On the Estuary

On the EstuaryOn the Estuary is from a writer’s group prompt to write a dialogue scene in no more than 200 words. It followed a discussion of dialogue tags and beats. I thought back to classic Pinter dialogues such as Last to Go (1959), which I performed as an exam piece forty years ago(!). I cut ALL the tags and beats. And description…

“That’s it, then.”


“It was nice working with you.”


“You’re welcome. Jeez, what a sourpuss.”

“Can we just get going?”



“Fetch the shovels away.”

“What for?”

“Leave no clues behind.”

“You fetch ‘em.”

“You’re already muddy.”


“Drag them over your tracks.”


“Boot prints.”

“It won’t matter when the tide comes up the estuary.”

“Ooh, ‘estuary’ is it? Listen to you, professor.”

“Do you enjoy being a d–”

“Boot prints stay preserved in mud. Professor. Bloody amateurs I have to work with these days.”

“Now can we go?”

“Get in the van. One more stop to make.”

“What now?”

“We have to torch the van, far away from here. No clues, remember?”

“How far?”

“Don’t worry. You can get the night bus back. Unless you want to walk?”

“You’re a real comedian.”

“This is the job, right? If you’re not happy, you might want to think of a change of career.”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *