A Story by El Narrador

Tommy tries to convince Ken to lend him money. This is an exercise in character voices.


“What’re you doing, man? You even listening to me?”

“Y-Yeah,” Ken put the butter knife down guiltily, “yeah, I’m listening to you.”

Ken’s eyes darted from Tommy’s face to the 3 Musketeers bar on the table repeatedly. Half of the chocolate bar was cut into six equally sized slices.

Tommy furrowed his brow, looking at it, “Why you do that?”

“I’ve, uh,” Ken cleared his throat, “I’ve got O.C.D.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Tommy’s eyes widened to normal, “you’re, like, hyper and stuff, right?”

“No, that’s A.D.D.”


Ken reached over to take up one up one of the candy bar slices he made between his thumb and index finger, but stopped short. He then changed the angle of his fingers to take them up again, and stopped short a second time. He tried a third time.

“Yo, my dude, eat that thing already!”

Ken pulled both his hands back and folded them on his lap under the table, “No, no, I think I’ll eat it later.”

“Whateva, man. Yo, are you gonna help me or not?”

Ken raised an eyebrow at Tommy, “With what?”

Tommy’s eyes went expressionless and he cocked his head sideways, “My man, I jus-“

“Oh yeah!” Ken jumped up in his seat slightly, “Okay, okay, I remember now.”


“Hmm,” Ken scratched the stubble on his chin, and then scanned the room with his eyes for a moment, “I don’t know about this, Tommy.”

“C’mon, man, I need this!”

“Yeah,” Ken looked away and then back, “but that’s a lot of money.”

Tommy inched in closer, “But you got it, though!”

“It doesn’t mean I can spare it.” Ken moved away slightly.

“C’mon, man,” Tommy knocked on the table with a closed fist, “we family!”

Ken looked away again, “Yeah.”

“What you think, I’m not gonna pay it back?”

“No, no,” Ken looked back at Tommy, his features softening, “It’s just…”

“Just what, man? Speak!”

“Look why don’t you talk to my dad?”

“No!” Tommy planted his elbows on the table firmly and shook his head against the palms of his hands, “You know your dad won’t help me.”

“I’ll talk to him.”

Tommy turned back toward Ken, took him by the arms and began shaking him, “Ken, c’mon! You the only one I can go to!”

Looking away, Ken gently pulled his arm from Tommy’s grasp. He then turned his face slightly to look at him, “I, uh…”

“What?” Tommy asked meekly.

Looking down at the partially sliced candy bar in front of him, Ken picked up the butter knife, “Let me think about it.”

Tommy’s shoulders sunk and he walked away, while Ken proceeded slicing the other half of the 3 Musketeers bar.

© 2014 El Narrador

Author's Note

El Narrador
This was a voice exercise I picked up from an article in a literary journal. Tell me if you think I was successful in creating unique voices for my characters.

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Added on May 10, 2014
Last Updated on May 10, 2014
Tags: Exercises, dialogue, characters, voice


El Narrador
El Narrador

Yonkers, NY

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