I’m offering you a rerun this week. It’s been busy and I couldn’t pull my thoughts together to come up with a new topic, so I took a look at some old posts. This goes back about five years. I hope you enjoy it and maybe take something away from it.
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Mysteries generally contain at least one bad guy or bully. If there’s been a murder, then chances are there’s a rotten apple hanging around somewhere. Right?
Sugar - The Bully Turned Sweetie
I had occasion to give this some thought this week, but not for the reasons you might expect. We have an eighty pound yellow Labrador retriever named Sugar. While she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, she does believe she’s an alpha dog. She’s been this way since the first day we saw her, as a small puppy. She tries to dominate everyone and everything, including bigger dogs, little dogs, and my husband and me.
Murphy - The Good Ol' Boy
Well, she’s met her match. Yesterday we brought home a ten pound yellow Lab puppy named Murphy. No matter how hard Sugar tries to dominate him, he’s not having it. If dogs could laugh in your face, that’s what he’d be doing. “Alpha dog? hahaha I don’t think so.”
Watching the interaction between them has been a learning experience, as well as amusing. In less than twenty-four hours, Little Miss Alpha has gone from boss to mothering. The most he’ll let her get away with is “herding” him. Ten pounds vs. eighty pounds, and the ten pounder wins?
When you’re writing a bad guy or a bully into a story, chances are he’s pushy, either physically or verbally. Stalking is bullying, and so are anonymous phone calls, emails or letters, along with comments on the Internet. It doesn’t have to be a face-to-face confrontation.
Picture a really big guy standing with his arms folded across his chest, a take-no-prisoners expression on his face, and his feet are spread apart. He’s standing very straight, almost leaning back a little, and he’s looking down his nose at a smaller man or woman. He’s being a bully; trying to intimidate this other person. Now let’s say the other person places their hands firmly on their hips, spreads their own feet apart and looks up at the bully with disgust. One of several things could happen, but the two that come to mind are that the bully will punch the other person in the face, or he’ll lower his arms and go look for someone else that he can intimidate. Of course, he could just go to the closest bar and have a beer while contemplating where he went wrong and wondering if he’s losing his touch.
Years ago a woman started receiving obscene phone calls – another form of bullying. By the third phone call, this woman decided she wasn’t going to be intimidated. When the phone rang again and the caller made his newest lewd comment, she innocently said, “What?” He said it again, louder, and she said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you.” He repeated his comments, almost yelling by this time. She said, “Is there something wrong with you? Speak up!” After a couple of nasty words, the caller hung up, apparently frustrated. He never called again.
Yeah, that was my mother. She used common sense and words to end the harassment.
I guess my point is that there are all kinds of ways to deal with bad guys and bullies. Some of the most unique confrontations take place in fiction. However, some of the really good stories take place in real life. No, we can’t always get rid of a bad guy in the same ways that were mentioned above, but in a book we can do it any way we like. As an author, I can write any result I want to, and I can make it work. Whether or not it’s realistic depends on an author’s writing style.
Do you have a bully or a bad guy in your life? Use your common sense when dealing with that person. Simply walk away if you can, but don’t give them (figuratively speaking) the ammunition to shoot you unless you’ve taken leave of your senses. No, I’m not talking about physical ammunition. I’m talking about playing into their hands. Don’t do it.
Until next time, I hope you have a good week and that no bullies step into your path and block your way.
(By the way, Sugar is now 90 pounds and Murphy is 112 pounds. She still rules the roost, more or less, but he ignores her. They’ve become something akin to best friends. Their pictures are on most of the Bogey Man book covers.)
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