Since I talked with Rick Johnson the other day, I thought it’d be fun to bring in Sally Larson and her friend, Ethel Mae Jordan. (For the time being, I’m moving this book’s estimated word count back to 500 words a day. 1000 words for three books isn’t working out. But I think I got the kinks worked out of Isaac’s Decision, so I might be okay for publishing Isaac’s Decision in January.)
Sally: To be fair, it’s not just my plan. It’s something Ethel Mae and I are working on together. When she told me that she was afraid Rick wanted to court her so she wanted me to be with her when he planned to stop by for another visit, I thought I’d be with her to see what he was like.
Ruth: Did you think you’d like him?
Sally: No, not really. I figured that there was a good reason she wasn’t interested in him.
Ruth: Do you still think that now?
Sally: No. Now I don’t understand why she’s not interested in him.
Ruth: Why not?
Ethel Mae: It’s hard to say why. I mean, he’s nice and attractive, but there’s no chemistry there.
Sally: There’s plenty of chemistry to me. Of course, the problem is convincing him he’s better off with me.
Ethel Mae: Well, I’ll do whatever I can to convince him of that.
Ruth: You could just tell him you’re not interested in him.
Ethel Mae: But I don’t know how to do that.
Ruth: It’s simple. You just say it. I bet Sally wouldn’t have trouble telling someone she wasn’t interested in him.
Ethel Mae: She probably wouldn’t. Sometimes I envy her ability to just come out and say what’s on her mind.
Sally: I don’t know. Sometimes it gets me in trouble.
Ethel Mae: And sometimes not speaking up can get you in trouble. There is no one-way to handle things.
Sally: Very true.
Ruth: So what is your plan? How will you get Rick to shift his interest from one to the other?
Ethel Mae: Mainly, it involves Rick getting to spend time with Sally. I think he and Sally have more in common than he and I do.
Sally: Well, I don’t know him well enough to know that.
Ethel Mae: Trust me. You do.
Ruth: And part of this plan was to make up two other men that Ethel Mae is supposed to be interested in?
Ethel Mae: Actually, I’m supposed to be interested in Samuel, but there is supposed to be someone else named Larry who was talking to Sally about making me jealous. Samuel is the one I’m “interested in” because he’s busy spending time with Miss Keating.
Ruth: Did you make her up, too?
Ethel Mae: Of course. I don’t want any of this coming back to us.
Sally: Exactly. If she used real people, then someone might find out and blab it, and who knows if that person would accuse us of spreading lies about them? This way is much cleaner.
Ruth: You do realize that men with the names Samuel and Larry do exist right there in Omaha, don’t you?
Sally: That’s a moot point.
Ruth: Is it?
Ethel Mae: Yes, it is. We never used full names, so it could be about anyone named Larry or Samuel or even Miss Keating.
Ruth: I don’t know, guys. I mean, things have a weird way of trickling into a story.
Sally: I doubt anyone with the names Samuel, Larry, or Miss Keating will assume we are talking about them, specifically. Samuel and Larry have no last names, and Miss Keating has no first name. Besides, this is just something we’re having Ethel Mae’s sister tell Rick. It doesn’t go beyond that. There’s no harm done.
Ruth: I didn’t say there would be harm done. I’m just saying someone with one of those names might actually show up. And who knows if Rick, who doesn’t know about your plan, will run into him/her. You never know what one tiny lie you told Vivian to tell Rick will pop back up at the most inopportune time. For those of you who don’t know, Vivian is Ethel Mae’s ten-year-old sister, and as a last minute thought, I think we’ll bring her in. Hi, Vivian.
Ethel Mae: What are you wearing?
Vivian: Ruth said I could wear modern clothes in the interview.
Sally: We can do that?
Vivian: Sure. This isn’t the story. It’s just an interview. April Larson was doing it. In fact, none of her pictures in the interviews have her wearing ladies’ historical western United States clothes.
Ruth: I figure the interviews take place in the 21st century, so clothing is fair game. But that’s not important.
Ethel Mae: It is to someone who gets uptight about historical accuracy.
Sally: Yeah, I hope they don’t rate the book based on the interviews. Unlike Joel, I don’t want to petition readers to give a 1-star review. This is a book featuring me and my friends.
Ruth: And your family.
Sally: Well, yes, to a point.
Ruth: What? You don’t like that?
Sally: I just know Tom and Joel are going to do something to embarrass me when Rick is at my house. They might be eight years apart, but they are close. It’s spooky how much they work together to make me miserable.
Vivian: You want to hear about being miserable? After I told Rick no boy better kiss me or else I’d slap him silly, Ruth went ahead and had that horrible Hugh try to kiss me. I beat him to it, though, and gave him one right across the face.
Ethel Mae: A kiss?
Vivian: No! A slap. I just know Ruth did it on purpose.
Ruth: *laughs* Yes, I did. I couldn’t resist. Besides, it’ll be even funnier when you marry Hugh.
Vivian: I’m going to what?!
Ethel Mae: You’ve already decided to write a romance featuring Vivian? What about me? Don’t I get to find my hero?
Ruth: Yes. I already thought of that.
Ethel Mae: Who is he?
Ruth: I’m not going to say or it’ll spoil the surprise. But I’ll give you a hint. We’ve mentioned his name and Rick will indirectly lead him to you.
Vivian: Never mind all that. Ruth, I don’t want to get married. Ever. Boys are gross.
Ruth: It’s in the nature of boys to be gross. That’s just how they are. I have some of my own, so I know all about it.
Vivian: But Hugh makes farting sounds with his armpit, and he thinks it’s funny.
Sally: They can be worse than that, Vivian, especially when they’re your little brothers.
Ruth: Think of it this way. Boys grow up and leave those disgusting things behind…or at least most of them do.
Sally: I doubt Rick was ever like that.
Ruth: See, Vivian? They grow up and women assume they were never gross. So, you’ll be fine.
Vivian: No, I won’t. I won’t marry him.
Ruth: Joel said the same thing and look at him now. He’s married and even went “surfing” on the beach so he could spend time with April.
Vivian: Why is surfing in quotes?
Ruth: You’ll understand that one when you’re an adult. Well, this interview is long enough, so I’ll get back to writing. Thanks for coming in, everyone. 🙂