Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pushing: Not Just for the Delivery Room

A half-dozen Krispy Kreme donuts was enough to send Mother Theresa over the edge… so what was my co-counselor thinking when she gave the same amount to Rodney, the camper voted Most Likely To Grow Up To Be Ted Kacznski?

Maybe Tina thought Rodney would shut up once the dough stuck to the roof of his mouth, but the only thing that actually stuck was my eardrum to the roof of the car while Rodney’s belches set off volcano alarms as far away as Asia.

Since we couldn’t actually ship him there, we decided to do something that, looking back, was only slightly more dangerous. We decided to let Rodney navigate his way back to camp… on his own.

At first glance, it looked like Rodney would be okay. He sauntered casually from the bottom of the two-mile uphill dirt driveway to camp. As the dust clouds swallowed him, we approximated that in about ten seconds, he would come back into view… throwing up dust like an Olympic track star on steroids.

We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Just as we were about to check on him, a blue car pulled into view. There was Rodney in the passengers’ seat, whiter than my mother’s Persian cat. His fingers trembled as he rolled down the window.

“B… b… b…” he tried to eek.

“B… b… b…”.


“We saw a bear,” the driver said, just in case we’d failed phonics. “If I hadn’t come along, who knows what would have happened.”

Words can’t describe how I felt at that moment. I had never seen Rodney like this. Speechless. Belchless. And hopefully not the son of a prominent lawyer.

We were screaming, Rodney couldn't speak, and suddenly every person on that hillside was the complete antithesis of their usual personalities.

Which is the point here, folks. We need to push the characters in our stories to the same place. We need to build the tension so much that our characters do something completely, totally, and awesomely out-of-character.

So go ahead. Give Ted a Krispy Kreme. And if you want to see something interesting, pass the box this way...

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