Showing posts from June, 2009

The Thin Man

The cottage is silent and deserted, and rain falls through holes in the roof, delicately touching my shoes. I recall exceptional times, and exceptional people to whom this ruin was once home.

I met Arthur for the first time at the grocery store. He was thin, and wore his clothes like an old, wire, coat hanger. Though much older than me, we talked, wherever, and whenever, we met. In fact, he worked along with my father as a farm labourer. Arthur treated all women with courtesy - an old-fashioned trait, seemly, by some men today - and had an easy, relaxing disposition. He was full of commonsense, and not an inkling of bitterness permeated his body.

One day, Arthur, told me about the night he first met Ellen. I listened intently as we sat beside a stream; the glint of the sun playing with the steady current. His first recollection of Ellen was her kicking him in the face. It was during a dance held in a local church hall some thirty years earlier. Ellen's right foot had caught Art…

Can a Perpetrator of Crime change Him or Herself?

Can a perpetrator of crime change him or herself? I doubt it. I'm in my father's home. My home, also, before I married. I'm not frightened: I'm angry, frustrated, disheartened. Empathetic to the despair, pain and sorrow my father is feeling. What would my mother have thought? I sense, not for the first time, the total indifference of the universe. I'm not ambiguous about my love for my father who is awake in the next bedroom. Is he another victim of apathy? Are we both looking into the same abyss?

From my bed I see the dim colour of the walls, the white of the ceiling, the flowery curtains. A world of fragrances and faint sounds, mainly the ticking and chiming of clocks. Random memories appear. I want to see my mother's face. I get up quietly and fetch a photograph from a sideboard downstairs in the living room. While the black and white photograph captures my mother in stubborn mood she is undeniably beautiful. The photograph radiates her strength of will, …

'Dance, Boy, Dance!' - A Play in One Act (Part One of Three)

TESS: early 20's - a confident, vibrant and cocky female. She understands life has more to offer than her present existence.
JOHN: early 20’s - though well-dressed in a suit and tie he appears submissive and nervous. His conversation and actions display considerable unease.
ROSS:  mid 50's -  a part-time lecturer and unsuccessful writer. He possesses a dry, acerbic wit. His marital status is ambiguous even though he wears a wedding ring.

The action is continuous and takes place in a bar.
Early afternoon. The present.

When part-time barmaid TESS and a middle-aged customer ROSS are joined in the bar by JOHN, the divisions between fantasy and reality become vague. None of the characters remain untouched by the events that unfold on a quiet afternoon.

ACT ONE (Part One)

[TESS is behind the bar wiping the counter. ROSS (the only customer) is sitting on a bar stool. He lifts his glass - half-full of brandy - to enable TESS to wipe the counter.]

'Dance, Boy, Dance!' - A Play in One Act (Part Two of Three)

ACT ONE (Part Two)

JOHN: I’d rather stand ... If you don’t mind?
ROSS: Mind? I don’t have a mind. I lost mine a long time ago. [Pause] No, that’s not right. I hocked it to a pawnshop. It's still there in the window for all to see. 
[BESS returns from the storeroom and sees JOHN standing at the counter.]
ROSS: I’d like to buy my fresh young friend a drink. I've never seen anyone so clean. He has - what can I say? - the most extraordinary fluttering blue eyes. Here stands a sensitive, young man completely sound in body and soul. Naturally, I'm consumed with envy and despair. He reminds me why I keep a low profile.
BESS:  [to ROSS] And what’s the young man’s name? We haven’t been properly introduced.
ROSS: [to JOHN]: What did you say your name was?
JOHN: I ... er ... didn’t. [Pause] It’s ... John ... 
ROSS: The nice young man's name is John
BESS:  Well, John. What would you like to drink? [Quickly, with a smile and a raised hand.] Don’t tell me. Let me guess ...…

'Dance, Boy, Dance!' - A Play in One Act - (Part Three of Three)

ACT ONE (Part Three)

BESS [softly, to JOHN]: Come here.

JOHN [suspicious]: Why?

BESS:  For God’s sake, just come here!

[JOHN moves closer to the counter.]

BESS:  Give me your socks and shoes.

JOHN [incredulously]: You’re kidding me? [Silence] You’re making a fool of me? . . . I’m right? [He briefly stares at ROSS who also appears baffled.]

BESS [playfully]:  Don’t be anxious. I’m harmless ... really! [Pause] I’ll explain later, but you must trust me [Slowly] That is, if you want a conversation?

[JOHN shakes his head in disbelief, and takes off his shoes and socks. He picks them up and gives them to BESS. She places them under the counter.]

BESS:  Now your coat, shirt and tie.

ROSS [cheerful, but puzzled]: This is ... dare I say ... wonderfully bizarre, even decadent!

[JOHN takes off his coat, shirt and tie, and hands them to BESS. She places them - with the other items - under the counter.]

BESS:  Now your trousers!

JOHN [embarrassed]: Why ... are ... you teasing me?

BESS:  The tr…

A Passion to Endure a Lifetime

What age does one have to be to form a passion that will endure a life time?

During the primeval darkness of puberty I began an ebullient love affair with reading, music, TV shows, humour, and discovering erogenous zones: anything involving an armpit. Language and music seemed to delve deep into my soul and fire my emotions. Though childish for my age, and with a restricted ability to understand the rules of grammar and vocabulary, I soldiered on.

Then I discovered melody, harmony, rhythm, phrasing and imagination (not only in music) but in folk tales, novels, poetry, and leg-wrestling. I read voraciously, but the story was overly optimistic, so I opted for Anne of Green Gables. The one thing in life I've never regretted.

In this new era of my life I have morphed into a watchful observer. When I'm not at home, perhaps shopping or swimming in a drained pool, I hold a 'wood effect country birch' venetian blind in front of my face. I've been arrested five times as a P…

A Depressed Evergreen Plant

Aimee Kerrigan bringing home the harvest
I'll get straight to it. I've a depressed evergreen plant on my hands - O.K., it's picked up certain bad vibes from me from across the room. The leaves have turned Caramel Brown which happens to be the name of an ex-girlfriend. Everything I look at reminds me of Caramel, especially her photographs. I used to call her CB for short. She called me, Loser.

Anyhow, my evergreen plant is starting to get up later each day, demanding coffee and the newspaper. It habitually complains about the cold weather, and believes our home is full of seal-hunters' dressed as egg white. It's worse at night. The evergreen plant is scared of the dark and has to sleep in my room. The funny thing is: I purchased the plant to brighten up my life.

* When I was young I detested uncles visiting our family home, sometimes with their irritating wives. Some were fat, bearded, spoke in loud voices, smelt of whiskey and smoked cigars - the men weren't mu…