Fiction or so, Plays, Works in Progress

Play:

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]”

(or, Beady Yes’m)

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]” explores a young woman copy editor’s concern and fascination when she and her male copy editor coworker sneak late at night into their office, the publisher of “Ending Violence Everywhere”, or “E.V.E.,” newsletter–to discover their pair of editors passed out in full bondage gear in the copy room. Over their leather-clad bodies, she espouses her morals, questions them, and argues with her fellow lowly copy editor colleague, with whom of course she “vascillitates” in and out of a solely work-centered relationship. The show culminates in, well, I won’t spoil it, but she and he experience multiple feminist political repugnancies and simultaneous liberation, plus, everyone’s a little queer for toner, right? She essentially embodies the sex culture wars, from Dworkin and MacKinnon to Camille Paglia and Pat Califia, though the latter are perhaps more attributable to the mise-en-scene of the freeze-frame editors-in-chief in leather.

 

The play is currently under revisions from its college production at the University of New Mexico in the Robert M. Hartung Words Afire New Plays Festival.

 

 

 

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Aside
Fiction or so

Grave Vigor

Arrival

     Point blank, she couldn’t get more serious. It escaped her why the Consultant demanded a sharper certainty.  Only the misled could reach the need for consult off the mark. And she was anything but. The guides and referrals were far too careful to send a wannabe to the final sherpa, the wizard behind the curtain, to Door Number Three. She knew the Consultant arranged the pathways and the people, and vetted them at every step. Or the highest; she figured the Grand Poobah herself must have minions on the staircase.

     Which, she realized, colored her unimpressed. The Consultant, she mused, doesn’t trust her own process? Why laser-focus the network only to find laxity in its results?

     She did not realize she had seen lions before, yes, in picture books as a child and from the comfort of her den.

 

     Initiate

     “Come,” spoke the Consultant after a long pause during which she stared at Breune, bemused without letting it show of the newest recruit’s bemused look in the face of the greatest honor that so many hoped to acheive, the opportunity of a lifetime, or nine.  A small beat and she was off, swiftly, to the back offices, to the high, floodlit studio. She needed not to glance behind; not even a fool would not follow. Not that fools had ever stood before her in this atrium. But one could never be too sure.

     But she would deal with that later.

     The new recruit followed, with urgency, oh yes, but with a touch of something, not the swiftness of her own smooth feet and brain. Already the recruit might be annoying her; it was an eagerness that displayed itself unseemily. It was on the verge of sloppiness, the Consultant determined, and that is what bothered her, struck her nose as ugly. But posthaste, of course, she continued on. Slightly she increased her speed. Her shoes, though with soles of soft material, slapped on the tile floor, until she felt as though simply by walking she’d swept the entire hallway.

     They reached the studio archway.

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Fiction or so

Road – part one

Gristly cast-offs spontaneously spawn, like sprouts on a spud, forgiving their makers with only the dust of the garden or farm.  These dirt roads called for nothing but a little sparkle of gravel along the way, but you couldn’t help call out for me, for more.  What if only the past heard you, and not the future?

Not many roads went on this long. This one was a sneaking sandy son-of-a-bitch from the get-go.  There wasn’t much to learn along it, just tufts of grass and weeds and trash, and wanna-be mile markers staring at the sky.  Often the bottles could not even finish breaking, and pointed open-mouthed at the little roll of a shoulder lumping along, or down the embankment towards the ditch.  Some sludge sometimes crawled up from the ditch and splashed across the road, too, spurting its flat elongated limbs and fingers in muddy viscous graffiti almost to the median.

A lonely road is obvious and long, can’t help but induce your company into its solitude usually to misery, but doesn’t tell you why it’s so lonely.  Curves ahead might be dangerous, but they tell a little about its character; lonely roads don’t talk, but ramble on.

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Fiction or so, Kettle-Cooked Epaulets

Go Ahead and Fuck the Middle Class [rough draft]

My mother doesn’t really have any friends. It makes me so sad.
She’s always just been raising children, then working, and working and working and working, and never had any money to go out and do anything. And middle class people just look down on it, don’t understand at all a life of taking the bus home, of never, literally NEVER being able to go to a movie late, because there aren’t any buses when it’s over, and a cab is too expensive, it’s not worth it, especially after shelling out for a movie.
That’s how her whole life is, ALL of life. It’s not just like, “oh, it’s kinda expensive,” it’s like, you just *never* get to do anything like that.  So she just never does anything on Sunday. Cause there are no buses.  Anyplace she ever went on Sunday, ever, she walked to.
She never goes out on Saturday night, because she could not get home, because the buses stop at 6:30pm on Saturday.
So–if you’ve  been raising 3 children as a single mother, on $400 a month, for 15 years
how are you gonna get started meeting people to make friends, with limitations like you can just never go out on Saturday night or all day Sunday, period.
(Sunday unless it is close enough and/or the weather is not too hot and not too cold and not too windy and you don’t have to carry a lot, cause you’ll have to walk back.)
I’m afraid that you would just never be seen with us; you would just be totally humiliated to even be seen with us.
When i go “shopping with my mother” last night–we go to Goodwill.
We take a bus, that we have to wait 45 minutes for, then walk some, in the poor neighborhood (that i grew up in and my mother lived in until June)
then we skimp and scrounge because my mother *does not even buy full price clothes at Goodwill*  without budgeting and worry and regret; she has a limit, and very often refuses to buy anything that’s not the half-price sale color tag.
We are both wearing a knapsack, chock full of whatever we had to carry that day–an extra sweater or jacket, a flashlight for *walking* home when it’s dark, an umbrella, plastic containers and baggies from carrying lunch with you.   And we are also each carrying another bag, also from whatever we had to carry that day: my mother also has her purse from work, like a “normal” female coming from work.
So, we walk around in our bulky coats to protect from the cold and wind, since it’s fall now, and our knapsacks, and i’m so happy to be wearing the purple striped cloth backpack you got me. And we’re wearing hats and scarves before anybody around is, that is, before in the season or time of year, because they all are only out walking from their fucking cars to the door of the store, 50 feet through the parking lot, and it hardly even affects them whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 40 degrees and a little windy.  They do things like “toss a hoodie into the backseat of the car”
whereas our entire regimen changes, and the amount that you’re carrying
And we also have to think of WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO WEAR AND CARRY for
FOR WHEN IT GETS DARK AND COLDER
because we will still be out that late, to get home, taking the bus.
My entire life except for the one year i drove with my rich bitch daddy’s girl ex-girlfriend, I have lived like that
… by the time I finally get home after taking two buses in the cold, and now it’s dark, and I had to walk home from the bus stop or to the bus stop a quarter of a mile from wherever i was, and therefore had to bring with me a flashlight and an extra sweater, and a scarf and a hat and an umbrella since they said there’s a 40% chance of rain. . .
by the time i get home– you have been home an hour and a half
had supper
taken a shower
started your homework /
watched a tv show
It is 9:30pm.
I am just getting home
from the activity or store that I went to at 5:30pm.
But you went there right after school, at 4pm.
For 20 minutes of shopping, or turning in some paperwork form to a business or office, I have to leave at 2:30pm     to catch a bus at 2:48pm
then i get dowtown (bus interchange) at 3:15pm
and the next bus, the bus i have to transfer to,       doesn’t come until 4pm
so I have to wait downtown.
And, i have to wait doing nothing, because i don’t have any money to do anything. I can’t go to a cafe, because it costs money to spend $4 just for waiting for the bus, on a drink.
So–you’d better make sure you have a book to read with you! Something else to carry.
And you just sit there, with all the middle school kids from the Black neighborhood.
Then the bus finally comes, at 4pm, and it gets to where I need to go at 4:21pm.
I have to RUSHHH from the bus stop to make sure i get there, in the door before 4:30 pm, when they *close early to avoid rush hour traffic*
Then when I turn in the paperwork, I take it out of my backpack–which the snooty lady behind the desk in high fucking heels in the middle of winter scowls at because it’s considered unprofessional–
and when i take the paperwork out of my backpack, some liquid slime from my lunch that i am also carrying, and have been carrying walking around bouncing around all day in my backpack…. has leaked onto the folder, and it smells like sour tuna fish and mayonnaise.
The lady behind the counter wrinkles her nose into a pucker tighter than a WASP’s asshole, and says, down her nose, “Don’t get that on our counter!”
So, I have to let the folder drip onto their floor, take out my paperwork, and hand it to her.   She says, “Oh, a such and such form. Let me see if Larry’s still in, he processes these–he usually gets them from the mail room.”
Then she turns and asks someone else, Did the mail room intern ever bring the batch to Larry?
She turns to me and says, You should’ve just mailed it.
I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. In bold letters on the top the instructions remain the same as they did when I received the form: MONEY ORDERS MUST BE HAND DELIVERED.   “But it says it has to be turned in in person…” I tell her, my face becoming a little knotted in confusion, and ….
trying not to let it be visible how my stomach is also turning and twisting into knots and my ears turning hot.
“Oh, no no no nonono, that’s just what it says on there,” she says.  Then she tosses her head back and forth like she were trying to burrow her nose farther into Charlton Heston’s behind.

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Fiction or so

Wood Paneling

Her great first line evades her, off making a last impression on some scoundrel who’ll scamper away to the streets when you least expect it.  But there he is, lashes twitching, assuring her she’s caught his eye.  The great silver clasp of his bolo would cleanly reflect her image, she reflects.  He laughs open-mouthed, slugs back some tequila, no chaser, with his round table of wanna-be eses.  But his slacked jaw returns with the thick charcoal stick brows to her side of the wide, thin room, pausing almost like an old film in a left-right vacillation, not quite blinking.  The eyes don’t find her.  Not right away.  Ducks into view, she does, dives, head first plants her chin on Rootin Jack’s fringed shoulder.  Smacks the table with her dead wedding ring band.  “Let’s dance.”

Rootin Jack lumbers up from the tall booth, practically throwing her before him onto the dance floor.  Faux-rustic squares triangulate into the corners of her mouth when she catches them between dashing and snaking.  Rootin pounds his boot like he were trying to shake his knife off his belt, or clean out the old case.  Might’s well, she thinks, slice through the bottom of that cracked papery obstacle incessant on his left hip, a bulge misplaced, and pin his foot to the floor, give his stomp a purpose.  Add some real blood to his bloody stories.
It works. Shiny bolo man cranes his thick neck toward her table, narrows the eyes at the abandoned foggy glasses and their backwash.  Scans the place, or maybe just winds his head in disappointment back to his booth of ruffalos.  And stops, ramshackle papiay-machay plasters a grin into his own features.  Cocks his head like he’s hoping it will fall off his shoulders and roll across the laminate to her.  She wonders somewhere in the way back of her mind how fast she’d scoop it up in her skirt, but if she’d have to cradle it in the ruffles for a lifetime.   And there he is.  Quite the beeline for another bull riding type.  Nods his head to tip his hat to her.  But before he can say anything, Rootin blows out, “And what might you want?”
Frozen for a second, except for then his arm extending to her, and Rootin grabs her, seizes her into a polka of a two-step.  Uncertain Rootin looking like his leg’s a metal detector going off, the knife hopping on his hip.  The man begins a half-assed little dance beside them; does he think he’s invited?  His hand returns to its position of offering always finding a home in the air there, until he gets a chance to finish the gesture.  This time he taps Rootin’s fringed arm a little ways down from the shoulder.  Unnoticed, his second round, his two fingers curl; he knocks on the leather bicep.  His head bobs along now with a half-knock, half-nudge.  Rootin’s head jerks his direction; bolo’s eyebrows shoot up.  “We’re dancin’.  We’re dancin’!”  Rootin shouts.
She thinks his voice is smooth, but she doesn’t catch every word. “…with the lady.”  Rootin’s hand hits his knife case. “With me, I don’t believe with you,” she says.  “You can dance with that.”

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Fiction or so

Goblins and White Ghosts

Not a hot dog, not grouch, definitely not pizza, but a hamburger.  When he learns he is named with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?   For someone who bears with its protagonist the namesake and the brainsake, too often his ghosts and his gargoyle wing him into silence.

a last minute effort, a choice of what was left

what an awesome show, great job.

Certain ghosts follow her to the methodone clinic, nod their heads from the backseat from last decade.  He must have inherited her shiek; a blue vein becomes the pulley rope of his googley eyes.

I return him to his gargoyle.

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