Sacrificial Lamb: character sketches and synopsis

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The following are some sketches and thoughts on the Sacrificial Lamb story. I know I don’t usually do this (because I end up not writing the story and I’m left with only outlines and useless thoughts as evidence I even thought up a story), but I wanted to rewrite the story (at least to add a conflict, so I can say it is a story and not a vignette), and I didn’t know what the conflict was. I still don’t know, but I have a few ideas. This is where I usually provide the warning about drivel and you’re not going to gain much insight into David or life by reading the following. You’ll also wonder why you wasted a good five and a half minutes of your life reading this entry. Just consider yourself warned.

Esther Lamb

Esther is forty-two years old. She’s has straight black hair that falls to her shoulders, small breasts, and a sharp nose. Her face is thin and looks like she’s had all the air sucked out of it. There are black circles under her eyes, which she can’t hide no matter what types of make-up or chemicals she tries. For the past five years, she has worked as an account manager for Mr. Jenkins at Jenkins Inc, an insurance reseller. Esther has been successful with her clients using a combination of her sex appeal and never-take-no attitude. She emanates energy and jumps from idea to idea, never settling to fully develop or implement the ideas.

(Originally, I made Esther to be an evil-ish character. I’ve included two versions of her: evil Esther, and not-so-evil Esther. I’m not sure which I’ll go with (although I’m leaning toward the not-so-evil because I don’t know want a clearly evil and good (Fred) character. I want both sides to have a chance and to pull the reader between them. I hate black and white characters.) What I won’t do is provide a cheesy ending to make everyone feel good, like Mr. Jenkins deciding to keep both Esther and Fred, or Esther and Fred leave to start a business—ugh.

Esther has been married to Leonard for fifteen years. She does not want children. She tells herself it’s because she doesn’t want to put on the weight (she admits her vanity), but the real reason is she’s selfish and doesn’t want to share Leonard’s time or affection with a child. Leonard desperately wants a child, but remains loyal to Esther and respects her wishes. Leonard travels often for his job and leaves Esther alone.

Evil Esther: Esther began cheating on Leonard before their marriage began, and has had many boyfriends during their fifteen years together. Leonard has always been faithful, but if you asked Esther, she would tell you she believes Leonard cheats on her when he travels. It is one way she balms her conscience about the cheating.

Not-so-evil Esther: Esther has never cheated on Leonard before Fred. She’s lonely and beginning to doubt whether she’s still attractive. While she’s selfish about not wanting children, it’s more because she’s so desperate for affection because of family problems (e.g., adopted, abused). Leonard travels often for his work, and Esther is beginning to doubt whether Leonard is cheating on her. (He’s not.) She feels her youth slipping away from her, and while she’s accepted that she’s not going to have to children, she wants

She started an affair with Fred on a whim. She’s like that: an idea strikes her and she delves in, not worrying about how it affects the people around her. Fred hovered around Esther for many years, and she knew he was stricken with her. Fred was comfortable around men, but when he was around any woman—especially Esther—he turned to jelly.

Evil Esther: Esther took advantage of Fred’s inexperience, and although older and not in her prime anymore, it wasn’t difficult for her to finish her seduction of him. Once she accomplished this, she grew bored of him and was ready for her next challenge. Perhaps she tossed him aside, or played with him now and again. She readily gives him up while trying to save her job with Mr. Jenkins.

Not-so-Evil Esther: Searching for her lost youth, Esther reluctantly begins an affair with Fred. Fred’s interest in Esther, while clumsy, is endearing to Esther, and she begins to feel young and beautiful again. Her feelings about Leonard’s cheatings have festered for many years, and she has convinced herself that she was one of those wives who had to live knowing that her husband was cheating on her (think Bill Clinton). She felt that her relationship with Fred was payback. Following this, she’s going to find out that Leonard never cheated on her. There’s a conflict! (Of course, it’s the trite love triangle, but I never said it would be an original conflict or story.) How does Esther find out about Leonard? Does Leonard approach Mr. Jenkins? Perhaps it’s Mr. Jenkins, an old friend of Leonard’s family, learns of Esther’s cheating and tells Esther that Leonard has never cheated on her.

Fred Sanders

Fred is thirty-three years old. He’s skinny except for his stomach, which has grown larger each year. He’s self-conscious about its growth and hides it with baggy clothing and low-riding pants. Fred hasn’t had much luck with women, and anytime any woman showed interest in him, he smothered her until she ran away screaming. He has done well as an account manager for the past five years (Mr. Jenkins hired him right after Esther). He’s a great man’s man, able to talk and tell entertaining stories talk about sports, women, cars, anything male related. Of course, he makes up or borrows all of his women stories from Penthouse, but while his clients and friends know this, they don’t hold it against him. After working at Jenkins Inc. for six-months, Mr. Jenkins realized Fred’s rapport with male clients, and Mr. Jenkins has arranged for Fred to work exclusively with male clients. When a client changes its contact from male to female, Mr. Jenkins gives Fred a new client. Fred has accepted this arrangement as for the best, but is irked by his weakness with women.

Fred fell head over heels in love with Esther when she showed an interest in him. That was all it took for him: someone to show an interest in him. His lack of confidence around women is what has kept him without a long-term girlfriend. While his friends and clients set him up on many dates, because of his doting and inexperience, he was never able to remain with a girl for long.

Jerry Jenkins

Jerry is sixty-eight years old and inherited Jenkins Inc. from his father, who inherited from his father, also a Jerry Jenkins, and a pioneer behind the reinsurance business. Jerry believes in old school values and watches the interactions of his employees closely. He has met and respects Leonard, Esther’s husband, and believes Esther has been a loyal wife to Leonard. Jerry trusts Esther and Fred, and holds them up as model employees to his workforce.

Plot: Simultaneous telling of Mr. Jenkins meeting Esther, and Mr. Jenkins meeting Fred; Fred’s meeting takes place after Esther’s meeting but (like I said) is showed simultaneously. Mr. Jenkins confronts Esther about cheating on her husband, who is a friend of the family. I will intersperse flashbacks of Esther and Fred’s relationship.

Conflict: Esther has to decide on Fred or Leonard. I still haven’t figured out where Mr. Jenkins falls in on this. Will he fire her if she doesn’t choose Leonard? So many fucking open questions. Why would she stay with Fred? Is she in love with him? Is she scared he’ll get fired? Is she trying to protect him? Is Leonard going to appear? There needs to be a buildup to the choice, whatever that choice is and whomever I decide will make it.

That was a terribly unsatisfying synopsizing session. It feels almost like the ridiculously bad Pink Sweater sessions.