In need of a taxi

This is what came out when I did an exercise from Steve Alcorn’s book „How to Fix Your Novel“ on p. 33

The task was:

“Show vs. Tell

Here’s a short paragraph telling us about a character’s behavior:

Jason Smith hated cab drivers who couldn’t speak English. He also hated being late. He was out of luck on both counts.

Turn that boring paragraph of telling into a scene showing us what is Jason is like. Try to avoid telling us anything about Jason, just show us.”

The result:

Jason Smith was standing outside of a hotel in London and was losing his temper. It was the third taxi that came and took someone else, who in fact ordered a taxi after him. He planned everything meticulously many days ago. He ordered the taxi to come half an hour earlier than they usually did at this hotel. They promised that the taxi will come within ten to fifteen minutes. Now, three quarters of an hour later, he was standing at the reception desk and trying to find what was wrong.

“Maybe it is because you wished a native speaker for a driver, Sir”, said the receptionist with a slight Indian touch to his English.

“I don’t want to appear rude”, said Jason with pressure in his voice and looking imperiously at the receptionist, “but my job has enough challenges in it without dealing with a taxi driver misinterpreting my instructions to get where I want to!” “Your English is very good,” Jason added hastily but with certain reluctance in his voice, and not wishing to appear discriminating, “so if you can arrange someone with your knowledge, I will readily take him”.

The receptionist almost said: “I can’t drive you because I’m too busy here”, but stopped in time knowing that irony would be lost on this man.

Half an hour later, Jason was relieved to see a white middle-aged man stepping out of the next taxi. But as soon as he heard his name being pronounced by this man, his heart sank: “Djaisón Smitt? You want go university?”

Jason knew that his last chance to come in time to his appointment by guiding the driver through short cuts, which he thought through as plan B, was gone now. And he spent hours for putting this plan B together by surfing various map-sites.

So, all he could do now was hope that this driver would bring him to his destination before all his audience left. No, this was not all. He could think of the appropriate strategy of his taxi ride the following day.

0 thoughts on “In need of a taxi

  1. Will Jason get there in time? Will his audience be gone? I didn’t want this story to
    end. But I think Jason is what I call a “worry wart”!

    1. This “worry wart” attitude was part of me for quite some time in the past and visits me in present time to time but fortunately more rarely so. And I know a few people sharing it. It is interesting how the worries of “worry warts” then get over to people around them, whether in form of worries or annoyance or bad mood or just taking distance from the worrying person. But it is wonderful to find out that worrying does not help.
      And the opening scene with taxis leaving and taking people who came and ordered a taxi later actually happened to a colleague of mine and me last year. But the reason was different and we didn’t worry that much. Besides that, we could enjoy the wonderful view to the harbor at which the hotel is situated. And for this ride, there was a happy end: we did make it in time.

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