Scene with point of no return

Faust is flipping a newspaper and an article catches his attention: it is about a book by an author he used to know back in high school. He seems surprised and utters:
“Damn this man used to be my high school friend, I still see him here and there… how did person like him manage to publish a… a novel?! And look what publisher this is… not a bad deal at all!”
“Shouldn’t you be happy for your friend?” – fish asks him.
“I would… but everyone knew that he didn’t have any talent. I don’t understand…”
He takes out an old yearbook and flips through its pages, looking for some information about his friend. We see a full shot of the photo, camera is slowly zooming in, as the fish makes another comment:
“You should call him to congratulate him.”
The camera still zooms in on the photo and it turns out to be a shot of the guy who is just picking up the phone.
“Hello?” – he says. Cut back to Faust, holding a phone.
“Hello, this is Faust… remember me?”
“Oh yes, nice to hear from you buddy. What’s up?”
“I was just browsing today’s newspaper and read about your publication. Congratulations…”
“Thank you, thank you, my friend! I’m so very happy that I finally made it.”
“Oh yeah? See, I’ve been secretly writing as well, but all I get is rejection letters from publishers. Got any tips?”
“Hmm… well, let this be our little secret… promise to keep it?”
“Sure, you have my word…”
“It’s actually because of this marvel of technology… It’s called Duende and it translates the figures of speech into plain english… now, I figured out the way to invert the process, so that I just put in the ordinary text, my raw ideas, and this thing translates it into a beautiful, poetic language. You should check it out. But don’t tell anyone you heard it from me.”
“Oh, wow… that sounds very exciting. Thanks for your advice.”
“No problem, buddy.”
“I’m really happy for you. Anyhow, I’ll see you around, maybe at the club for a party of chess?”
“Alright, you take care now, bye.”
As soon as he hangs up, he starts swearing. He couldn’t believe his friend actually used that ridiculous device for which he saw an ad some time ago. He was very agitated. He is still talking to his fish, and tells her that he will never get his work published, because he doesn’t cheat. And he now believes that with honest work he can’t accomplish anything. Now in that state of mind, an infomercial for Once Lived shows on TV.


One Comment

  1. Well, just to add some more thoughts on this topic. This scene feels right to me, because our character really got upset with state of affairs in publishing business. However, refusing still to take advantage of Duende, he chooses to sell his soul. And why is that? I originally imagined the character being more or less like Goethe’s enlightenment era hero, who possesses all kinds of knowledge, but longs for something beyond the things he can learn. Similarly, our character accepts deal with the devil, because he is seeking for some extraordinary experience that he can use in his writing. Essentially, he sees this deal with the dark forces as the only way for him in his old age to gain this experience that will help him write truly good fiction, not necessarily children’s books. My guess would be that this way we can use more weirdness and unpredictable little twists, while still maintaining more or less conventional plot development with beginning, middle and end, which will, because of all the weirdness going on, not be as dramatic as originally conceived. I’ll do a new post with the most recent thoughts on the subject. I shall not abandon this thing, hell no! :-]

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