How The Love Bribe came to be

I’ve been working on a side-project for a few weeks now, cleaning it up and hoping this will make its way into publication. I thought I’d share how I came to write it and a little bit of the beginning. You may recall from my last post that I used a dialogue exercise from it.

My husband, David, is one of my biggest supporters. He encouraged me to go to Hollins and pursue my MFA. He asks me every night if I wrote. He buys me books on writing and prompt books, and does everything he can to keep me going. It means the world to me. Everyone should have someone who believes in them so deeply.

One day, he found a random prompt site online, picked one, and told me to write the prompt. I don’t even remember the site or the exact wording of the prompt any more. What I remember of it: You are being audited and trying to bride the auditor. The auditor accepts a bribe, but in a twist you do not expect.

I wrote the prompt, and David liked it so much he told me to keep writing the book. Here’s the beginning for you to enjoy. I’d love to know if you are interested in reading it if/when it gets published!

“I am Edward Brayford from the IRS, I am here – ” he continued in his monotone voice to recite the laws, god, and country who were behind him on this quest to free the world of scumbags like me.

Even sitting at my dining table, his tall and lean build were evident behind a stiff, steel-gray suit. He spoke in a crisp, deep voice using the kind of proper grammar that made English teachers clap and most other people’s teeth hurt. I assumed his short, dark hair and features came from an Asian heritage, but as he was here to investigate me I knew curiosity about his family would be a mistake.

“Can I offer you anything?” I stood as if to go to the kitchen. “Water, beer … Money?”

Edward’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at a paper he produced from his briefcase. “Mr. Trento…”

I chuckled. “What’s with the formality? Paul’s fine.”

His eyes flicked up at me and seemed to blaze bullets. I slid back into my seat.

“Mr. Trenton,” he emphasized, “Please produce the documents.”

They were on the table right in front of him. I plastered a goofy smile on my face and picked them up and set them down in the same spot. I couldn’t let him get to me.

He grabbed them and began flipping through them. “Your ink is fading.”

“Yeah, ink costs money and I am a little tight right now … I’m sure you know how that is.” I tried jovial but my disgust came out full swing.

His facial features twitched into an odd mixture of more rage and mischief that gave him the look of one of those scary Chinese opera masks. “I do not, Mr. Trenton.”

“You don’t need some green?” I asked as nonchalantly through gritted teeth.

His eyes became iron. “Mr. Trenton, are you trying to bribe me?”

I pursed my lips, then shrugged. “Yep.”

“That takes moxie.”

I tried my best Brave Knight in Flawless Armor look. It always seemed to end with a girl twirling around and galloping off into the distance far, far away — from me.

“You’re what, in your 50’s?” he began.

“Hey, wow now, give a guy some credit! I grayed early.”

“Listen, my mom is very lonely. She persistently calls me to come down to her salon, or go grocery shopping with her, or look at photos with her. I’ve about had it with that woman.”

“Now listen, I think you are a little too young and new at this—”

“Mr. Trenton I have more money than I can spend. Bribing me with that will not work. You will take my mom on a date, an expensive date at fancy restaurant, every day for a week. Do you understand? I do not want that woman calling me for an entire week!”

I stood, stunned.

He packed up his things, including my papers, and stuck his hand out. I took it, rather begrudgingly, and he saw himself out.

He left something in my hand; a card. A phone number scribbled next to the name Mary Brayford.

What do you think happens next?

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