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Tragi-comic monologue for a young-ish actress.
What a real punch sounds like
Do you know what a punch sounds like? A real punch. Not that cartoony pop you hear in the movies. None of that Hollywood horeshit, John Wayne socking out an injun.’ I mean a real punch. A real fist meeting a real face. Or a jaw or a forehead.
It’s kind of a dull thud, no snap to it. No echo. That was the first surprise.
I’d been working out at a boxing gym. Never cared for the sport -- not like the old man -- but hey, exercise, stress relief, why not?
Why stress relief? It started with this new girl at work. Julianne. Something about her, it was like she was born to be hated, made for that very purpose. Legs too long, hair too blonde. And the attitude. The way she skipped around my boyfriend like a kitten sizing up a bowl of milk. So sweet. So guileless. But not really. You could see the plans dancing around those Bambi eyes. I’d go to the gym and picture her face tattooed on the speed bag.
Alan would always say he didn’t notice her. And she wasn’t his type anyway. [a smirk] Alan. He knew how to say what I wanted to hear, I’ll give him that.
Problem was he knew how to say what everybody wanted to hear. Jodie in human resources, Kelly in shipping. He was good with the words, knew how to soothe, knew how to seduce, couldn’t clear his throat without it sounding like a come-on. It was just part of the package.
Took about a week before the grapevine started buzzing. I spent my days with my ears slammed shut. Just didn’t want to know about what everybody else seemed to know. About Alan. About Julianne. I’d take my aggression to the gym after work and make that speed bag rattle like a snare drum. ‘Till the Monday morning it happened...
Soon as they stepped into the conference room, I knew. I could smell her on him and him on her. Alan’s eyes darted from corner to corner, searching for a way out before the questions even began. I just knew.
“Morning!” Julianne whimpered, proud of it, unashamed. She had won. She leaned over for a glazed Krispy Kreme. Bad move.
Her face was right there, like a doe in the rifle scope. Not just ready for it, asking for it. The victorious smirk, the cinnamon-flavored lip gloss. Right. There.
But my aim was off. And my fist found the wrong face. Alan had lurched forward, a white knight coming to the damsel’s defense. But the white knight was clumsy and stepped into a hard right hook meant for somebody else.
Or maybe not. Maybe my aim was perfect.
You see, Julianne just pissed me off. But Alan broke my heart.
So I broke his nose. With a hard and heavy right hook, I shattered everything. Everything he was, everything he stood for, everything he thought he was, every God damned thing that made him the prize stallion of that place -- his swagger, those fancy Italian shoes, that weekend of lies in San Diego -- everything came crashing down to the conference room floor too fast and too loud.
And that’s what a real punch sounds like.