Saturday, June 16, 2012

Biff and Mary: Chapters Twelve & Thirteen

Welcome back for more Biff and Mary! (previous chapters can be viewed here)

This chapter, we will continue the usual Biff-and-Mary shallow shenanigans accompanied by excessive description and utter silliness. Also, you will note an example of extremely unnatural, poorly punctuated and just-plain-bad dialogue in the beginning of Chapter 13. 

I stumbled upon a similar butchering of character conversation in a book I read recently, and the result -- specifically, my cringing in utter horror -- was something I thought best shared, so you are very welcome!  ;)

(Seriously, though -- please, please, I beg of you! -- don't ever write dialogue like this!)

Chapter 12: Wherein Biff Battles Boxes

Mary felt the soft pressure of Biff’s lips on hers and ran her hands up his shoulders and around his neck. The moment she inched her fingers up and into his hair, Biff pulled back suddenly.
“Biff? Is something wrong?”
“No, no, of course not,” Biff said, smiling as he patted down his hair, checking to be sure it was in place. 
Mary realized their moment had passed and decided that the best thing to do was change the subject.
“Do you think we should try to get started on these boxes, Biff?”  She gestured at the various piles of cardboard cartons that graced the room.
Biff smiled. “Of course!  In fact…” his voice trailed off as he walked back toward the front door to where The Poopsie Incident had occurred. He paused en route, checking his reflection in the mirror and combing his hand through his hair briefly before retrieving his leather satchel, which matched the belt he wore and was lying on the tile where he’d dropped it.  He brought it back to Mary.
“I discussed the box issue with Tony, our estate handyman, and he assured me that all I would need is…” Biff rummaged through the contents of the satchel, mumbling in frustration. “Now where is that….I know it’s in there…darn it!”  Finally, he gave up and kneeled on the floor, dumping the entire contents of the satchel onto the tiles. 
            As she viewed the contents of Biff’s satchel, Mary felt a moment of surprise as she realized that there were certainly some areas of grooming at which Biff excelled and, in fact, far surpassed her in terms of dedication.
            Spread out on the blue tiles was a brush, three different sized combs in blue, black and brown, a small bottle of Paul Mitchell Sculpting & Styling Glaze, a bottle of the same brand Unisex Flexible Hold Spray, and a small jar of Paul Mitchell for Men’s Medium-hold/Semi-Matte Styling Cream. Mary also spied a tube of dry shampoo and a travel-sized ceramic straightener. As she opened her mouth to ask the brand name of the straightener (she’d been looking for a new one herself), Biff swept aside the styling glaze and grabbed a small metal item. “Aha! There it is!”
“What is it, Biff?”
He quickly shoved all the hair products back into his satchel, rose from the floor and opened his hand. Nestled in his palm was a metal object, approximately four inches in length, with a sharp-looking blade protruding from one end.
“Tony gave it to me. It’s a box cutter!”
Biff used his other hand to push down a small screw on the side of the object, causing the sharp blade to extend further.
“See? The blade will open boxes quite easily, I understand.”
Mary reached out a hand toward the box cutter, but Biff drew it away with a small shake of his head.
“No, Mary. I think it best if I handle the box cutter myself. Tony showed me how to use it, and I wouldn’t want you to be harmed; it’s a Very Dangerous Tool.”
Mary nodded her head in solemn understanding.
“Well, where do you think we should start, Biff?”
The pair looked around the room and Biff knelt down by the nearest box. “Why not here?” he said, with one of those heart-stopping grins that always made Mary swoon.
With that, he reached out with the box cutter and sliced through the packing tape that sealed it. He then opened the flaps of the box and looked up at Mary triumphantly.
Mary clapped her hands together.  “Biff, you did it! How wonderful!”
She knelt beside him and together they began removing the contents of the box, which turned out to be mostly Mary’s copies of Vogue and People magazines, as well as her two favorite books: Fabulous Fashion for Refined Young Ladies, and Makeup Secrets of the Stars, 1955-2010.
Mary and Biff started making neat piles on the floor as they emptied the box, although both were soon distracted and Mary began flipping the pages of Makeup Secrets while Biff thumbed through a copy of Vogue.  However, Mary soon realized that at this rate, they would never accomplish what they intended, so she opened her mouth to interrupt Biff’s perusal of the article “Armani or Prada: How to Choose?, but the sound of the doorbell broke in at just that moment.

Chapter 13: In Which Lunch Arrives and Conversation Ensues

“Oh! That must be lunch!” Mary exclaimed, rising from the floor and rushing to the front door. She opened it to reveal a young man in a smart blue uniform, with the white lettering “Bart’s Bistro” embroidered over his left chest.  He held a paper bag with the Bart’s Bistro logo printed on it, and a delivery form in his other hand. 
“Hello!” Mary said.
“Hello. Are you Miss Mary Dawson?”
“Yes, I am.”
“I have a delivery for you. It is from Bart’s Bistro,” he said, lifting the bag toward Mary. “It is your lunch and there are also two bottles of water in the bag and napkins and plastic forks and spoons in case you need them.”
Mary took the bag from him and smiled. “Thank you very much.”
“You are welcome. Thank you and have a nice day. Goodbye.”
“Wait. Let me get my purse…”
“No need, Miss. The charge was put on your account and you don’t need to pay me anything right now because they will charge you later. I have many deliveries and cannot talk to you any more so have a nice day.”
“Oh, but I should give you…”
The young man shook his head. “No, do not worry because we do not accept tips. I must go to my next delivery now so goodbye.”
Mary closed the door and turned to Biff. “I hope you are hungry.”
Biff smiled and followed her to the kitchen. Mary set the bag on the table and unpacked two bottles of mineral water, two containers of Bart’s Best Fresh Garden Salad, two Turkey Club Sandwiches with Bacon, and two slices of Bart’s Berrylicious Pie.
As they began eating their lunch, Mary turned to Biff.
“Biff, there’s something I never asked you that I’ve always wondered…”
“Oh? Well, ask me anything, Mary!” Biff said, and he reached across the table to lay his hand over hers. “For you, I am an open book.”
Mary sighed for a moment, then said, “Well, I know your last name is Parker, and your first name is Bickford, even though you go by ‘Biff,’” she smiled at him lovingly.  “But what is your middle name?”
Biff stopped smiling abruptly, looking rather inexplicably panicked. “Er…why do you ask, Mary?”
“Oh, just wondering, really,” Mary said, and then laughed softly. “You see, my middle name is Anne, and my family and I always joked that my initials spell out the word ‘MAD’,” she laughed again. “So I thought it would be fun to see if your initials spell anything.”
Biff slowly removed his hand from Mary’s, then used it to run nervously through his hair, apparently forgetting how hard he’d worked to achieve the tousled windswept-but-not-really look.
“So, what’s your middle name, Biff?” Mary asked innocently.
As the inevitable moment had arrived, Biff grew paler and paler, and then let out the breath he’d been holding as he resigned himself to full disclosure.
“All right, Mary. I’ll tell you…”

(to be continued)

What could Biff’s middle name be, and why does it upset him?
Will his disclosure somehow threaten their fated love?
Will they ever unpack any more boxes?
Will anyone ever remember poor Poopsie in the back yard?

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