Short Story Saturday: An Amusing Tale of Scriptwriting

Short Story Saturday: An Amusing Tale of Scriptwriting - Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels
Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled An Amusing Tale of Scriptwriting. It‘s quite a bit less sad than last week’s story but hopefully just as enjoyable. Original writing prompt taken from

The click of the pistol’s hammer woke me. A velvety voice lilts out of my vision, “Give me a good catchphrase and I just may let you live.”

“Cut it out, Nora,” I say to the woman holding the firearm. I push her right hand and the gun aside gently, “Didn’t your father ever tell you not to play with guns?”

She lifts a cigarette to her crimson lips. After taking a long drag, she says to me with a wry smile, “Just thought it might give you some motivation.”

“How long was I asleep, anyway?”

“About twenty minutes or so, I suppose. I wasn’t exactly keeping track.”

“Where’s Thomas? And Robert?”

“You mean, Miller and Boyett?” She gestures with her head in the direction of the closed door’s glass window. It leads into the break room. “They’re looking over a couple of old scripts we had lying around. I think they’re seeing if they can’t find some inspiration.”

A rotund, bespectacled man and his svelte companion, each with a script in hand, both suddenly notice me staring at them. They smile meekly and give me an exhausted wave. The two men then shrug as if to indicate that their search thus far has not yet bore any fruit. Their attention then returns to the manuscripts in their hands.

Taking another drag of her cigarette, Nora continues, “In case you’re wondering, Bickley went to the nearest convenience store to get us all some coffee.”

“Maybe we can just go with what we got. The script is pretty solid. We’re introducing a really funny character. The actor we found for the role is damn near perfect. He’s exactly what we had in mind when we wrote the character into the show.” I shrug. “So what I’m saying is, maybe the character is so good we don’t need a catchphrase.”

I heave out a deep sigh and check my watch. “Besides, it’s getting late. We’re all very tired. Maybe it’s time to call it a night.” I let out a huge yawn. “Look at that. I’m practically falling asleep right now.”

Nora shakes her head vehemently. “You can’t call it quits now.” She stares deep into my eyes. “I mean, you’re right. The character you guys created is good. Really good. Good enough to turn the show around. But we have to give him a catchphrase, something for the audience to remember. Something for the adults to talk about over the water cooler. Something for the kids to say to each other on their bus ride to school.” She pauses for a moment for dramatic effect. “A good catchphrase is perhaps the most important part of our script.”

I smirk. “Surely that’s an exaggeration.”

“Is it?” The woman begins to gesticulate wildly with her hands and arms. “What’s the first thing you think of when I say Diff’rent Strokes?”

“Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” I concede, bowing my head slightly in deference.

“And how about Lost in Space?”

“Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” I say in a mechanical voice while mimicking robotic motions.

“And how about- Oh my God!” Nora’s rant suddenly stops and her gestures cease. Her eyes become wide with fright. The gun falls having slipped from her right hand. It lands on the conference table with a thunderous bang. The room echoes with the deafening sound of gunfire.

We react by nearly falling out of our chairs only barely able to grab our seats having reached out for them almost instinctively. An uneasy stillness overtakes the room as the two of us just blankly stare, too scared to say anything.

Nora finally breaks the silence with an uncomfortable, embarrassed titter. “Did I do that?” she asks meekly.

“Wait a second.” I leap from my seat, grab the woman’s shoulders, and stare into her shocked and frightened eyes. “What did you say?”

“Did I do that?” the woman repeats softer than before, almost in a whisper.

I release her from my grip and smile. “Nora. You’re a genius.”

I then turn my eyes toward the glass door. “Thomas, Robert!” I shout. The two men look up from their scripts. “Come in right now!” I shout gesticulating wildly for the pair to join me. “I think we have come up with the perfect catchphrase!”

The two men rush through the door. “Okay, get this,” I say when they’ve settled in the room. “Steve Urkel’s catchphrase should be ‘Did I do that?’”

Thomas rubs his chin, lost in thought, before he says, “You know. I like it. I mean, I really like it. He should say it every time he makes a mistake.”

“I agree wholeheartedly,” Robert confirms. “It’s simple. Easily memorable. It could be really funny depending on the situation.” He smiles broadly. “Gentlemen, I think this is going to be the best episode of Family Matters yet.”

“So Michael, how’d you come up with such a great catchphrase, anyhow?” Thomas asks.

“I wish I could take all the credit. Really, though, Nora is the one who should get the credit.” I point at my female companion.

Thomas raises an eyebrow. He stares for a moment as if studying a rare specimen. Finally, he asks, “Michael? Who are you pointing to?”

“Yeah, and who’s Nora?” Robert asks with an equally quizzical look.

“Don’t be silly. You guys know Nora. And she’s right-” My head jerks back and my eyes widen. I finally become cognizant that I’m pointing to an empty chair. The gun, the ashtray, and the cigarette have all disappeared.

Sniffing the air, Thomas says to me, “I didn’t know you smoked, Michael.”

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here. Thank you for reading my story.


2 thoughts on “Short Story Saturday: An Amusing Tale of Scriptwriting

  • That was really good, especially the ending. So that’s how they came up with that catch phrase. But, uh, did he dream it up? Anyway, I like the story and it’s very funny.

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