Here is a dialogue prompt out of San Francisco.

Here is a response I wrote to a prompt I got here in San Francisco.

Prompt: Write a dialogue scene between two co-workers in a cafe.

“Thank you for meeting me here,” Anna said, watching Beth drop hard into the chair across from her with a sigh and begin to rifle through her laptop bag.

“Mm,” Beth said, not looking away from the search. She produced a small black cellphone, manipulated the screen and then replaced it in the bag. “Absolutely, I’m glad we have a chance to talk.”

“Can we get you ladies anything to drink,” the service boy asked, swooping up beside the cafe table and already taking notes on his open pad. “Hot caffè mocha? Latte?”

“Oh, just a coffee please,” Anna said.

“A mocha sounds good,” Beth said. She smiled at the server as he left.

“So,” Anna said.

“So,” Beth said, folding her hands and trying to make her face serious. “You said this has something to do with Mr. Handle?”

“Yes,” Anna said, “but not just that. I mean, you know how he is.”

“Sure, you know I do,” Beth said raising her eyebrows and offering a smile.

“Yes, well, I know you’ve been with LaSalle for a few months longer than I have, and I just wanted to talk to someone who has more experience with the environment. I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to work with people that I morally object to.”

“Listen,” Beth said, “the kind of people we work with are not the kind that are going to take you by the hand and lead you through all your decisions. It may seem like they are coming down on you, but it’s just part of the territory, hold on.” A muffled buzz came from Beth’s feet and she bent down to retrieve her phone again. Anna furrowed her brow and stared at her napkin. After a moment, Beth returned the phone and folded her hands on the table again. “You know what I mean?”

“Yeah,” Anna said. “I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Maybe I just need to tough it out. God knows I need the money. And managing positions are hard to come by in Georgetown.”

“Mmm,” Beth said, but her expression had changed slightly and she looked down. “Managing positions?”

“Well, assistant management. But these Phillip Morris folks are killing more Americans than heart attacks. My grandma died from lung cancer for God’s sake. She was the closest family I had.”

“Mr. Handle put you in an assistant management position?” Beth said, sitting back in her chair and crossing her arms. “Did you transfer from another department?”

“Well, no I-”

“And he still… Hm.”

The two woman sat for a moment, neither one meeting the other’s eyes.

“What happened with your grandma?” Beth asked.

“She was a smoker for forty years. Phillip Morris made a good penny from her first.”

“That is so, so, terrible. I can’t imagine how you can be in the same room as these people.”


“Yeah, I mean, if LaSalle thinks they can force you to do what they want, fuck them.”


“I’m serious. I don’t think I’ve ever heard something as sad as this stuff with your grandma and these jerks. You know what you should do?”

“What’s that?” Anna asked, narrowing her eyes.

“Alright,” the server boy said, suddenly beside the table again. “I got a Cafe Americano, and a caffè mocha. Enjoy ladies.” He smiled as he put the steaming cups down on the table then floated away again.

“You should quit,” Beth said.


“You should quit. You are a strong woman, you don’t need to deal with this Philip Morris nonsense. The guys are killers.”

“What are you talking about Beth? I need this job, you know that.”

“Yes, but you can’t let financial security win over your beliefs.”

“What the hell Beth?”

“What?” Beth said, louder than she meant to, because after she said it, she lowered her voice and leaned close to Anna. “I just want you to do what is right for you.”

“Why did you care about me being assistant manager?”

“What do you mean, what do I mean? I was just asking because Mr. Handle has told me that LaSalle was downsizing their management is all, and it was surprising that you were hired on as one.”

“Oh my God,” Anna said.


“Oh my God.”

“Excuse me ladies,” It was the server again. “I’m sorry, but if you could please try not to shout, it is starting to upset the other customers.

Anna and Beth looked at some of the tables around them, and saw the staring eyes of men and women alike.

“Right,” Anna said, turning to grab her purse from behind her chair. “Sorry, I was just leaving.”

“Anna!” Beth said.

“No, please,” Anna said. “You’ve said enough. Thank you.” Anna stood, pushing her chair back and letting it tip over to the cafe floor. “Thank you for the coffee.” Then she turned and left.

“Damn.” the server said. “She didn’t pay for her coffee.”






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