Good Narrative Principles

Just Ask


Charlie’s Mom used to tell Charlie that all he had to do was ask. Ask the pretty girl if she wants to go to the prom. Ask the merchant eager to make a sale if that’s the best he can do. Ask your boss for a raise. The thing about asking is that it takes a certain amount of courage and forward momentum. Like changing lanes in traffic that’s come to a halt, it’s hard to frame the nervy question when you’re idling. In lieu of asking, Charlie preferred to walk away. But this Mother’s Day, ten years after his Mom passed, Charlie decided to honor her memory by asking for something at least once a day. He started small, asking his Intern to log the raw footage so that he might have dinner with the pretty girl in the office. Then he asked the pretty girl out. Over dinner, Charlie asked her what she was doing this summer and would she like to join him on a trip to Shanghai.  The next day he asked his Travel Agent for the best deal she could swing on airfare. And he got it. Two round trips with five connecting flights for a grand total of forty-nine hours each way.  The next morning Charlie rode the elevator up with the pretty girl and asked her before they parted would she prefer a nice quiet weekend in the country. Just the two of them. She smiled with relief. Charlie sighed, glad then that his experiment in asking had run its course.

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