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Writing Workshop: Voicing Vaccines

Updated: Feb 3



Okay, look. So you get vaccinated first, then you can do me and Juanita. We'll do the Flints, and pass it along down the block. What do you think? We can make this whole vaccine thing go viral.

Earl Thompson, neighbor

Peace and joy, Camper, and welcome once again to Your Uncle Jerry’s Writers Workshop. Today’s topic: Dialogue Harvesting.


The key to writing good dialogue is voice, Camper. A writer is always hearing voices; you just have to steal what they say. Don’t despair if you don’t hear any voices of your own, because you can always start with the voices from the trailer next door. No, don’t go out and stalk people; show some class. A simple listening device attached to the window screen saves time and can efficiently harvest usable dialogue. And it’s safer than standing outside with a ballpoint pen. Later, be sure to write a clear disclaimer for the copyright page: “All characters are fictional. Any resemblance to Earl and Juanita is purely coincidental.”


INNER PARSON: What are you Googling, this time of night?

INNER PIRATE: Vaccination schedule.

INNER PARSON: It’s not our turn yet.

INNER PIRATE: I’m aware. Somehow, we’re not “old” enough, so I’m giving us a different birthdate.

INNER PARSON: You’re what now?

INNER PIRATE: They’re delaying us because we’re only sixty-something. It’s cancel culture, pure and simple.

INNER PARSON: But is insurance fraud the right answer? If you want to be a fraudster, why not just get into politics? Avoid all consequences.

INNER PIRATE: Run for president with this face?

INNER PARSON: Too handsome? So wear a mask.

INNER PIRATE: That would make me a Democrat.

INNER PARSON: Fair. And then you’d have to work with Pelosi.

INNER PIRATE: Pelosi’s behind all this; you know she is. She and Soros. They’re both like 150 years old.

INNER PARSON: And Bill Gates, obviously. Am I right?

INNER PIRATE: Somebody has to do the coding and the grunt work.

INNER PARSON: Yep . . . But hey, what’s your source on this stuff?

INNER PIRATE: Oh, everyone. It’s all over the chat rooms on Parlay.

INNER PARSON: Parlay?

INNER PIRATE: Inner pirate platform.

INNER PARSON: Makes sense. So, are you . . . I mean. Did you, like, eat a gummy before bedtime?

INNER PIRATE: Maybe. Why?

INNER PARSON: Hey, I feel like a snack! Can I bring you something? Salted pecans? Maybe a sleeve of fig bars?

INNER PIRATE: Go away. I know what you’re doing.

INNER PARSON: So, how do you think Gates handles getting the data to and from the local health department?

INNER PIRATE: Don’t know for sure, but it’s looking like lasers; they’re fast, multipurpose, impossible to detect.

INNER PARSON: Good point. They must have a secure location in Montana. Or wait. Doesn’t Soros have a hideout in the Malheur National Forest?

INNER PIRATE: Nah. Ammon Bundy shut that down. Now they’ve built a network of anti-Christmas lasers in space, and the CDC is finally ready to utilize them.

INNER PARSON: You know I’ve banned the word “utilize” from this house.

INNER PIRATE: Gain control of health records today, and tomorrow they start the sterilizing.

INNER PARSON: Why would anyone want to sterilize you? . . . never mind. So then, changing our birthdate is a form of citizen resistance.

INNER PIRATE: Damn straight. Make us older, get us on Medicare early, and the whole Venezuelan plot will fail.

INNER PARSON: Perfect. And if everyone does it, then we’ll have universal health care!

INNER PIRATE: What? No! That would be socialism.

INNER PARSON: Ah.

INNER PIRATE: Just us. So we can get the vaccine and strike a blow against this ageist cancel culture.

INNER PARSON: But I thought you were an anti-vaxxer.

INNER PIRATE: I never said that. I said I don’t trust any so-called science that Hugo Chavez cooked up in the basement of his lab on Dominion Island.

INNER PARSON: So this vaccine is okay?

INNER PIRATE: Listen. Can I trust you? I hear mRNA has properties that arrest the entire aging process.

INNER PARSON: Seriously.

INNER PIRATE: Codename: JOY.

INNER PARSON: Meaning?

INNER PIRATE: The Jab of Youth. So, let's see. We could pass for 75, don’t you think?

INNER PARSON: With this face?

INNER PIRATE: Wear a mask. We’ll write “Don’t Cancel Me” across it.

INNER PARSON: By the way . . .

INNER PIRATE: What?

INNER PARSON: Did I mention that I already got us on Medicare?

INNER PIRATE: What?

INNER PARSON: A couple years ago now.

INNER PIRATE: What?

INNER PARSON: Hey. How about that snack? Ready for a fig bar?

INNER PIRATE: Make it a sleeve.

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