A plot idea – a scene of Suspense

A woman holding a child’s hand tells me that she needs to make a call.

“Do you have a cell phone I could use?” she asks.

I answer, “Tell me the number and I’ll dial.”

“No,” she insists. “I’m going to dial it myself. Please.”

But I insist. She relents, I dial, and the call goes through.

I start to hand her the phone, and she screams. Quickly I enter my car, lock the door, and call 911.

I describe this incident to the emergency operator and add, “This seems strange. Was she signaling a partner to abort their plan for a crime?”

Police officers eventually arrive. They listen to me in a desultory way. They do perk up when I suggest that something nefarious might have been in the making.

“Perhaps she was going to run off with my phone, I would chase her, and her confederate was going to steal my car?”

The officers file a report. Eventually, a detective contacts me. “Can you help identify this woman? Your incident may fit a pattern of recent crimes.”

End Subplot



A dialogue line that could have been

In Plain Sight – TV Series (2008–2012)

In an early episode – perhaps even in the pilot – U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon wants to relax next to her pool. She has tried to leave behind her boorish, hick background, but her mooching mother and sister have run away from a jammed-up situation to stay with her “awhile.”

Mary tries to be the adult in a relationship with a mother who has never grown up. Mary’s negotiating with Jinx (her mother) develops into a noisy squabble.

Jinx realizes that neighbors might hear their raised voices, and their poor behavior may reflect badly on them.

“Shhh.” Jinx tries to lower the noise level – which is really her own noise level.

“People will think that we’re trailer trash,” Jinx squawks.

Mary’s rejoinder is lame. The writers were having a bad day.

Mary’s telling response could have been, “But Mom, we are trailer trash.”