When I write a Sims story, I tend to think in terms of vague ideas and generalities rather than specifics of conversational dialog. Not only does this directly mimic the Sims gameplay, but also I think it suits my style of story-telling and fits well with my preferred format of captioning screenshots. From time to time, however, I do wonder what my sims are actually saying to each other.
Depending upon how comfortable become with this new writing style, “In Other Words” may turn into a feature of the Stacpoole Legacy. In this way, I get the chance to reverse the experience for readers. I take away the pictures but get very specific with the dialog and setting. Please let me know what you think!
“Do you hear that?”
“What?” Benita Gonçalves breathed an annoyed sigh as the comfortable gauze of sleep slowly unraveled from around her dark and pretty face. She had happily succumbed to a nap on her beach towel, as she had done countless times before. Her dearest and closest friend, Van Stacpoole, had again awoken her just as he had done countless times before. Van was her boyfriend in every sense of the word with the exception of intimacy, which she had staunchly withheld. Van did not entirely understand the rationale but accepted it nonetheless.
As a result, a sort of banter had evolved between them. It was an unspoken set of rules to which they both mutually abide when the anxiety from temptation became uncomfortable. He would find subtle ways to express his need to be distracted and redirected, or she would abruptly suggest a workout or a swim; just anything to change the dynamic. The times they both were weak proved especially difficult and would usually find them spending their time together with her family.
Benita smiled knowingly, playing along to ease his agitation, “Is it the fish this time, or the stone crabs?” she responded sleepily. The thick dialect particular to the locals of the region colored her words.
Van chuckled, “No, it’s definitely the gulls this time.”, he waited for her feigned exasperation, then continued, mocking the scavenger birds circling overhead, “MARRRY…HIMMM… MARRRRY…HIMMMM!
“Oh, meu lindo…”, she sighed empathetically. Something in his voice was different today. They had only discussed marriage once or twice before. Most other times he was just testing the waters to determine whether she’d retreated away from her prohibition of intimacy. “You know what Papa says…” Benita stood, in turn helping Van to his feet so they could walk. “He likes you! He really does… and even if he didn’t…”, she paused to achieve the desired effect. “But I agree with him for this once. We are still very young and ill-prepared for marriage and family. We have no money and nowhere to live…”, her voice trailed off, as though to punctuate the reality of their dilemma.
“You are too sensible.” he quipped.
“You are too eager.” she shot back, playfully.
She ran into the waves and dove into the crystalline water, emerging a few moments later, smiling. Van followed her lead, and dove gracefully into the waves, piercing the under-stuff as though he were a porpoise. The ease with which he swam, coupled with his part-time position as beach-patrol at the resort, had earned him the moniker “fin” among locals. He emerged behind her, wrapping his arms firmly around her midsection as she stood in the calm, chest-deep water.
“I love you, Benita Gonçalves. I promise you a beautiful house on the largest piece of beachfront land money can buy. Our children and our children’s children will become the Landgraabs of Isla Paridoso!”
Benita struggled slightly against his considerable arm strength, but gave up and relented to her trust in his self-restraint, “And I love you, meu lindo. But please, please be strong for me. I beg your patience until we can stand on our own two feet…”
“Four feet, technically…” he interrupted.
“UHG! YOU!” she fumed lightheartedly. Benita Abruptly shifted her balance and lifted her legs and support from the ocean floor, catching Van off-guard, and plunging them both into the water. She emerged again, laughing at him as she moved toward the shore. Van remained in the shallows, watching her as though she were a goddess emerging from the heavens.
“It is getting late,” she conceded. “I have to be to work very soon.”
“You don’t have to work two jobs, Benita. We barely see each other already.”
“I am sorry, namorado. We are blessed to have this opportunity. There are many on the island who cannot find even one job.”
Arguing this point would have led nowhere. Modernizing Isla Paridoso had been both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing in that it brought cell phones and broadband communications to the island. But it was a curse in many other ways. Local farmers who had previously worked their own land to subsist had all been bought out by resort owners and entertainment conglomerates. After locals demanded better wages for performing menial jobs, companies simply reduced their workforce. Other industries soon followed the trend, as businesses either eliminated or automated jobs or replaced workers with cheaper, imported labor.
“When is your next day off?”, he half-shouted toward her.
“I will see you soon… but not soon enough, meu amado!” She ran backward waving goodbye, “No wrestling with os tubarões tomorrow!”
Van smiled as he watched her disappear over the rise, leading to the beach, “Don’t forget about Sunday!” he heard her shout from a distance. Van breathed a very heavy sigh before making his way to shore. One recent turn of events had seen Van attending church services with Benita at her request. At first, it was simply to remain in good graces with the Gonçalves family, who were very religious.
Reconciling this with his upbringing remained a work in progress. Actively recognizing that she would not be the same Benita without her faith had helped him tremendously. Conviction to her faith and all that comes with it had been the single most compelling characteristic setting her apart from other women. Likewise, much of what her pastor had said about love, forgiveness, and salvation did not seem nearly as crazy as the endless slough of haughty face-twit posts would have liked him to believe.
Oddly enough, he had begun to experience a quieting sense of hopeful calm while examining his own conscience over those past few weeks. Understanding had not come immediately, and frankly, may never come. What chance, with social media, blaring music, and the endless drone from television and internet commandments, does inner dialog have to surface above such overpowering noise?
Regardless, it is instances like these, where there little else but him and the wilderness of the sea that provides enough opportunity for Van to truly hear.