Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taggedy

The soft, warm night settled around John and Marcia, a blissfully cozy chenille-like throw that cuddled the lovers' entwined limbs and tickled their bare cheeks. Cheeks that were ruddy with that special pinkness indicating recent, very intimate activity, as it happened. And their faces glowed, too.

"Marcia," John blurted out suddenly and impetuously. "Can we discuss something?"

"John," sighed Marcia, the contentment after achieving three orgasms enriching the exhaled name with feminine satisfaction. "I'm all ears."

John wrapped the slightly damp sheet around his manly chest, sat up and tried to think of how to confess what he had been pondering without sounding as if he were complaining before he murmured, "I've been thinking about us, sweetheart."

"Darling," Marcia purred like a kitten with a ball of interesting yarn (not, you understand, the imported cheap acrylic crap you can buy for $1 a pound, but that expensive designer stuff like Caron Bliss that costs an arm and a leg for one piddly skein.) "Tell me," she continued, picking up the thread of conversation and toying with it, just in case someone forgot she was the one speaking, "what about us?"

John reached for his trousers and then turned to look at Marcia while opening his mouth to utter in honesty, "We" -- he put one leg in his jeans, jeans that were comfortably faded but still a bit stiff, as he had hung them out to dry versus using the dryer as part of his endeavors to go green -- "never" -- he pulled up the waistband just like that very hot but sexually waffling young man in the Levi's 501 commercials-- "talk" -- he zippered the fly and fastened the button with what he hoped was a casual disregard for the fact that the woman he loved was watching him wrap his package -- "anymore."

"We're talking now," Marcia retorted with passion and the natural emphasis of her emotions, tossing her head as she leapt out of bed and jerked on her own clothing as her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkled with temper and annoyance that made her assume the position of a highly indignant painter's anatomical doll. Her rich brunette hair settled around her blushing features as her lips, the lipstick on which had been kissed away during the last, loving hours of delight, turned a little white with her swiftly-shifting mood. A loose eyelash, uprooted by the more-rapid blinking of her eyelids, drifted from her upper lid to land in the crease next to her right nostril.

Jumping jacks seemed like the thing to do to work off some of his own ire, and so John began the exercise as he carefully formulated his response to her retort and let the words, which might have sounded defensive if he wasn't careful to modulate his tone, come up out of the spot in his chest that transformed speech into a cavemanlike guttural growl of masculine frustration as he blithely informed the woman he loved more than life itself, "I just want to say things." He dragged in a breath, filling out his muscular chest, now covered with tiny but sensual beads of sweat from this, the latest round of vigorous exertions. Would that it could have been from making love to Marcia again, but even John needed five minutes to recharge his supply tanks. "To you."

"Oh, for God's sake . . . " Marcia trailed off, first to a blown breath and then to a sharply-drawn inhaled snort of contempt, which whistled through her deviated septum with high-pitched irritation, much like the sharp sensation in her heart which provoked her to add with equally pointed intonation, ". . . . say whatever you want," she snapped like a fourteen-day-old oak twig left in a seasoning shed on a cold fortnight in November that knew no humidity, among the crackling brown leaves and the chips and wood dust left behind by the merciless teeth of the chainsaw, which seemed to her to be as destructive as the man she loved, at least whenever he decided to discuss things with her that were better left unsaid. "Whatever you want," she repeated, much more gently this time, because with her own eyes she saw that John was staring at her with weary acceptance and tolerance that made her own impatience seem ungrateful and childish.

"Tell me you love me."

Marcia frowned before she attempted to button the front of her dress to give herself time to compose a new tag for her dialogue.

"No." John put his hands over hers to stop the buttoning and composing. "Tell me you love me."

"I," Marcia offered, desperate now to gain some space to properly tag her words so the reader would know absolutely everything she was feeling, doing and physically experiencing, "need--"

John kissed her. "Say it."

"Darling, you don't--"

"Say it."

"I love you," Marcia whimpered.

"Don't whimper."

Marcia whined, "But John--"

"Or whine."

"Oh, all right," Marcia said. "I love you. There. Happy now?"

"Not yet." John grinned, picked up Marcia and without another word or dialogue tag, tossed her back on the bed.

(Dedicated to my ninth grade English teacher, who maintained that important published writers never stoop to use the plodding, unimaginative word "said.")

13 comments:

  1. Marcia has a deviated septum?

    *G*

    I tag too much. Working on it. But I still tag too much.

    -said shiloh as she finished her bloghopping to settle down to pound another few pages on the WIP.

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  2. "Bwahahaha!!!" Jaye guffawed like the ill-kempt, ill-mannered, ill-educated, brash and abrasive Colonial the more gentile in English society still thought all Australians were, which wasn't true but try telling that to certain people who usually wince when you say you're an Aussie.

    I'm improving on my tags, but still need practice.

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  3. I'm not sure which is more impressive: John's 3 orgasms a night or jumping jacks AFTER 3 orgasm. Nah, definitely the 3 orgasms...

    I have no problem with a said here and there (though I prefer descriptive or emotional tags better). I do have a problem when there is an excessive use of tags when it isn't needed.

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  4. Anonymous11:25 AM

    The writer shivered in her cold, damp basement office, too cold to formulate an intellegent response.
    "Damn," she muttered to herself. "I'm moving the laptop upstairs."
    Thanks for the reality check. :)
    JulieB

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  5. My 9th-grade english teacher said the same thing. Do these teachers really ever know what they are talking about, I wonder, musing over what other untruths I might have been told during my years of formal education.

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  6. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Yeah, what IS it with the said hate? I love said. I think it's commercial fictions slap at literary fict. But really- Sometimes people just SAY stuff!

    Eva

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  7. But ... but our manly man John didn't use quoth once in this scene. :)

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  8. MY favorite teacher always claimed, said, vociferated that said was an invisible word. Use SAID and skip the other nonsense or you'll look like a hack. That's what he said.

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  9. and the yarn is wonderful.

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  10. "now covered with tiny but sensual beads of sweat,"

    Bwahahahaaa. Why do I hear Captain Zapp Brannigan's voice? "Leela, you're confused and aroused." lol.

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  11. I love the yarn. Got a ton of it at the dollar store when that particular color become unpopular. Loooved it. Still not worth the insane cost ROFL.

    I think said needs to be the invisible word sometimes. If I don't notice it, I don't care if it's there. If it becomes a he said, she said conversation, it gets irritating b/c I don't know the emotion.

    Loooove J and M.

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  12. Honestly, I didn't even notice that you were talking about dialogue tags. Read right over them and used them as they are supposed to be used--to modify the emotions of the dialogue. I noticed the very purple prose, but I've come to expect that with J&M stories. Honestly, I thought this was about over-description, not dialogue tags.

    I'm not saying your 9th grade English teacher is right. I'm just saying that dialogue tags are useful if used correctly. Honestly, in this case, I don't see a darn thing wrong with them.

    *shrug*

    It's an old debate with me. Dialogue tags are another tool in the toolbox. Misuse them, and it'll be like taking a chisel to a screwdriver party. In the right place, the chisel is pretty darn useful.

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