Vignettes For the Win

Okay, so, fun fact, my characterization lately has kind of … how to put it delicately?

Sucked.

Well, that’s how I feel, anyway. Problem: all my characters sound like me, which is NOT the goal–I’d actually like some diversity in my characters, seeing as how they’re supposed to be a diverse group of people.

So, I’m going to start a series of vignettes; basically, random characters, random scenarios, very varied (heh, very varied), and, hopefully, that will improve my character building skills in general.

So, here we go: The Vineyard.

I mopped the sweat off of my face with the collar of my shirt and pulled my wide-brimmed hat lower. I heaved a sigh as I broke the next bunch of grapes off of the vine and tossed it with a hollow thump into my bucket.

A combination of the thick, sticky air and my own sweat was causing my thin clothes to stick to me like a second skin. I pulled at my shirt, and as it peeled away from my torso, a brief gust of air temporarily relieved the suffocation. It snapped back as I reached for another group of grapes, however, and I was again trapped in the broiler of my own clothes.

As I continued the monotony of cut, pull, thump, I felt the beads of sweat roll slowly down my face and drip onto my shirt and shoulders, etching an itching path in their wake. 

I again raised my collar and mopped my face, the damp cloth doing little to dry my face.

“Sure is a hot one, huh?” 

I glanced to my left, and the light tone that lay there. A young woman, brown haired, with the sun touched, scored skin of a field worker was the owner of the question.

“Sure is,” I mumbled back gruffly, my eyes darting back to the grapes and my hands following soon after.

“You’re gonna scratch up your hands that way, you know,” the woman continued. “You really oughtta wear a pair of gloves. Company policy, too, just as an added bonus.” I glanced back over and saw a small smile that matched the hint of wry humor in her tone.

 “Too hot,” I said, and gave a brief nod in the direction of the leather gloves that lay at my feet.

“Yeah,” agreed the woman. “I can practically feel my fingers pruning up in these things.”

I felt a small chuckle escape from my lips. The thump of my grapes into my bucket was less pronounced, signaling its proximity to fullness.

“Pretty gross. You know, I might join your little glove rebellion.”

I didn’t chuckle this time, but I did glance over again and give her a smile of affirmation. 

“Not a big talker?”

“Nope.”

“Huh. Good worker, though, looks like.”

I shrugged.

“Well, better than me, anyway, I just keep on talking! I think not talking and working is a better deal than talking and not working.” Even so, I heard a thump-thump as she tossed two bunches of grapes into her bucket.

The woman and I worked in amicable silence after that, until the harsh whistle signaled the end of the shift.

I tugged on my abandoned gloves and started to the truck, lugging my bucket beside me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the woman at a half-walk, half-jog coming up next to me.

I smiled and continued walking. We loaded our grapes onto the truck, and as it pulled away, the woman turned to me and held out her hand with a smile.

“Caroline.”


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