Read these stories from: The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, Tiny, Smiling Daddy by Mary Gaitskill and review We Didnt by Stuart Dybek and critiques
this short story uploaded using the following information. Both the story We Didnt by Stuart Dybek and Tiny, Smiling Daddy by Mary Gaitskill are stories that
demonstrate the tension-building technique of negotiation. Did the excerpt properly Compared and contrasted the way each author uses negotiation to drive the story.
Did the excerpt explained how does each author use negotiation to create tension in the story? Assess how well negotiation resolves the tension it creates in each
In The Scene Book, Sandra Scofield suggests that not all stories must express conflict to succeed as a piece of fiction. She writes, In many instances what we see is
negotiation, an exchange of character desires and denials and relenting until some sort of peace is carved out or else the whole interaction falls apart.
“Don’t be late.” The message from Tim’s wife was clear. It was 7:45 pm. He had fifteen minutes to go eight blocks (from Lakeside and East 9th all the way over to East
4th street) and the Cavs were playing at eight pm, which meant the buses would be behind. Shit. He started running as soon as he made his way through office building’s
revolving doors into the subzero winter night. She wanted me to take that damn west coast account, didn’t she realize this would mean late nights? While he was
formulating an excuse for being late in his head, he lost his footing on the snow-covered February sidewalk.
His briefcase broke his fall, but in doing so it popped open and scattered folders on the icy ground. He bent down and started scooping them up, looking around to make
sure no one saw how awkwardly his body contorted. The other guys in the office always made fun of his old-fashioned hard case, but nothing inside gotten broken when he
dropped it- proving the value of being unfashionable. He looked at his watch. 7:51. His bus was already two minutes late. He decided to walk, figuring that being
fifteen minutes late while red-faced and puffing would at least look sympathetic.
Tim cut down a dark alley behind a rusted skyscraper. He made a sharp right at the opening and ran into a panhandler, knocking his crumpled Taco Bell cup down and
scattering change all over the sidewalk. “I’m so sorry,” Tim sighed. “I’m in a hurry.” The bum crawled on the ground, fraying his already worn corduroy pants. Tim kept
moving but another man stepped in his way. I don’t have time for this. He was younger and better dressed, trading the first panhandler’s torn and discolored Cleveland
Indians Starter jacket for a shiny crushed satin Cleveland Cavaliers Starter jacket.
“Yo man, you got any money for me?” His voice was flat, but deep enough to seem threatening.
Tim looked at him again. Besides the jacket, he had on a pair of red Jordan’s that looked brand new. Clearly this guy isn’t hurting. His face looked young; his cheeks
still soft and lacking stubble.
“Sorry,” Tim mumbled, “but I’m late for dinner with my wife.”
He walked by him and banged his right shoulder into his. The kid grabbed him from behind.
“Listen motherfucker: I’m hungry.” The inflection in his voice was sharp.
Tim slapped his hand down and turned toward the younger man. There’s no way he’s older than 19. “Maybe you should have stopped at the grocery store before hitting up
Foot Locker. I heard they opened a supermarket downtown, jackass.” He spit the last part out in an effort to seem tough. “Now if you excuse me, I’m late.”
He turned back. Before his foot hit the ground he felt a sharp coldness on his neck, followed by the click of a gun chamber.
“I said I’m hungry you dumb bitch. Ha-ha.” The kid was laughing. He was laughing, while pointing a gun at someone.
Tim tightened his grip on his briefcase and slowly turned around. He looked the kid in the eyes. “Hey man, I was just kidding about the Foot Locker comment. I’m sure
you got those Jordan’s as gift or something, they don’t even look new…” he voice trailed off before it turned into a whimper.
The kid smiled. How the hell could he be smiling? He reached in Tim’s outer jacket pocket and grabbed his phone.
“Ooooooh,” he cooed. “An iPhone 6? And it’s the big motherfucker too.” He pawed the phone with his right hand while he kept the gun pointed at Tim with his left. “You
still gonna tell me you don’t have money for the homeless? Gimme your wallet and whatever other money you got. Now.”
“You dumb kid, I don’t have any money,” Tim started. “You think every guy in a suit is some rich business man? Cause I’m not. I’m not driving, I don’t have a car, and
I’m running through downtown because it’s faster than the bus. And I’m doing it in dress shoes. Do you know how uncomfortable dress shoes are?”
The kid kept looking at the phone. “Give me your wallet.” He waved the gun up and down.
“Keep the phone, okay? It’s your gift,” Tim pleaded. “But you gotta let me go.”
The kid locked eyes with Tim. He smiled. “I’ll let you live asshole, just give me your wallet.”
Tim frowned and looked down. There was no one else on the dark street except the panhandler he knocked over. “Listen to me. I’m late for dinner with my wife, she means
the world to me, and I can’t keep letting her down. I don’t have time for this stick up kid bullshit. If you were gonna shoot me you already would have.”
The kid pushed the gun into Tim’s forehead. He miscalculated. Clearly this was a man well-versed in the stick-up arts.
The gun pushed further into his head. “Money. Now.”
Tim closed his eyes, imagining his wife’s reaction to this event. Sure, you got stuck up on a street corner on a Friday night in downtown Cleveland while the Cavs were
playing and people were walking around everywhere. Of course, you got robbed, that’s why you’re late. You have the worst excuses for everything, you asshole. He
imagined she would end her verbal dressing down with a drink tossed in his face like in the movies.
“Just take it, okay?” Tim reached inside his coat and tossed his wallet over the kid’s head. The kid dropped the gun, following the flight of the wallet. He looked
down and started moving towards it.
Tim’s arms flexed and his right hand swung, hitting the kid with his briefcase before he even realized that his brain had sent the command to his arm.
The briefcase smashed into the back of his head, hard enough to pop the kid’s necklace out of his shirt and smack him in the face. He dropped straight down, hitting
the sidewalk hard as loose dollar bills fell out of his back pocket. He gathered them up and walked over to the panhandler who was still crawling around the ground
picking up pennies.
“Here.” Tim put the bills inside his torn fast food cup.
He turned back, stepping over the kid who was unconscious on the ground. His wine colored satin jacket was already starting to get discolored from the black sidewalk
grime. He bent down and picked up his phone. Tim’s forehead was covered in sweat.
He looked at his phone. It was 8:12 pm. He had six missed calls from Katie: 7:52 pm, 8:03 pm, 8:06 pm, 8:10 pm, 8:11 pm, and 8:12 pm. He chuckled, buzzing from the
adrenaline that was still pumping in his veins. The phone rang. “Yes dear, I’m just running late. I’m so sorry. Yes, I know I promised. I know, I know. I’ll see you in
seven minutes. I love you.”
He zipped his coat up and smiled, looking forward to the remaining six blocks he had to cover.
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