Writing Every Day in August: Day 1

The Ballad of Dude Manguy.

Admittedly, this is a bit like the “Lucia and Alda try to bluff their way into the bad guys’ base” scene I did back in February, but I’ve had the gag in this one in the back of my mind for a while now.


“It’s not fair!” Dunstana says, staring up at Baron Westfordnorthwestshire’s manor. “Me and Kat do everything together! If she gets to help the Baron, why can’t I?”

Annie gives her cousin a consoling pat on the shoulder.

“We have to get in there!” Dunstana declares. “I want to have an adventure, too!”

“‘Stana! Wait!” Annie calls after her cousin as Dunstana marches up to the manor’s gate. “Let’s talk about this first!”

“And who might you be?” the Baron’s doorman asks, looking up at Dunstana.

“I’m Dunstana. My sister is meeting with the Baron,” she explains. “And me and Kat do everything together, so if she’s meeting with the Baron, I should be, too. She might need my help.”

“No,” the doorman says bluntly.

“Why not?” Dunstana exclaims.

“You’re not on the list,” the doorman declares.

“You don’t even have a list!” Dunstana protests. “Your hands are in your pockets!”

“It’s all up here,” the doorman says, pointing to his head. “And you ain’t on it, kid.”

“But how do you know if you don’t even have a list?” Dunstana continues.

“If you were supposed to be meeting the Baron, I’d know it, and you’d already be inside,” the doorman says. “So get out of here, kid.”

Dunstana sticks her tongue out at the doorman, retreats a few steps, turns back towards and sticks her tongue out again before retreating around the corner.

A thoroughly bemused Annie watches Dunstana disappear around the corner before turning to the doorman. “Sorry to bother you,” she mutters before following Dunstana around the corner.


*


A little while later, the doorman looks up at the oddly-shaped man standing in front of him.

The stranger wears an ill-fitting trench coat, a wide-brimmed hat pulled down low over his face, thick glasses, and a rather conspicuous moustache hiding most of his face. He walks with strange, uneven, unsteady steps.

“Hello,” the stranger says in a weirdly lilting, bizarrely-inflected tone of voice. “My name is, genuinely and factually, uh, Dude… Manguy. I believe the Baron is expecting me. We are to discuss our mutual interests in, um, things we both find interesting.”

“One, that moustache is obviously fake,” the doorman says. “Two, if the Baron were expecting you, I’d know about it. And three, you’re clearly those two kids from before hiding in a trench coat!”

“I don’t follow,” Dude Manguy says.

“That means go away,” the doorman says. “Do you really think I’m stupid enough to fall for such a ridiculous trick? Two kids in a trench coat, is like, the oldest, most obvious trick in the book!”

“Well,” Dude Manguy huffs indignantly, tottering away with his strange gait. “I never! Rest assured, the Baron shall hear of this!”

“Yeah, yeah,” the doorman mutters. “Don’t let your moustache fall off on the way.”


*

Meanwhile, Dunstana and Annie sit on the street around the corner from the Baron’s house.

“What are we going to do now, ‘Stana?” Annie asks.

“Right, what about this,” Dunstana says. “You lower down me the chimney, and I’ll pretend to be Uncle Wintermorn.”

Dunstana looks up as an oddly-shaped passerby walks down the street.

“Oh. Hey, Dude Manguy.”

“Oh. Hello there, Dunstana and Annie,” Dude Manguy answers.


See, it’s funny because that actually was Dude Manguy.

(Dude) Man(guy), I’m like the Rian Johnson of subverting expectations.

So, basically, “two kids in a trench coat” is one of my favourite crazy schemes for characters to use. But then I thought to myself, “how could I make it even crazier?”

Now, maybe it plays out a little too meta for it’s own good, but “that guy who’s obviously two kids in a trench coat is actually a real person” adds some layers to the joke that I really dig.

Also, I just really wanted Dunstana to speak the words “Hey, Dude Manguy.”

Well, I’m currently batting 1000. Come back tomorrow to see if I can go 2-for-2, and then the rest of August for (hopefully) a brand new short scene.

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