adamant. I would look at him and look the right slowly, as if I was thinking on a response but by the Gods look at those legs of that woman. I can feel my legs tremble with excitement as I watched her feet shuffle, in the reflection of the window, fidgeting up and down as she would work on the whatever it is on that hand-held. And this young boy would keep talking. Damn it, you don't understand anything child, My back aches with pain from that accident, and you are telling me these things we are building cannot fly? Of course they can, they just need the proper source... but those legs, I wish I was in the boy's place right now. I would shut up, stand up and turn around and talk to that woman.

"You're not thinking broadly enough. We can use many things at the apparatus to fly." My mind and my body act differently. This grant the university gave me was to teach, or rather to shut me up as my eyes would feast and I would stare and accept everything around me but my back is killing me. And this boy, stuck in a cramped up box has his legs cut and arms broken to fit in that box. And he's telling me of orders. Of laws. We can go beyond that. I can go beyond that. I can replace this leg for that contraption they make now days to make it more light. One singular stick that can be shoved into that hole and turned like a lock key and I would deal with the pain but I can fly again.

I struggled to stand up. The boy looked up at me, with his eyes as blank as his ears are blind. They can hear well, probably better than mine. But they are blind to the contents. Such a waste of skin and flesh. Is this what I'm down to? Sitting down and hitting the dull head of his repeatedly with a chisel to have him listen? ... I can use him as an example of the bio-mechanics of flight maybe. I feel too old to fly again, but I should be no older than this child and he's talking to me like this. The university is covering this up, covering the truth. Why don't I use this child's life instead to fly?

The woman's fidgeting stopped. I stood up and took the boy's hand, as if I was leaning on him, but directing him instead. "Come, child, I'll show you how we can fly." And maybe that would be the last time for him instead.


The man would take the child, strap him into this automation, and use his life to fly. He could go a step further and use his force to look younger, but the side affect would be his insides getting older. The university would supply him with more students, to study the effects of his research. Each student is different. Moral choices affect which path the professor goes, alternates the ending, which would be the research either burning | being sealed away | being used | etc.

I guess I ranted a bit at the end. One last rule. Don't delete the ideas you are writing. Let them stream out instead.

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