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Audrey Semprun, 23 Aug '14

Character's Folly: An Experiment in Character Development #3

“I don’t have anyone to hang out with.” Mitchell commented. “Does someone want a son or a nephew or something so that I’ll have something to do?” For only being eight, Mitchell was well aware of what was going on around him.

“I wouldn’t mind having another child,” Mitchell’s mom offered graciously. “What do you think, David?”

“Sure, why not?” He was after all, now a family man. “So Mitchell; do you want an older, or a younger brother?”

“Depends.” Mitchell replied cautiously.

“Oh?” His father questioned.

“Well, if he was older I would want him to include me. You know, not be thinking he was better than me. And if he was younger, well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t want him as young as Kelly, and I really don’t want him to be whiney.”

“How about a younger brother, but only a little younger? How about a twin?” Penelopy suggested.

“Could we?” Mitchell was obviously open to the idea of being a twin.

“Sure, why not?” His parents said in unison.

“Would you like to name him?” Mitchell’s father offered; knowing how valuable a name could be…

“Wow! Could I?” Mitchell was elated. The smiles all the way around said that he could.

“Stewart.” I like that name.

“Me too,” Stewart smiled. “Wow, this is great!”

“I’ll say,” Mitchell beamed. “Let’s get out of here. Want to play catch?”

“Sure,” Stewart threw his arm over Mitchell’s shoulder and the boys walked off, like they had been together forever.

“Don’t talk to strangers, and be in by dark.” Debbie called out after them. “I have to check on the girls.” And with that she headed off towards the park that the girls were surely playing at, not at all worried about her future as she knew that she was in good hands.

Jessica watched the turn of events and again became troubled. When things had been in limbo they had still been settled; predictable. But now everything had changed. She was no longer the strong personality that had everything under control. And where things had always gone so smoothly with Daniel there was a definite change in the air: She could even sense a little animosity between them, where there once was none. Nothing was the same, and Jessica’s character was sorely being tested.

“So, what’s next?” Jessica asked, instead of told –

“It’s imperative that we have a plot.” David was serious. He knew that things couldn’t go on as they were – or weren’t.

“But who’s to tell the story?” The most reasonable Penelopy asked.

“We could use ‘her’ thoughts and voice.” Daniel offered. “After all, she’s what we know.”

David wanted to protest, but didn’t have a better idea, and so he said nothing.

Penelopy didn’t have a need to be in control, and Jessica had relinquished hers; and so the four settled; and so, they let the story begin…

“Girls! Girls!” Suzie and Kelly looked up from the castles they were building in the sand. The girls had been making good use of the small beach that extended out from the man-made lake that was adjacent to the park.

Debbie’s heartbeat had quickened as she approached the girls. She had no idea that there was a lake right there at the park! The overly-protective mother rushed over to Kelly and scooped her up into her arms.

“Are you okay?” Debbie questioned a confused Kelly.

“Mom, I’m fine. What’s the matter?”

“You could have drowned!”

Suzie stepped up, anxious to set things right. “We didn’t go into the water, Mrs. Goliath. We know better than that.”


“I was so scared, David!”

“Shh – it’s okay. Nothing happened.”

“But it could have –”

“But it didn’t. It’s really not that big a deal. You need to relax.”

“But I can’t –”

“Why not? What has you so troubled?”

“When I was a child I almost drowned.” Debbie spoke with a shudder.

“Who told you that?” David wrapped his arm around his new wife and held her close.

“Well, no-one. I just remember –” Debbie was still trembling.

“That’s not so –” David spoke slowly; with great compassion and care. “You’re having a false memory. Just rest now. It’s okay.”

Debbie realized that David was right. There was no near drowning, no past…


David could see the necessity of getting the facts all sorted out with his life and the life of his children. He needed to have all of the details filled in, in detail. But how? How was he going to get through to the author who had never even pretended to care? David wasn’t alone with his concerns; he had a whole cast of characters wondering the exact same thing.