January 3 means “The Meet Cute” by Derek Osborne.
“It has been quite a week. Usually the boat is down by the islands this time of year but a series of contracts is keeping them up in Miami. They’re shooting two feature films and a Miami Blue episode. The Miami Blue crew, in particular, knows how to party.”
Here, we are dropped into character immediately, and invited to swim our way toward context. It’s an effective technique, particularly for a story centered strongly on character, which this one surely is. We meet Max, a widower in charge of this particular boat, as he is deluged by the demands of family (his sister, Pam, who is concerned that he has been diagnosed with cancer), career (docking this party yacht), and social pressure (these stars expect him to be cool, and he’s sort of, kind of, maybe in love with one of them).
Story action consists mainly of Max’s attempt to dock while simultaneously carrying on a phone conversation with his sister, and trying to catch the eye of the starlet he admires. It’s a lot more compelling than it sounds, which is a real credit to Mr. Osborne’s prose. There’s a good balance of light and dark moments to keep the action fresh, and the final twist, a real slap in the face to Max’s plans, sets us up nicely for the next installment. I like this story very much so far, mainly because I empathize with Max.
Three stories, three different approaches. I’m loving the variety. How about you?