Character limits

Several years ago I worked at a gas station. Behind the register there was a counter where we counted out our drawers. There was an older woman who worked there who liked to talk. One night I worked the shift after her, so while she was counting out her drawer she gave me a rundown of everything that happened on her shift. One of the big events was a guy came in looking for someplace. She didn’t know where it was, so to help the guy out, she called 9-1-1. I had been half listening to her, but when she said that my jaw figuratively hit the floor. She was turned away from me, so she didn’t see my reaction and continued with her tale. I convinced myself that I had just heard her incorrectly.

A couple of weeks later, she was again telling me about her day while counting out her drawer. The big event for that day was a stray dog running around. So she “called the police – the non-emergency number …” I guessed I had heard her correctly when she said she had called 9-1-1 for directions, and I guessed she had received a talking to by the police about that.

The reason I told this story on a writing blog, is because there are always stories of people calling 9-1-1 for directions, because they didn’t get their chicken McNuggets, or to report that someone had stolen their drugs. In the real world there are people who are – for the lack of a better term – stupid. But what about the fictitious world? If I wrote a story about someone calling 9-1-1 for directions, I bet a lot of readers would criticize me for using unrealistic characters.

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One Response to “Character limits”

  1. LOL! I bet you’re right! That’s a really good point.

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