Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Freewrite of the Week: Party Lines and Party Fouls

Everyday eavesdropping, ca. 1957
by Jacqueline Fauni

Still looking for a story gold mine? Try a crazy convention from a golden era!

In PILLOW TALK, arguably the best of the Hudson/Day movies, Rock and Doris demonstrated the hilarity that can ensue from an arrangement we’d probably find peculiar today, but was actually a commonplace reality in the 50s. The arrangement I’m referring to, of course, is that of the party line.

Back in the day, telephone subscribers in different households would share a line, and were consequently subjected to the pitfalls that came with sharing that line. If one co-subscriber wanted to make a call, she would have to pray that the other wasn’t tying up the line with one of his many flavors of the week. And if one co-subscriber was on the phone, the other could very easily pick up the phone and listen in on (and even participate in) their co-subscriber’s conversation. Imagine the infinite possibilities -- the frustration, the intrigue, the calamity, the comedy, the party fouls -- that resulted from such a simple device!

The prompt: Write a scene in which two of your characters have to share a party line.

Let the eavesdropping, gossip, and other delightful shenanigans commence!