Becoming Bad

There comes a time in my story when I need to bring a character over to the dark-side. Generally if its someone who has been dabbling or leaning over the line for a while I’ll have something give them a nudge. Or I’ll reveal their true nature that was there all along just being hidden.

I like to carefully foreshadow a characters corruption with influential words or actions that betray their true nature or intentions. If I don’t do this it can leave the reader confused as to why they became bad or acted out aggressively.

This I find can be complicated or even hard to do if I become attached to a character or decide to lead them down the dark path even though they started on the light side as the character in my example did.

I personally like to give these flippers a rich story, something to get the reader interested in them but leery at the same time.

Amber wrenched open the door to stop Scott’s incessant pounding before it upset her neighbors.
“Stop it.” Amber scowled. “Come in already.”
Scott dripping from the rain wiped his face and teetered on his feet.
Amber closed the door. “Ugh. You’re drunk. Why are you here?”
Scott grabbed her by the shoulders “First Sasha now you. Why?”
“What?” Amber tried to pull away wincing at his sour breath.
“She turned me down now you are, are you playing some game?”
“Oh my God Scott. I’m with Dale, I’m having his freaking baby. Sasha just didn’t like you. I’m beginning to wonder if she saw something I didn’t.” Amber tried to pull away again. “Until recently that is. Let me go.”
“No! This isn’t how its supposed to be. I get the girl! Me, not Dale, me! If not Sasha then you at least.”
“Charming.” Amber shoved his chest and managed to get out of his grip. “Get out of my apartment. I. Don’t. Want. You.”
“Liar, yes you do. You want to have sex with me.” Scott said with a slur and grabbed for her again forcing his mouth over hers. Amber brought up her knee, wedged her foot against his thigh and pushed Scott away.
“You don’t know squat abou twhat I want. Get the fuck out of my apartment now.” She ran for her cellphone, her hands shaking.
“It’s not too late Amber. Dump Dale, you can get rid of the problem and be with me. You know that’s what you really want.”
Shaking and fighting back tears she eyed the door he now blocked. “I’m calling 911.” She held the phone up to her ear backing up toward the kitchen. Scott advanced too fast,  the phone from her hand and ended the call.
“Don’t be a bitch Amber, I’m just offering you what you want. I know that parasite isn’t Dale’s, I wont let you hurt him. Dale and I’ve been friends since university. Admit that you’re a slut, and I’m all yours.”
Amber turned and ran to the kitchen, grabbed a chef’s knife from the block and spun to face the wild-eyed drunk Scott. “Get out, get out, get out you bastard, get out!”
Scott held up his hands and backed up back down the hall as she advanced. The image of his ex fiancée with a knife in her hand calling him a bastard slammed into his mind hard. The impact, though mental, was like a physical blow. He stopped her then, he would stop her now… His face darkened, he lowered his chin and glared.
“You’re threatening me? First you tease me, then trick my best friend to have unprotected sex with you, fake your pregnancy to trap him and now you’re threatening me?” A crooked smile distorted his face. “I’ll make you pay for this Linda, you’ll regret crossing me again. Dale will see the truth in you just like Andrew did; you slutty little whore!” Scott hurled Amber’s cellphone at her face forcing her to duck as Scott left, slamming the door behind him.
Amber stumbled against the door sliding the dead-bolt in place and scrambled for her phone to call Dale. “Please, please pick up, please.” She wiped her tears as she collapsed to her knees on the floor.
Scott spat on the door and stumbled in his blind fury out to his car. He would take care of her just like he did Linda. “Treacherous bitches. Sleeping with my friends.” He slammed his palms against the steering wheel. “Nobody cheats on me.”

Sooo… Yeah Scott’s gone off the deep end, no surprise there really. Dangerous people become desperate and desperate people are dangerous. When I write someone loosing control I give it back to them quickly. An irrational bad guy isn’t as fun as someone who can regroup, plan  and carry out a dastardly plan. For Scott to tip the scale I gave him alcohol to lower his defenses and mess up big time.

My advice about exposing the bad guy.
Make it sudden, startling and abrupt. However make sure there is enough foreshadow that the reader isn’t scowling at the pages wondering WTF?

-Sheryl

Some other posts you might like

The jerk-face warrior

Two-faced phony-baloney

I swear! Or do I?

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Squat

Drunken secrets

Getting drunk is a common occurrence. Like everything else, it is a uniquely unique thing. Some people can drink for hours and maintain a semblance of control; others can go wild with one drink. Some people pass out some puke. Others get giddy, while some cry. The mood swing of the alcohol ride can also vary. Some start off as happy go luck and end up bawling, while confident careful people end up doing crazy things they would never normally do.

Like with all good interactive situations I keep in mind who will react how. Nobody reacts the same to alcohol in varied amounts and often nobody reacts the same way over and over.  Ones pre-drink emotional state can greatly affect the outcome of the scene. The good thing is, there are no rules. Opportunity for confessions, Drunken secrets to come out, game changing moments, or complete blind sides are up for grabs. If the story is floundering and you know where it needs to go but just can’t quite get it there, how about a bit o booze? Even if the story isn’t floundering it is such a great way to change any dynamic.

Cal set the six mini bottles down on the table, Sasha picked up a rum as he went to get coke and glasses.

“Why didn’t you peg me as a cop when you met me?” Cal handed her a can of Sprite. “Sorry no coke in the fridge.”

“You’re too pretty and too nice. It’s weird until you burst into my house I had no idea. I thought I had good Cop radar.” She took a swig of the pungent rum before adding the rest to the lemon-lime sprite and took a large sip of the mixed drink. “Oooh that’s really yummy.”

When she looked at him sharply for dumping a second shot into her glass, he shrugged.

“It’s either that or Valium.”

“Rum. It tastes better. Thanks. As I said, I’m not normally a basket case. This is even better as a double. I love the taste.”

“I can tell.” He sipped his Sprite sans alcohol. “So before I busted my cover did you at all like me?”

“Fishing are we? I just said you were pretty and nice. That’s all you’re getting, and don’t get your hopes up booze doesn’t loosen my tongue.”

“From what I remember it makes it sharper.” He smirked at her open mouth as if she wanted to say something, but anything said would prove his point.

“Clever little copper aren’t you?” She laughed before he could respond. “It’s your job. I know, I know.”

“Do I know your ex?”

“Ben Huberson.”

Cal thought a moment. “I’m sort of new to this area. It doesn’t ring a bell.”

“He doesn’t ring a lot of things or when he does he can’t stick to it.” She laughed again. “Gonna stick a pin in that? What happened didn’t make it into any papers or news so don’t bother looking it up and if you find him, and you wont, he wouldn’t tell you what he did. If he did I’d be surprised if he told you the truth.”

“That bad huh?” Cal took that as a challenge. He found things and found things out. He was dammed good at it and if she kept up this way he wouldn’t have to search very hard.

She finished her drink and he filled her glass from the cans on the table. She looked at the bottles.

“There’s more rum.” He got up and fished them from the fridge and handed her two.

“I don’t need that much.”

“Do you cry when you drink?”

“No. Silly Detective. I only cry after nearly being killed and running people over with my car. Rum makes me happy.” She giggled at his serious face.

“You’re a strange woman.”

“Says the guy, wait, I had something for that. Damn.”

He laughed at her perplexed expression. “Why did you go out with Val and Anne that night? You didn’t seem to want to be there.”

“Anniversary. Suck-y stupid anniversary.” She was drinking too fast, and knew it so slowed down, not that it mattered she was nearly done the second. “They think I should move on. The think is.” She giggled. “The thing is.” She nodded. “I am happy. I just don’t want to go down that road again. I’m happy alone. Stick a pin in that PoPo.” She snickered into her hand. He watched her amused with her silly behavior. They sat in silence a while Sasha sipped her drink. 

Cal broke the silence first. “What about Ben?”

“Ben can rot in.” She finished the second double drink and set the glass down too hard. “He can go rot in hell. Ben in hell roasting his balls on the flames wouldn’t be punishment enough.”

“You have issues with genitalia.”

She giggled again and couldn’t stop. “Oh I do. I’m so mean. I stab them, kick them and I’ve even punched them. Selfie defense. I mean Selfie… self-defiance. Shelf defense.”

Cal waited patiently for her giggle fit to finish. It took a while and it took concentration not to laugh along with her. Not because groin injuries were funny, but her laugh was contagious.

“Sorry.” Sasha wiped laugh tears from her heavy eyes. She pointed at the empty mini bottles. “One, two… three and four. Why my drunk?”

“Because you barely slept last night, refused to eat supper and drank four shots in.” He looked at his watch. “Less than one hour.”

“So? I kin do that any time.” She blinked slowly. “Maybe not on an empty tum-tum.”

“What happened that day two years ago?”

“Nice try copper-roo. Not gonna get that story. No sir. Not even Val would blabber-blab. It would be funnier if you.” She giggled. “If you were named Bob. I could call you bob the bobby. With your stupid pins. Bobby pin.” She laughed so hard Cal bit his lip to keep from joining. “I’m gonna be pissed when I’m sober ya know.”

“Will you?”

She leaned her heavy head back on the couch. “You bet’cha gadget. I’m gonna be mad tha, that you tried to drink me, drunk, get me to drunk talk.” She looked up at the ceiling. “Was worst day ever and he wants me to talk about it. Can you bel-believe it? The sexy cop wants me to spill the beans.” She giggled again and pointed at him. “Naughty cop. You’re a naughty cop you know that?” She smiled at his amused face. “You should stripper, be a strip dancer thing, guy. You know what I mean. Bet you’re better taking your shirt off than playing cops and robbers.” She closed her eyes and they stayed closed.

“Some days I wonder.” He sighed hoping she wouldn’t remember.

He honestly didn’t mean to pry, he couldn’t help it. She had a huge mystery begging to be solved.  He wondered just how tight-lipped Valery would be. Would Anne? There has to be someone willing to snap her out of her glass box of self-pity. Ben probably cheated, it has to be big for her to be so upset. That it was such a secret meant it might be huge. At least for her anyway. Enough to scare her off men for at least two years.

She started to fall over so Cal picked her up and put her in her bed, tucked her in as she snuggled on her side. He took her unpacked clothes off the bed and put them away in the drawers. The file folder was neatly tucked under her laptop. He saw what was in it, strange pictures that were probably some company’s idea of advertising. The only one that didn’t fit was the hand. Maybe it was a multi-purpose hand moisturizer. He didn’t know and didn’t really care.

“You are interesting.” Cal turned the light out and went to his own bed.

I don’t like reading that someone’s words are slurred or garbled so I’ll write it slurred or garbled. That’s a personal choice. Show don’t tell after all.  Everyone has seen various degrees of drinking to drunk to pass out drunk. I’m not talking about alcoholism or substance abuse, that is a whole other subject.

My advice about getting your characters drunk.
Whether it’s in or out of character it can really work to liven things up, good or bad, drunk is interesting.

-Sheryl

Other posts

The prelude to this one Stick a pin in it!

Bacon, Banter and Coffee

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Pungent