Peter walked into the room and straight into the middle of a heated argument and seated himself in a position to see both protagonists, even though he could hear them very well. He had wanted to find out what made writers tick and it looked like he may have struck gold.
"An actor can become rich and famous on the back of someone else’s idea. Their creation. It’s parasitic feeding off others like that."
"Don’t be so naïve, Richard. If anything it’s more of a symbiosis. The one needs the other as the vehicle of the story is going to the same place. I agree an original idea is necessary as without it there is nothing and a good actor can literally breathe life into a creation."
"Naïve! You have the effrontery to call me naïve? You’re a pompous and irritating little jerk," retorted Richard his face the colour of puce.
Peter thought that Richard was heading for a heart attack. Is this what writing’s all about?
"There’s no need to be so obnoxious," David replied, clearly making a huge effort to control his anger. "They all need each other, but you can’t make something from nothing."
Richard was apoplectic and the tension in the room was palpable. His mouth was working, but no sound came out of it. Or froth.
"You can’t reason or make an argument so you resort to being offensive," continued David.
"You’re not what I would describe as clever or creative," Richard observed having recovered some control. "This sounds to me like you’re trying to make a thesis between creativity and capitalism." The look on Richard’s face gave the clear impression that he’d like to do David great harm. "The exploitation of another’s concept," he went on. "An idea is free, isn’t it? A well-written story with strong characters has no need for extra life and it just creates a living for the stunt men and doubles."
"And all on the back of the writer, I imagine you’re thinking," complained David clearly angered. "And anyway, what do you mean by free? Of course it’s not free. It’s someone’s idea and if they choose to sell that idea then that’s entirely up to them."
David seemed to calm down a little and after a moment continued: "The shape of words shows that the detail and the actual letters aren’t important. A coastline of recognisable cliffs is enough without seeing the detail of every crevice. Thinking big is an illusion created by the small-minded."
"Small-minded? You’d better explain that. And make it good," exclaimed Richard with a menacing tone.
David gave the hint of a smirk before he said, "Look at the deception caused by the difference in size between the Earth’s moon and the Sun," he began. "The Sun is over four hundred times larger than the moon, but an eclipse of the Sun by the moon creates the illusion that they are the same size. It’s just that the distance between the two is four hundred times as much as that of the Earth from the moon. It’s coincidental, but is enough to create the illusion."
"What on Earth are you talking about?"
"I’m not talking about on Earth."
"Don’t get cute with me, you moron."
Peter asked himself how the significance could be meaningful. He didn’t get it either.
"There you go again. You are looking for a good clout." Richard made a move to get up and David shifted in his chair, but both remained seated.
"You wish! All mouth and trousers, you are. You resort to insults and name calling, but can’t see the big picture even when it’s placed in front of you. Or up against something even bigger. It’s like our local planets and heavenly bodies losing something up in space. The billions of stars you see is still only our local galaxy. The Milky Way. And that is just one galaxy of billions."
"I still don’t get your point," protested Richard.
"Small minds never do.”
With that remark, Richard launched himself across the room at David, but didn’t strike him. Instead he just stood in front of him and picked up his nearly full pint beer glass and then very deliberately poured the contents over his head.
David just laughed with the beer dripping off his head.
Peter couldn’t decide if this was a scene from play or reality. Perhaps they were one and the same. Maybe that’s the creativity part. The challenge. To make the illusion real and it was certainly that. Peter laughed along with David as the entire group turned to gaze at him. This stranger in their midst.
"Bloody semantics," Richard said giving David a final glare and stormed out of the room. As he passed Peter, he turned to briefly look at him before his dramatic exit. Stage left. The group had fallen into a very uncomfortable silence.
Peter was quite shocked as he contemplated the motivations of writers and realised how close he had come to being an uninvited character. Was there any reward greater than pure conflict?
© Louis Brothnias, v 2.3 (2010)
Originally entitled “Size Matters”