Dialogue Prompt – Dagger in Purse

The first thing that catches my attention about this dialogue prompt from Rooftop Writing Prompts is the contrast between a dagger and a purse. Obviously there is also the difference between a knife and a dagger as well, but the image of a dagger hiding away in someone’s purse is what gets my attention first.

I imagine that these people probably know each other at least reasonably well. This is not a conversation between someone checking you at a security point. Or if it is, someone isn’t doing their job right. It’s also not most people’s first reaction to seeing a dagger, or a knife as the first person thinks it is, that you ask the person if you should ask about it.

Normally you are going to report it to someone or take some sort of action either to get out of the way or to remove it from the person who has it. Not knowing someone’s motives with a weapon of any sort tends to make people nervous even if there is no reason for it.

So we have two people who know each other at least reasonably well, enough that the first person isn’t concerned about the second person’s reaction to the question. We also have someone with a dagger in, presumably, her purse. We don’t know why the dagger is there. Maybe it’s always there, but it’s also possible that this is some sort of “special” occasion.

It’s possible, but unlikely based off the response, that the dagger is for opening letters or cutting oranges or something. Someone I know was very excited to get a small dagger as a gift many years ago. It’s very cute and has a very nice sheath. I would not be surprised to learn she keeps it on her much of the time. What does she use it for? Well, it’s a letter opener, so that.

The more likely reasoning has to do with someone who is about to get stabbed. Or the second speaker is going some place where getting stabbed is a likely outcome, so it’s for defense.

I can easily imagine the second character as an unapologetic assassin, going to high class functions to put an end to targets who are harder to reach than most are. Maybe she cares about if her targets are bad guys or not. Maybe she doesn’t. Either way she’s not going to let her target get away. What kind of characters do you see when you read this prompt? Which character stands out more? Is it the one with the dagger? Or is it the one who doesn’t know a knife from a dagger? And do you think she really doesn’t know the difference? Or is she playing some sort of game?

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