I can’t explain why, but I woke up with this in my head:
Like everyone else, the caricaturist had good days and bad days. On good days, the people would laugh and clap their hands, touch his shoulder, would point to their hairdos or their cocked grins and say, “Oh, that’s me exactly! That’s me to a tee!” On bad days — and he’d learned to see this coming, even as he sketched them — they would scowl at themselves when he’d finished. Their noses were too big. Their breasts were too prominent. “Who the hell do you think you are?” they’d say. They’d demand their money back, and he’d give it to them; then, in revenge, he’d hang their discarded portraits in his sample gallery for everyone to see.
A lot of my stories have started out as dreams. The opening section of my novella, the opening chapter of my dissertation novel, and a handful of other pieces published and unpublished came to me in dreams, sometimes wholly formed. It’s a weird sensation, and I haven’t had it for a long while, but I’ve learned to keep a notebook handy to record these odd narratives or character sketches or bits of language, just in case they become something later.
I don’t know if this short character sketch will become anything useful (I know even less about where he came from — why on earth was I dreaming this? and in these words almost exactly?), but I have a good feeling about this guy and the directions he might go. I’m definitely going to follow him for a while, and if it develops into something fun, I might post the results here later. (If it develops into something truly good, I might wait and send it out for publication.)
But for now it’s just a beginning, which means you’re free to take the reins and see where this guy leads you as well. If you get somewhere, you’re welcome to share your story with me! I’d love to see the different directions this guy might take.