Today’s assignment for Start Writing Fiction was to develop one of our observations from the last exercise into a character. I picked the woman who had her dog leashed to the treadmill in her garage while she was lounging around on her phone, and came up with the following:
Lauren: A Character Study
The sound of pebbles being kicked and scattered along the edge of the street is the only warning she has that someone is coming. Lauren quickly looks up from her phone, unconsciously hunching down a bit toward the edge of the bench she’s sitting on. It’s just a stranger taking a walk. Still, she feels the thrill of getting away with something. Rocky, her staunch Rottweiler, barks a fierce warning from the treadmill, unconsciously speeding up as if to chase the near-trespasser off. Now, suddenly out of sync with the quick-moving belt, he stumbles briefly before regaining his steady pace.
She wonders if perhaps she should not have tied Rocky’s leash to the grip bar with so little give. What if he fell? Just as quickly as she thinks it, she dismisses it. Rocky will be fine. She has to beat this level of Candy Crush before Aunt Sally does. The stranger on the street slows, frowns, but doesn’t stop. Obviously disapproving. Lauren feels a slight tremor of self-consciousness, far below the surface of awareness. She hunches a bit more toward the edge of the bench, wishes the garage door worked so she could close it. She tugs her too-tight gray yoga pants up on her waist, pulls at the sleeves of her tee shirt. It says “Shut Up & Work Out.” It’s a little too small, too.
Rocky finally stops barking; the stranger has moved on. Lauren finishes her level and switches apps to check Rocky’s step count. Not quite at the magic 10,000, yet, but Lauren’s name is inching toward the top of her coworkers’ weekly challenge. “Good boy, Rocky,” she says. He looks at her, dog-smile, tongue flopping out. Her Fitbit bounces against his chest where she’s tied it to his collar.